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?
It's been a slow start to this news week in the automotive world as people understandably focus on other, more important stories, but that should slowly change over the coming days as people start releasing car news again.
If not, we've got plenty of stories of our own we've been working on, including a continuation of Dash Cam tests and more cars we've driven.
1st Gear: Volvo's New FMX Truck Is Badass
This is the Volvo FMX. It's made from high tensile steel and pure, robust awesomeness. We've written about the last generation of this truck before and don't have much to add other than, you know, it looks awesome.
This appears to be a mid-cycle refresh, but we're not a commercial truck site so I don't know if that's actually the case. I know they've redesigned the interior so the driver is more comfortable.
They've also added a mobile app that lets the driver survey and operate the truck at a distance from a smartphone, though this appears to mostly control the locks/heater and give information on fluid levels. You can't drive it remotely… yet.
2nd Gear: The Colorado Is Dead, Long Live… Something?
As we've reported many times, there's a new Chevy Colorado coming to the U.S. that's based on the global truck platform (we think). We've assumed they'd be called Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon like the unpopular outgoing trucks.
That may not be correct according to GM NA Prez Mark Reuss, who told the Detroit Free Press and other reporters that "We're researching the names. Do they mean something to people — or the trucks are so different, do we need a change of names, too?"
Yes. The answer is yes.
3rd Gear: GM Edges Out VW As Global Leader
GM's sales were up 3.6% during the first quarter of the year, which means a total of 2.36 million vehicles, which means it maintained its lead over VW, whose beigekrieg still limited them to 2.27 million vehicles to open the year.
Of course, according to Bloomberg, we haven't heard from Toyota yet, and while GM is up 3.6%, Volkswagen was up 5.1%, which means it's catching up.
Last year's winner was Toyota, which sold 9.75 million vehicles to GM's 9.29 million cars. Are they just waiting out VW and GM or are they lagging behind?
4th Gear: Out With Levers, In With Knobs
I like a good shift lever. It implies action and movement and control. A knob implies selection and transference of responsibility, which is good for choosing a radio station or a sound setting, but is it ideal for shifting gears?
The new Ram, for instance, ditched the shift lever for a rotary knob. Here's Ralph "Horsepower" Gilles in a WSJ report on the topic.
Chrysler chief designer Ralph Gilles said designers for the Ram and other Chrysler models that are ditching shift levers experimented with several approaches before settling on the Ram’s “rotary e-shift” design.
“We spent more time on that knob than any knob I’ve worked on,” Mr. Gilles says. Among the details: How to calibrate the catch points, or detents in engineering-speak, that signal a driver who’s not looking at the knob when it’s clicked past reverse or neutral.
5th Gear: California Versus The Automakers
Credit to our good friend Karl Henkel for grabbing this tidbit from yesterday's auto engineer comicon about the California Air Resource Board (CARB) v. automaker lobbyists.
Apparently, Mary Nichols, head of CARB, went to the SAE World Congress yesterday and told the automakers they should just give up on a petition asking the EPA to stop CARB from making them make were emission vehicles.
"Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot, or maybe I could say, tripping over your own halo," Nichols said. "We don't have time to delay the infusion of these technologies."
Automakers are dealing with strict federal fuel efficiency standards; the fleetwide average by 2025 must be at least 54.5 miles per gallon under Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. California has separate rules and the AAM and AGA believe it highly unlikely that consumers will buy enough zero-emission vehicles to meet California's mandate.
Manufacturers already have to produce EV vehicles for sale in California or they can't sell cars there, which is why you have so-called "compliance cars" like the Mini EV and the Fiat 500e.
Reverse: Happy Birthday Mustang
Henry Ford, II, unveils the new Ford Mustang at The World's Fair in New York on this day in 1964. The first "pony car," the small sports car also appeared in showrooms across the country. Named for the WWII plane, it created a sensation and they shipped more than 20,000 of them to people who, in the words of Lee Iococca, wanted a Thunderbird they could afford. Within a year they sold more 400,000 of them. [HISTORY]
Neutral: Is CARB Right? CARB isn't always popular around enthusiast circles, but are they right about this? Are they helping automakers by forcing them to make the cars they're going to have to make anyways? Or are they forcing automakers to create a supply where there isn't enough demand?
Photo Credit: Getty Images