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: Chinese Automakers Back Away From The Fisker Fire Sale
The company is spiraling out of control and we all expected they'd get purchased by a Chinese automaker soon. Then, last week, we heard founder Henrik Fisker was quitting the company over a disagreement with management (but not before buying a Fisker).
Now we hear from the WSJ that the Chinese companies are backing out over… a disagreement with the management. In this case, it's whether or not the Chinese should tap the rest of the $529 million U.S. Loan. Why would the Chinese turn away from free money? Because it ain't free. To take the money would apparently mean taking over the Delaware plant and committing to production there.
2nd Gear: EUROPE SUCKS
Yeah, it still sucks that you have to sell cars in Europe as sales crash 10% in February to just 829,359 total, according to Automotive News.
The worst hit were GM, Ford, and Fiat. Ford is probably going to lose something like $2 billion in the region, GM was down 20% overall and Fiat saw a 16% drop.
It's basically the massacre we all saw coming and will probably last the next few months.
3rd Gear: UNLESS YOU'RE BENTLEY
No matter how bad things get for you regular people, rich people still need cars with which to transport them around the poor, underemployed masses. Those rich people are choosing the new line of Bentleys.
The company reported sales up 22% for the year with new deliveries already up nearly 40% in the first two months of the year. Double-digit growth is also expected for 2013.
Most of these cars are being sold in "The Americas," which is how they refer to it. Chinese is close behind with 2,253 cars last year, and even in Europe sales were up 12%.
Can't blame them. The new Bentleys are universally appealing, even if you're not a minor oligarch.
4th Gear: Quiet Cars Aren't Loud Enough The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration requires carmakers to build electric and hybrid vehicles that won't surprise blind people with their quietness. A noble venture and one that should help other pedestrians and bicyclists.
Automakers are complaining that the rule is too complicated reports David Shepardson and want more time to figure out how to make it work.
They say under current rules the cars would be louder than some high performance cars. Like that's a bad thing? Maybe the solution is a different type of government intervention that requires open headers, no cats, or Cherry Bombs on all cars.
5th Gear: Ford's Cars Are Nothing To Sneeze At
Per USA Today, Ford is in the process of removing materials from their cars that tend to inflame allergies.
This includes reducing or repositioning latex, hexavalent chrome, nickel, formaldehyde and other materials. Ford tested out more than 100 materials for the new Fusion.
We're allergic to Ryan Seacrest. Can we get rid of him?