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?
1st Gear: Honda Tests Fifth FAA-Conforming Jet
We've been talking about the HondaJet seemingly forever, especially since engine troubles delayed the rollout of the Honda-built plane. But per the WSJ, a fifth jet has been completed and is now testing.
What makes the HondaJet so Honda-y, besides the use of a lot of automotive production techniques, is the car's focus on value and fuel economy. They're only going to offer trim levels on the interior and the plane should outperform many of its jet-age rivals with fuel usage. It'll also cost only $4.5 million.
The fifth jet prototype is being used for "function and reliability" tests, which is a more advanced phase of testing that looks at various systems including cabin controls and interior components
UPDATE: Hah! About as soon as we get this article from the WSJ we get this one from Reuters pointing out that, despite the new prototype tests, a delay in certification means it won't be approved until the second half of 2014. That's a year later than their previous estimate, which was already delayed.
2nd Gear: Toyota Is The World's Most Valuable Car Brand
Suck it BMW, there's a new car brand on the top of the pile. As Automotive News reports, the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study shows Toyota as the most value car brand, although Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Hyundai all experienced double-digit growth.
Toyota, according to the company who did the survey, has managed to grow through the expansion of hybrids while BMW dropped because they've been slow to launch new products.
BMW was formerly the most valuable car brand in 2010 and 2012 while Toyota held the crown in 2006, 2009, and 2011.
3rd Gear: Renault Launches Megane Renultsport Red Bull Racing RB8
Hey, why not take Renault's scorching hatchback and dress it up like the incredibly popular and successful Renault-powered Red Bull F1 cars? The Renault Megane Renaultsport Red Bull Racing RB8 isn't just a long name, it's a Megane with Twilight Blue paint, recaro seats, sticky Potenza RE050A tires, and a few other bits of Red Bull Racing Branding.
The Megane is one of the best looking hatches on the market and the Renaultsport version is deadly quick, putting out 265 horsepower throw a well-sorted package that helped the Trophy version snag a Nürburgring record.
This is a limited edition with just 30 set to go to the UK and an unknown number to be sold elsewhere. It's the perfect accompaniment for the Sebastien Vettel edition Infiniti FX.
4th Gear: What Happens When Rival Execs Have Lunch?
“First, we totally price-fixed the industry. That was a joke!” GM North America President Mark Reuss said, laughing.
This article from the Freep's Nathan Bomey captures a few tidbits from a lunch between Reuss and his counterpart at Toyota, Jim Lentz.
Discussion topics included Nissan dropping prices in response to a tumbling yen and Toyota's pricing discipline.
5th Gear: EU + US Trade Deal Good For Automakers, Good Deal For Enthusiasts
Automakers seem to think a free trade deal between the U.S. and the EU would be good for business, which is why they're supporting a proposal to do just that. Now, in all of these trade deals it's easy to see a bunch of companies scratching around for new ways to make more money and access more markets. That's certainly true here.
For car enthusiasts, though, there's something in this proposal to look forward to as a part of this deal will involve harmonizing some regulations for emissions, crash protection, bumpers, TPS monitors, fuel system integrity and other issues, according to David Shepardson.
Why is that important? Because it's this lack of harmony that tends to result in cars either:
- A. Getting more expensive when they cross the ocean.
- B. Never crossing the ocean at all.
Think of all the Euro goodies we've been deprived of all these years!
Reverse: Something not to be nostalgic for
On this day in 1901, Connecticut becomes the first state to pass a law regulating motor vehicles, limiting their speed to 12 mph in cities and 15 mph on country roads.The path to Connecticut's 1901 speed limit legislation began when Representative Robert Woodruff submitted a bill to the State General Assembly proposing a motor-vehicles speed limit of 8 mph within city limits and 12 mph outside. The law passed in May 1901 specified higher speed limits but required drivers to slow down upon approaching or passing horse-drawn vehicles, and come to a complete stop if necessary to avoid scaring the animals.
Neutral: What car do you wish crossed the pond?
In either direction...
Photo Credit: Getty Images