This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: Car Output Is Soaring Without Incentives
Way back in the day, car sales and production were spurred on by hefty incentives designed to get more and more people behind the wheel. And that was because Detroit didn't properly forecast, so they built too many cars and had to find a way to get them off the lots.
With the recession, automakers were forced to get a lot smarter. Now, they're ramping up plants as demand increases, and demand is high. It looks like they're on track to build 16 million cars this year, which, in case you didn't know, is a lot of cars.
And instead of reopening shuttered plants or building new ones, the automakers are now going to continue increasing operating hours. Another smart move.
2nd Gear: Better Fuel Economy Equals More Expensive Cars
Fuel economy regulations make automakers research and develop more fuel efficient technologies. Researching these technologies takes a lot of big investments. This costs a lot of money. That increase in development costs makes the cars cost more expensive for you, John Q. Public, to purchase.
They'll cost less in the long run, but the initial investment in a car is growing as fuel economy regs become more and more stringent.
This has been a PSA.
3rd Gear: Ford Is Bringing Back The Knobs And Buttons
In a snarky little read, Bob Lutz — a man who spends his spare time putting supercharged V8s in Fiskers — takes Ford and really every automaker to task for trying to make their interiors more iPad-like. It does make sense, Lutz says that an iPad does a myriad of tasks in different ways while inputs in a car are repetitive.
Ford has announced that they will be putting more tactile knobs back in cars after complaints about MyFordTouch being way too tough to operate, and Lutz seems very excited. He just hopes everyone else follows suit soon.
4th Gear: GM Wants China To Know That An Audi Isn't A Caddy
Audis are the cars of the rich and important in China. A black Audi says more about you than nearly any other car can. GM wants to end that, and it wants Cadillac to be the brand that does it.
Cadillac was rightly outsold by Audi at a rate of 14 to 1 last year in China, but Cadillac wants to change that. They're going to build more cars in China (GM CEO Dan Akerson is in Shaghai to break ground on a new plant) and introduce new cars every year until 2016. It'll be tough to get over the established players, but China is the future of the luxury car marker, and Cadillac not only needs to succeed there, they have to.
5th Gear: No Timeline For Backup Cameras
In 2007, Congress approved legislation that would make reverse cameras required in cars by 2011. If you haven't noticed, that hasn't really happened. The Department of Transportation has repeatedly delayed the addition of the tech to cars since the deadline came in, and now the NHTSA says there is no timeline to implement it.
They say they "want to get it right." Meanwhile, people are forced to backup without cameras, like they have since the car was invented. Seems to me like looking in the mirrors and out the back window is still the best solution. Let's keep doing that.
On June 18, 1923, the first Checker Cab rolls off the line at the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
What does Cadillac need to do to succeed and dominate in China? Do they have a chance to succeed?