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?
Earlier this month we did things a little differently by putting the gears inside the comments below to make it easier for you to comment on individual gears. I think there were some benefits to it, but let's try it out the other way.
I still encourage you to make your own gears in the comments that we can star to the top.
1st Gear: About That Akerson Money…
Pity the GM executive. Sure, they make more money than most people, but it's hard enough to run a car company without being mixed up in political football. As they're learning, it's the price you pay for accepting a bailout.
Yesterday's report about GM wanting to pay Akerson $11.1 million dollars wasn't entirely accurate. Someone trying to "score political points" (i.e. a Republican on the House Oversight Committee) leaked that GM was hoping to pay CEO Dan Akerson $11.1 million dollars.
That report turned out to be incorrect. Sort of. They didn't ask Treasury to allow them to pay Akerson $11.1 million. They asked to allow him to pay $9 million, just like they did last year. Oh, but they did pay him $11.1 million last year, they just didn't intend to. Here's how they explain it to Automotive News:
Last year, Akerson was awarded about $2 million in restricted stock units that he had earned in 2011 because that stock can't be issued until the year after it's earned, said the official, who requested anonymity.
Don't you hate it when that happens?
BTW, while it's way more money than the average person makes, that's like minimum wage compared to what Mulallly is pulling in to be lauded by pundits as a financial wizard who saved Ford. While that's not undeserved praise, if you paid CEOs based on how much shit they have to eat Dan Akerson would deserve almost as much as Dany Bahar.
2nd Gear: Yo DJ, Drop That Shit
I have completely lost track of all the variations of Maserati's MC Stradale. At this year's Geneva Motor Show we'll see the new/old 2013 Maserati Quattroporte and a four-seater version of the MC Stradale.
Wait, there wasn't already a four-seater version of the MC Stradale? Is this a four-seat version of the two-seat European version? I have no idea what's happening, but there's a 4.7-liter V8 producing 460 horses tied to a MC Race Shift 6-speed "robotised manual gearbox" or whatever.
Sooo…. yeah… that's a thing.
3rd Gear: GM Wants To Build A $258 Million Data Center In Milford
Where is the best data center in the world? Probably buried under a mountain in Colorado and operated by serious people in serious uniforms with serious jobs. Second to that you may soon find the massive new center being planned by GM.
What makes the Milford Data Center so interesting? First, it'll seek to combine work from 23 data centers into one of two locations in Michigan, meaning it won't be small. Second, it'll be on the same swath of land as the Milford Proving Ground, where they test everything.
Imagine taking your lunch break and hearing the wail of a new Corvette ZR1. The Detroit News says GM is requesting a 50% tax abatement for 15 years to offset costs but that the facility will create 20 new jobs. That seems a little small to us.
4th Gear: The Big Three Not So Big In Consumer Reports Survey
The Consumer Reports brand report cards are out and Lexus finds itself at the top with an overall score of 79, followed by Subaru and Mazda at 76.
American automakers sucked it up this year to do various problems. Ford/Lincoln suffered because of the MyFord/Lincoln Touch systems and disappointing EcoBoost tests. GM is getting better but still has a lot of mediocre product, they say. Chrysler is near the bottom of the list with Dodge at 46, due largely to a lot of older, uncompetitive product.
Apparently, to do well in the Consumer Reports survey you're better off building boring but likable and reliable cars.
5th Gear: Hyundai To Settle U.S. Lawsuits
Bloomberg is reporting this morning that Hyundai will move to settle lawsuits over its false mileage claims, which they blame on an error at a facility in Korea. An error they made multiple times for some reason.
The class-action settlement was combined into one case and, after negotiations, Hyundai agreed to a lump-sum payment. It's unclear whether or not Kia will join the settlement.