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/Solar City Runaway Yesterday
If success is the best revenge, Elon Musk is basically The Bride of this stock market ish. Yesterday's Tesla stock rally was matched by record performance from SolarCity, of which Musk is the largest shareholder.
Bloomberg does the math and finds he made… one billion (.1) dollars! In one day! It also means that Tesla has a market capitalization (# of shares X share price) of $30.4 billion, making it worth about half a General Motors or Ford Motor Company.
With a "gigafactory" battery production facility in the works, this probably isn't going to end anytime soon.
2nd Gear: GM Expand Nightmare/Recall The GM recall over ignition switch issues is expanding by 748,024 cars to include the Solstice/Sky, Saturn Ion and Chevy HHR, bringing the total number of recalled cars to 1.37 million.
But it's not the number that's the problem, it's how we've gotten here. Court docs already claim GM knew of the problems years ago, and more detailed analysis hints at GM continuing to delay a response at a high cost. As Brent Snavely points out:
While the recall is still substantially smaller than any of the 10 largest in U.S. history, the size is significant and the potential deadly nature of the problem raises the stakes for the automaker as it manages the recall and the potential for multiple lawsuits or a class action. It's unclear how much fixing the problem will cost. Those figures generally are reported after the fact in quarterly earnings reports. "
As this goes along, the story isn't likely to get better for GM; it gets worse," said Sean Kane, founder and president of Safety Research & Strategies, a research firm and advocate for more stringent automotive safety.
With 13 deaths linked to the recall I agree. This gets worse.
3rd Gear: Big Ford Trucks Coming To The U.S. In a reversal of recent history, Ford is going to move medium-duty truck production (F-650/750) from Mexico to near Cleveland, Ohio.
This will happen as E-Series van production ends and Transit production moves to Kansas City. Karl Henkel reports, Ford builds the trucks through a joint venture with Navistar International, but has wanted to bring their commercial vehicle production in-house.
4th Gear: The New Head Of Lexus Is A Designer
There's no mistaking a new Lexus with anything else, even if you're not a big fan of it. I personally like the bolder, angular style and I'm someone who historically doesn't love the Lexus brand.
With that in mind, meet designer Tokuo Fukuichi, who will head up Toyota's Lexus division and sit on the company's board. Automotive News breaks it down:
Elevating Fukuichi, an outspoken champion of experimenting with more polarizing, eye-catching styling, underscores the imperative of President Akio Toyoda to focus more on design. Next year's arrival of Toyota's new generation of vehicles using commonized parts is expected to bring a breakthrough in developing vehicles with more head-turning looks. The new product development strategy, dubbed TNGA, will debut in the redesigned Prius hybrid.
Bring it on.
5th Gear: When Do We Reach Peak Car, Globally? According to IHS Automotive, we'll reach 'peak car' globally at around 100 million vehicles in the middle of the decade. Bloomberg points out that's inconsistent with the 120 million vehicles automakers are planning to build.
Blame urbanization, autonomous cars, ride-sharing and other trends that will expand the number of cars-per-person. As one consultant asks: "Do you sell cars or do you sell mobility?"
Reverse: It Worked, Earth Was Saved!
On this day in 2007, in an effort to raise awareness of environmental issues, the Honda Formula One (F1) team unveils its Earth Car, a race car emblazoned with a large image of the planet instead of the typical advertising and sponsorship logos featured on most F1 vehicles.
Neutral: Peak Car? Are markets going to expand globally or is Uber going to be come a car company?
Photo Credit: AP/Getty Images