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: GM's Miss, That Isn't A Miss, That Is A Miss If you're an optimist, you say GM had a better fourth quarter in 2013 than 2013 and record pre-tax earnings of $7.46 billion.
If you're a pessimist, you'd say their EPS (earnings per share) were down to $0.57, compared to the $0.87 analysts hoped and overall net income was down 22.4% on the year.
What's the truth? Somewhere in between. GM makes the case this morning that analysts didn't take into account restructuring costs in Europe and, hey, they're still making money.
I'll grant that 2013 was the second biggest year of restructuring since the bankruptcy, although most of that restructuring is taking place in Australia and Europe. Let's see how they do in 2014.
2nd Gear: Daimler's Profits Need No Caveats Daimler says they're going to have a baller ass 2014, reports Bloomberg, as sales of the new C-Class, CLA, and GLA lead to fat stacks of Euros.
Earnings before interest and taxes from ongoing operations will exceed the 7.9 billion euros ($10.7 billion) posted last year as the owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand brings out new cars and trucks and expands in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler said. Fourth-quarter profit on that basis surged 45 percent as customers scooped up the Mercedes CLA coupe and revamped flagship S-Class sedan.
You can't keep Ze Germans down forever.
3rd Gear: Now Chrysler Has To Pay For Chrysler The newly christened Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is going to have to, you know, pay for the 45% stake it just bought from the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. How are they going to do that? Borrowing it, of course.
The company has priced $1.375 billion in senior debt due in 2019 at 108.25% of their aggregate principal at a 6.2% interest rate. It also priced a $1.38-billion senior bond, deemable in 2021 at 110.50% of principal at a 6.4% interest rate.
Chrysler Group previously announced plans to commence marketing additional senior secured term loans to raise up to $2 billion. Chrysler said all of the offerings will be treated as a single series of debt.
4th Gear: Mitsubishi US Gets A New President
I'm not sure I'd want to be president of Mitsubishi Motors North America given that the once great brand now has a market share of 0.4%, but MMNA just announced that Ryujiro Kobashi is going to replace Yoichi Yokozawa as CEO of the company's U.S. operations.
Of course, Mitsubishi as a whole is in pretty decent shape, but they're kind of sucking it up in the U.S. Here's a great fact from USA Today:
Midsize cars of all types accounted for 3.6 million sales last year, or about 46% of the car market and thus about 23% of total new-car and -truck sales in 2013 — nearly one of every four vehicles that motored off dealer lots — according to record-keeper Autodata.
Of those 3.6 million, 1,550 were Mitsubishis.
The only way to go is up!
5th Gear: It's The Chicago Auto Show Today
Lest you forget, America's "largest" auto show starts today with the first round of press previews.
The "largest" claim has nothing to do with the importance of Chicago — it is the least important of the four major U.S. auto shows — and everything to do with how freaking ginormous the McCormick Place convention center is.
This year promises to be better than shows past, which were a tad depressing. Cars we're actually excited about will debut, as well as a ton of trucks. We sent a photographer and Truck Yeah!'s Andrew Collins to cover it. Watch this space for news.
Reverse: Well That Worked
On this day in 2009, the Honda Insight, billed as "the world's first affordable hybrid," goes on sale in Japan. Honda took some 18,000 orders for the car within the first three weeks, pushing Toyota's Prius, known as the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, out of the top-10-selling cars for that month, according to a March 2009 report in The New York Times.
Neutral: Chicago! Anything in particular you're looking forward to?
Photo Credit: Getty Images