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: The Dodge Double-Up
Afraid to lease the 2014 model year of something knowing that you'll be stuck with it for a few years right as the new 2015 model comes out? Dodge has a solution.
As Automotive News reports, Dodge is going to show off the refreshed 2015 Challenger and 2015 Charger this week at the New York Auto Show, but they're not going to be in showrooms immediately. Details here.
If you're one of those people who has to have the newest car, or you just want to lock in a good rate, here's how it works:
When their 12-month lease is up these eligible customers who follow program rules are guaranteed the same lease payment on a 36-month lease, with no additional down payment, on select all-new 2015 Charger or Challenger models. Customers may lease any 2015 Charger (excluding Charger SE and Charger SRT) and any 2015 Challenger (excluding Challenger SRT). If customers choose to purchase the 2015 model, they will receive $1,000 bonus cash toward the purchase of the vehicle.
And what happens to all of those 2014 models? Enterprise has already agreed to purchase them for their three rental car brands.
2nd Gear: Can The Supplier Issue Be Traced To GM Being Dicks To Suppliers?
As everyone combs through the massive GM info dump, interesting stories are starting to come out to help explain how something so stupid could happen.
Bryce Hoffman's take is on how GM acted like dicks to Delphi, the supplier they sold a few years before the switch issue arose.
That sometimes resulted in suppliers bidding so low that they had to cut corners to meet the promised price. And that, says Henke, is one reason why GM ended up receiving parts that did not meet its own specifications, as the company now says happened with the ignition switches from Delphi. And he said GM was willing to accept those parts because the alternative — delaying production — was too costly.
That whole story is worth a read to see just how awful and contentious the industry was. It is, appropriately, very Greek. Sadly there was no Oracle to tell them this was coming.
3rd Gear: Opel May Not Be As Broke Soon
Karl-Thomas Neumann knows that, as head of GM's European arm, he's responsible for the company's biggest loser. For every dollar it makes in the U.S. and China, it loses a few cents keeping its European business in business.
It's so bad, that he's been bragging that the company would stop losing money in 2016. According to the WSJ that may be a pessimistic view.
Opel's sales stopped falling last year and in the first two months of this year European Union sales of the Opel and the British Vauxhall brands rose 3%. Mr. Neumann said he is sticking to his official target to return Opel to break-even in 2016. But analysts suggested that Opel could reach profitability as early as next year.
Credit cost-cutting, better new models, and hiring Claudia Schiffer.
4th Gear: Peugeot Can't Also Hire Claudia Schiffer
If you think Opel is in bad shape, just wait until you see the books over at Peugeot. Their road to recovery is going to be much longer even under the guidance of the cold and effective Carlos Tavares.
What's the plan? Bloomberg sums it up nicely here, but the bottom line is they're going to cut half of their lineup, spin the DS badge until a luxury division, and try to get margins up from losing money on each car to making as much as 2% on each model by 2018.
This is at a time when Ford is pushing over 8% and GM is trying to catch up with them. If you're not making at least 2%, you're not really making anything.
5th Gear: Ciao Massimo
If you're a bike lover, you're probably aware of the great work done by designer Massimo Tamburini, referred to by some as the "Michelangelo of motorcycling."
The Ducati 916 and MV Augusta F4? That's Tamburini. The NYT reports that he died of lung cancer at a hospital in San Marino. The whole story is worth a read for stories like this:
At the time, Japanese motorcycles were beginning to dominate the market. But while those bikes were fast and ferocious, they handled poorly, a point brought painfully home to Mr. Tamburini when he crashed his Honda, breaking three ribs.
What if, he wondered while convalescing, the powerful Japanese motors could be combined with nimble chassis? He began custom-fitting Japanese bikes with light frames, an enterprise that soon became Bimota's stock in trade. Before long, Bimota bikes were winning events on the international racing circuit.
Reverse: And Pontiac Was Saved!
On this day in 2005, the Pontiac Solstice Roadster, a new two-door sports car from General Motors retailing for approximately $20,000, is featured on the reality TV game show "The Apprentice," starring the famously bombastic businessman Donald Trump.
Neutral: Is This Lease A Good Deal?
What do you think of the one-year pre-model-change lease?
Photo Credit: Getty Images