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: All Over A Minivan
Unless you're building weirdo one-off supercars, it's hard to have a car industry without a lot of other car companies around. You need a certain critical mass of suppliers and infrastructure to support mass auto production. Thus, the dominoes of the Australian auto industry that will lead to its demise in the next three years.
Could the same happen to Canada? Sergio Marchionne has been hinting that the next generation Chrysler Minivan could go almost anywhere, including leaving its WIndsor, Ontario home for Mexico or the United States.
There was even a demand on Chrysler's part for huge concessions out of the Canadians for a while. This led to a panic — mostly lost during the Geneva Motor Show — amongst some. Our Canadian pal Derek Kreindler penned an article stating an Australian-style death could be imminent. Twitter erupted with speculation.
Then, like an hour later, Fiat-Chrysler withdrew its request for extra funding and said they were going to update the Windsor plant for all sorts of production and explained why they weren't reaching for a handout.
"By definition every time you can do things on your own you are much freer to do what you think is possible," Mr. Marchionne said. "We will continue to monitor the environment to make sure Canada is competitive."
Hint, Hint, Hint Canadian Auto Workers.
Derek, for his part, I'm sure is relieved at this sudden turn of events and immediately acknowledged it. What this really shows is how totally weird this Fiat-Chrysler world is going to be.
2nd Gear: What Happens To The UAW?
There are going to be a lot more what next? stories as the UAW rebuilds from the failure in Tennessee. Here's one from Bryce Hoffman at The Detroit News.
Here's the nut:
Privately, senior executives at these companies say the UAW remains essentially the same union as the one that helped run Detroit's automakers into the ground with its demands for overly generous wages and gold-plated benefits.
3rd Gear: Chinese Automakers Want Western Respect
If there's one Chinese car company that deserves to be taken seriously, it's Qoros Auto, whose Qoros 3 aced safety tests and made everyone reconsider what the other side of the world can produce on its own.
This week they were at the Geneva Motor Show making exactly, that case.
In China, premium customers want to know that the car they are buying has European acceptance, and is not a mere knock-off, said analyst Anil Valsan. In Europe, on the other hand, they will be facing a flat market "so it will be tough coming in."
4th Gear: Western Automaker Wants Chinese Respect
Seeing a theme here? Ford doesn't have the reach in China that GM has, because Ford didn't make the investments long long ago. Now they're playing catchup.
Accelerating that process will be an investment that will double the amount of employees in R&D at the company's Nanjing engineer complex and another $100 million investment in the facility that will include a test track.
As Karl Henkel reports, Ford's sales in China were up 50% over 2012. That's 935,000 vehicles.
5th Gear: GM Wants Analyst Respect
Worries that their sudden discounting would scare the shit out of the market, GM sent their CFO to Wall Street to explain that they're still keeping it tight.
A key message, according to analysts: GM remains focused on maintaining pricing "discipline," especially on the hugely profitable full-size pickups in a highly combustible and fluid U.S. market.
GM is "working on marketing strategies to gain traction at the lower end of the (pickup) market without giving up pricing gains at the high end," said UBS Securities in a Wednesday client note.
Reverse: Too Young
Gottlieb Daimler, the German engineer who invented an early version of the internal combustion engine and founded an auto company bearing his name, dies at the age of 65 on this day in 1900.
Neutral: What happens next for Canada?
Is it doomed? Will the CAW give up concessions?
Photo Credit: Getty Images