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 Sales This Summer Will "Be Bloody"
David Shepardson snags the quote of the morning with this get from Hyundai's American Veep of sales:
“Profitability from the dealer perspective, from the (automaker) perspective, from the supplier perspective may be squeezed just because of this intensified level of competition,” Zuchowski said at a panel discussion of the American International Automobile Dealers Association meeting on Wednesday ahead of a lobbying day by dealers on Capitol Hill. “Summer’s going to be bloody. Everybody’s got inventory... I think it’s going to be very, very competitive.”
So, if you want to buy a car, make sure to look for those sweet, sweet incentives this summer.
2nd Gear:A Little Bit Of Chrysler History
A little bit of history for the ongoing Chrysler/Tesla spat courtesy of Brent Snavely who points out that in 1983, when I was barely five months old, Lee Iacocca paid back the government in full, with interest.
Back in 1983, during one of Chrysler’s earlier near-death and rebirth experiences — when Musk was 12 years old — a guy named Lee Iacocca, then leading Chrysler back to solvency, repaid with interest about $1.2 billion of government-guaranteed loans Chrysler borrowed.
“We at Chrysler borrow money the old-fashioned way. We pay it back,” Iacocca said at the time.
3rd Gear: LaSorda And Penske Launching Venture Fund For Tech Startups
Tom LaSorda, formerly of Chrysler and Fisker, and Roger Penske, currently of everywhere, are going to start a private venture fund called IncWell LP to fund tech startups.
The company will invest between $50K to $250K in Canadian and U.S. startups, according to LaSorda.
How much, exactly, is in this fund is unclear. And yes, I realize that's a pic of Tommy LaSorda.
4th Gear: Chinese Totally Upset At Japan But, You Know, Who Doesn't Love A Sentra?
While territorial disputes and a long, terrible history has made relations between China and Japan chilly as of late, even the CHinese can't resist a good deal according to The Wall Street Journal, who report exerts have rebounded from a low of about 4,400 cars in October to nearly 16,000 vehicles last month.
So, it's not as great as it could be, but the Chinese gotta buy cars from someone and Japan still makes a great car.
There's so much underpinning this. Territorial disputes over tiny islands seem silly to us, but the Chinese have a longstanding antipathy towards Japan because the Japanese used to be dicks to them. The new Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is now doing to China what China did to Japan, lowering the currency and upping exports. Both China's Xi Jinping and Japan's Abe want to look like tough guys.
Oh, and then there's all those precious hydrocarbons hanging out deep in the ocean...
5th Gear: Programming Note
We'll be on a limited schedule this afternoon and on a weekend schedule through Monday as it's Memorial Day. While we'll be pulling back a little on normal programming we'll definitely still be covering all the craziness that is one of the best motorsports weekends of the year. We've got people in Monaco and at Indy, so look forward to some interesting reports.
Reverse: You Know, Big Stuff
On this day in 1991, the critically acclaimed road movie "Thelma and Louise" debuts in theaters, stunning audiences with a climactic scene in which its two heroines drive off a cliff into the Grand Canyon, in a vintage 1966 green Ford Thunderbird convertible.
Neutral: Memorial Day Plans? Driving Anywhere?
Photo Credit: Getty Images