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: Meet Carlos Tavares, He Wants Your Job
Two weeks ago, Nissan/Renault's second-in-command said he'd like to run GM or Ford. That's because he's the second-in-command to Carlos Ghosn. There can only be one Carlos at the top of any company and it was pretty clear the short Carlos wasn't going anywhere.
Thus, it's no surprise that Tavares has left Renault (where he was COO) in what Automotive News is calling a negotiated withdrawal.
Tavares, it should be noted, became a Renault employee at 24 as a test-driving engineer and worked his way up to various positions, including North American operations for Nissan. He's been quite successful at almost everything he's done and likely doesn't want to be CEO for a year and then get booted out.
Now it's reported that he's been running around telling people he could be their CEO.
So where does he end up? Ford is probably a stretch as Mark Fields seems the heir apparent. Maybe GM? Mark Reuss and Mary Barra and Steve Girsky all want it, but will any of them take it?
2nd Gear: Here's Kia's Niro
Kia's been building a lot of weird crossovers lately, flexing their design muscles and indicating that they're no longer content building cars that look curiously like other cars that already exist.
This the Niro, a European-sized subcompact crossover designed for Europe.
Although the European car market is barely out of the basement, in times of great automotive strife you can make big gains in market share. It worked out for Kia over here and I doubt they'd be content to just sit and fiddle as Europe burned...
More photos and info in the press release.
3rd Gear: GM Is Going To Make A Nearly Autonomous Car, Too
Great, now we're in this competition where every automaker has to announce an autonomous car is coming and all, for some reason, have picked 2020.
Get ready for 2020. It's such a numerologically significant sounding digit that it's all we're here.
It sounds like, per the AP, that it's radar cruise control WITH steering. I.e. you could get on the highway and just zone out.
4th Gear: What If Your Car Wouldn't Start Without A Seatbelt Engaged?
Let me get this out of the way right now: You should always belt up. Always. There's no excuse not to unless you've just kidnapped someone and you want to give them a chance to crash into something, thus propelling you out of the car a la Turner & Hooch.
BMW, in an attempt to skip certain crash test requirements, wanted to install a seatbelt interlock for the front seat. NHTSA denied that petition, according to David Shepardson, but said they'd look int it.
There are three different interlocks, BMW said, that could be used: One would bar a driver from starting the vehicle without a belt. Another would prevent a driver from shifting the vehicle out of park. A third would only allow the vehicle to be driven at low speeds without the driver wearing a seat belt. BMW said the third option could allow drivers to go to the mailbox “and would be the least annoying and most accepted type of interlock.”
5th Gear: Say Hello To The Corvette… Z07
Reverse: A Tragic, Scary Day
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on August 29. In addition to bringing devastation to the New Orleans area, the hurricane caused damage along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.
Neutral: Corvette Z07 a good idea or sacrilege? Do we put too much emphasis on a number? What about the ZR7? Z77? It is lucky.
Photo Credit: Getty Images