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?
As you can see, our website is slightly different this morning! But what hasn't changed is our commitment to bringing you all the best automotive news as you sip your coffee and eat your Fruit Loops. Let's jam.
1st Gear: Warren Buffett Raises His Stake In GM
Some good news for General Motors this morning as it was revealed that billionaire investor Warren Buffett has raised his stake in the company 60 percent to 40 million shares, according to the Detroit News.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway initially purchased just 10 million shares in 2012 when they were trading at a low $20 a share, but things are much better for GM these days. The News reports they were trading at $35 a share yesterday, and Buffett's stake is now worth $1.4 billion.
GM CEO Dan Akerson was rightfully pleased.
Last year, GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson described Warren Buffett as a "wise investor" with a "track record to prove it."
"It's a great vote of confidence in what we've done and what we hope to accomplish," Akerson told The Detroit News of Buffett's investment into GM.
2nd Gear: The Fiat 500 GQ Is Sophisticated And Masculine
Earlier this week we met the Fiat 500 Cattiva, and angry yet stylish appearance package for the little Cinquecento. Today, we meet the Fiat 500 GQ, which is equally stylish but goes in a different direction.
Fiat released new details today on the 500 GQ edition, designed in collaboration with the famed men's magazine, which debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show. "Aimed at a predominately male audience," the GQ features two-toned gray and black paint, GQ logos on the side, orange 500 logos on the wheels and other exterior enhancements. It's based on the Euro-market 500S, which has tiny sub 1.4-liter motors we don't get.
Sadly, it's for the UK market only, which is a shame because I really like it. Can I get this in an Abarth version, please?
3rd Gear: Ford Has Lots And Lots Of Cash And Plans To Spend It
The Detroit Free Press reports this morning that Ford is sitting on more than $25.7 billion in cash and is weighing how to spend it. That could mean a larger dividend to buying stock back to pension contributions or spending more on new products.
But Ford CFO Bob Shanks to a wise approach and said he doesn't feel the company has an excess in cash, but rather has "what we think we need to run the business and weather any future downturns.”
Ford is spending to grow operations in Asia Pacific, restructure in Europe and expand the lineup by 50%, improve in South America and boost capacity in North America, Shanks said.
Ford is paying down debt and trying to fully funds its pension funds by 2015. Shanks said that effort is benefiting from higher interest rates.
How do you think Ford should spend those dolla, dolla bills y'all?
4th Gear: Gov't To Automakers: Make Recalls Easier To Find
Don't you want to know if your fancy new car is being recalled because it could cause the fiery death for you, your children, and your pets? That's about to get easier.
Automotive News reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all car and motorcycle companies to provide an online recall search tool by August of next year. This will require some of them to redesign their websites, although some, including Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and VW, are already compliant.
Of course, NHTSA already has their own recall search site, but this is designed to make it even easier on car owners.
5th Gear: Infiniti Poaches The Vehicross Guy
I'm a big fan of the quirky Isuzu Vehicross, a potent off-roader whose design has held up rather well. Now Infiniti — as part of their ongoing push to become a more independent luxury marque — has poached its designer, Simon Cox.
Infiniti announced Cox has been appointed design director of their London Studio. They plan to appoint other design heads in Hong Kong and the U.S. as well. Cox's other works include the Cadillac Cien and Opel Speedester. Can't wait to see what he does here.
Reverse: Henry Ford Strikes Out On His Own
Neutral: What's your favorite special edition car?
The name is silly, but I think the Fiat 500 GQ looks sweet. What special edition car most piques your fancy?
Photo credit AP