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: Are You Wearing Your Seatbelt? The downside of auto companies thinking they're also technology platforms is that they have al this data, and few people fully understand how they're using it. How much data? As often happens, Karl Henkel tracks down the details:
Every time a motorist slides in behind the wheel, odds are that car or truck is gathering information: How aggressively the driver accelerated, whether the speed limit was observed, how hard the brake pedal was applied. And beyond driving habits, where and when the car was driven, what route was taken and whether the seat belt was buckled.
Oh, just that? Of course, they're keeping that information to themselves… right…
Read the rest of the article to see what Congress, the Feds, and privacy groups are trying to do about it.
2nd Gear: Dr Z Making Dat Money
Some call Wu-Tang Financial because Dr. Z just got a big ass saucer of cream. How much? According to Bloomberg, it's a full 1.2% pay increase to celebrate last year's record deliveries. Wait, what doesn't seem like that much. Can someone explain?
Zetsche's remuneration comprises a base salary of 2.01 million euros, unchanged from last year, a short-term bonus of 1.71 million euros, a medium-term bonus of that amount, depending on share performance and payable in 2015, and long-term variable compensation including stock options. The short-term bonus for the eight-member board was raised to 6.07 million euros from 4.65 million euros a year earlier.
Ok, so he's not sweating it. Good work Dr. Z.
3rd Gear: The Honda Accord Was 2013's Best-Selling Car, If You Ignore Fleets
The Toyota Camry was yet again the best-selling car in America, but that's only if you count all of their fleet sales (governments, companies, rental cars).
Bloomberg, which seems to have all the news this morning, brings our attention to Honda bringing our attention to IHS Automotive who pointed out that registration data shows 342,007 individuals in the U.S. bought Camrys while 360,089 bought Accords. If you count all sales, the Camry runs away with 408,484 sales.
This makes sense to me, given that the Camry is still aging and the Accord is relatively new and, frankly, a much better car. I my prefer the Mazda 6 and Fusion, but it's not at the expense of the new Honda. If someone told me they wanted an Accord I wouldn't try to dissuade them.
4th Gear: Navistar Closing Alabama Plant But I thought we saved the south for manufacturing? Per the WSJ:
The closure of the plant in Huntsville will result in the loss of about 280 jobs and generate savings of about $22 million a year. Production at that plant will be shifted to an engine plant near Chicago, which will add about 75 workers. Navistar will continue to produce large diesel engines for heavy-duty trucks at a second plant in Huntsville.
The reason? Cummins. Why make your own engines when Cummins can make a popular engine for you.
5th Gear: Ford Sued Over Hybrid Tech And one more Bloomberg story to round it all out, Ford's being sued over the use of hybrid technology. Specifically, a company called Paice says that Ford licensed one piece of intellectually property and essentially copied the rest of their ideas.
It should be noted, as the article does, that Paice won a similar lawsuit against Toyota — which worked with Ford to develop their systems. We'll be watching this one.
Reverse: Daytona Or Bust
On this day in 1948, the National Association for Stock Car Racing—or NASCAR, as it will come to be widely known—is officially incorporated. NASCAR racing will go on to become one of America's most popular spectator sports, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Neutral: Do you care that automakers have your data? Do you trust them with it? Photo Credit: Getty Images