This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 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: Tesla Completes Coast-To-Coast Supercharger NetworkS Tesla's expanding network of free rapid-charging stations it semi-confusingly calls superchargers is now robust enough to cover someone driving from LA-to-NY — although if you can afford a Tesla Model S the easier way is still probably buying a plane ticket.
Elon Musk had this to say yesterday:
Tesla Supercharger network now energized from New York to LA, both coast + Texas! Approx 80% of US population covered.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 26, 2014
As A Texan I'm particularly proud that he had to single out how much of an accomplishment it is to cover so much of that gigantic slice of land.
Musk added that they're also sending two teams from LA to set a cross-country EV record that, while not matching Ed Bolian, should see the task completed in about three days (which ain't bad).
2nd Gear: Mary Barra Not Leaving Opel BehindS One way that Mary Barra isn't going to save money for GM is to cut investments in the company's European operations.
Barra's first trip as acting CEO was to see the headquarters of Adam Opel AG in Ruesselsheim, Germany today.
"It was very important to reinforce in person my commitment and GM's commitment to Opel," she told the AP this morning.
If the European car market has finally bottomed out and the Opel's operations are no longer a drag on the overall company's momentum then, perhaps, we'll all forget how much money GM lost in Europe and think of this as a success. It's a big IF, but GM has to be holding out for something.
3rd Gear: Did Karl Slym Commit Suicide?
I'll be honest, my first thought when I saw that Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym died after a fall from a "high floor" of a hotel after a board meeting was it wasn't an accident.
Sadly, the WSJ is reporting that Bangok Police "assume that it could be a suicide" because there was no sign of struggle. They also found a note.
Most of Tata's problems precede Slym's appointment so who knows.
4th Gear: Volvo Continues To Try To Grasp What The Hell They're Doing
Oh Volvo. We want you to do better, but it's also becoming clear you haven't quite figured it out yet.
Volvo's new-ish president says they're going to spend 50% more on advertising, but fewer dollars on television and they're going to go back to marketing their strengths as opposed to pretending that they can get by selling a few cars to Swedish nerds. From Automotive News:
Last year, Volvo focused its dollars on digital campaigns and commercials that mocked the owners of German vehicles and had the tag line: "Volvos aren't for everyone, and we kind of like it that way."
Tony Nicolosi, CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, said the shift away from TV is tied to the changing habits of buyers who more frequently go to the digital world for information.
"We had an ad that Volvo is not for everyone. We like to say that Volvo is for everyone."
More wagons! Because… America loves wagons?
5th Gear: Companies Are Ready For The Super Bowl As always, well have a team of people ready to react to the Super Bowl advertisements that are going to pop up, some of which you can watch previews for here.
I found this report interesting because it points out how Automakers are preparing for the reaction:
Volkswagen will have a staff of about 10 people from marketing and advertising, public relations and the legal department watching the game, said Justin Osborne, general manager of marketing communications for the German automaker. Its 60-second ad will air during the second quarter.
"We've set up a pretty robust war room," Osborne said. "This year, I think there will be a lot more emphasis on real-time marketing and reacting to what's happening at the game."
Shit, we have to have a war room?
Reverse: Should Have Bought One In 1965
On this day in 1965, the Shelby GT 350, a version of a Ford Mustang sports car developed by the American auto racer and car designer Carroll Shelby, is launched. The Shelby GT 350, which featured a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, remained in production through the end of the 1960s and today is a valuable collector's item.
Neutral: How would you market Volvo?
Volvo once ran fantastic ads, but it's been a while.
Photo Credit: AP Images