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?
Last 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: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires Debut
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series is exactly the kind of bonkers we like, so it's no shock that they've premiered the latest generation of Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on the car.
There are many reasons why new cars are faster than they've ever been, but it's hard to ignore the impact of tires. The amount of grip being produced by the latest generation of super car tires is insane. They also tend to last longer and produce more comfortable driving.
Now they're just getting crazy, with "velvet" technology, that uses multiple textures to make the edge of the tire look like it has a velvet finish.
2nd Gear: IIHS Says Trailers Need To Prevent You From A Terrible Death
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has pushed for underride guards on trailers for years to prevent the kind of very preventable injury and death that comes from a vehicle crashing into the back of one.
All the trailers tested passed the fill-width crash test, most passed the 50% overlap test, and only one (built by Manac) passed the 30% overlap test. What's that mean? If you're going to crash into the back of a trailer, make it a Manac, and if you're going to have to crash at all try to hit it straight on apparently. Full results here.
3rd Gear: Buick's Encore Goes Jurassic
Buick's been sort of a sleeper lately. I've found myself not mocking their products with the same jokes about blue-haired drivers. When I drive one I feel pretty decent.
Would I buy a Buick Encore? Probably not. It's not really my ideal crossover, but I have no problem with Buick making one and I'd actually find myself renting one if I had the option (compared to a Suzuki).
Here's the latest ad which, you'll notice, plays up driving dynamics. In a Buick!
4th Gear: Toyota Plans To Unveil 2014 Highlander At NY
The New York Auto Show is going to be here at the end of the month and Toyota is bringing out the 2014 Highlander according to Automotive News. Let's hope it doesn't suck.
Here's my problem with the Highlander: it's an extremely popular vehicle I don't particularly like. Everything that's wrong about it (big, bloated, cushy, quiet, comfortable) is everything that makes it popular. It's proof that not everyone thinks like me. That I may be in the minority.
I don't expect Toyota to make a Highlander that I'll like, but maybe they can make one I don't strongly dislike. Either way, I'm sure it'll be a hit.
5th Gear: The Real Winners Of Detroit's Misery? Wall Street
Today's must read comes from Bloomberg who reports that Wall Street made the money that Detroit was losing. Rather than summarize it I'm going to take a clip out that'll make you want to read the rest:
The only winners in the financial crisis that brought Detroit to the brink of state takeover are Wall Street bankers who reaped more than $474 million from a city too poor to keep street lights working.
The city started borrowing to plug budget holes in 2005 under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted this week on corruption charges. That year, it issued $1.4 billion in securities to fund pension payments. Last year, it added $129.5 million in debt, 9.3 percent of its general-fund budget, in part to repay loans taken to service other bonds.