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?
As promised last week (but not delivered), there's a new look to the site. On the "latest" page everything is a little more compact. This will allow you to see more posts without having to scroll as much.
We've also changed your personal Kinja pages so that, if you use it as a blog (as many of you do) it's not completely overwhelmed with comments. You can check out my page my page here.
What do y'all think?
1st Gear: Time For Climb Dance 2
We mentioned earlier that Peugeot was returning to Pikes Peak and, holy Scandi Flick, it's incredible. Sébeastien Loeb will be attempting to outdo Ari Vatanen in a Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak. Since Loeb isn't racing in any other series in America, this may be the only chance you'll have to race him in your mom's old Honda.
The track is, of course, all paved again this year. Every one of the 156 corners leading up to the clouds. He'll be attempting to outdo Rhys Millen's Genesis, which made it in 9:46.164 last year in the "unlimited" class.
The Red Bull livery is fantastic and the car makes us wish they were still selling Pugs in the U.S.
2nd Gear: GM + Ford = 9/10 Speed Transmissions
Ford and GM decided to work together on global transmissions after Chrysler one-upped them by revealing a nine-speed transmission and, later this year, putting them into production. Chrysler is already using an eight-speed transmission in the Grand Cherokee and RAM.
While few people buy a new car based on a transmission, they typically consider all the benefits that come from having a good one. Specifically, buyers look at the performance and fuel economy that more gears can bring.
The idea, reports the Detroit Free Press, is to produce as many transmissions as affordably as possible. Look forward to nine-speed transmissions for FWD vehicle and 10-speed transmissions for RWD cars and larger vehicles.
We've tackled the comparison to the previous Cherokee and this covers a lot of same ground, but here's more on the novel driveline setup, which uses a PTO that con disconnect the driveshaft:
American Axle & Manufacturing helped develop the key drivetrain parts, which Jeep calls Active Drive, that allow the fwd Cherokee to go awd or 4wd either automatically or at the driver's command.
A unit called a power takeoff connects the driveshaft to the transverse-mounted transmission and sends power to the rear differential. The differential, or rear drive unit, takes the spinning driveshaft and splits the torque to the two rear wheels.
The design is similar to traditional awd systems except for a few key elements: a lower gear and clutches that engage and disengage the rear driveshaft and the differential as needed for traction.
4th Gear: Nissan Bringing An Infiniti Plant To The US?
Despite a weaker yen and beneficial trade agreements, production in the United States still makes sense for a Japanese or European brand. It's a large market and, as they've learned thanks to natural disasters, having all your production in one place isn't a great idea.
North America also makes sense for the brand Infiniti baws Johan de Nysschen tells the Wall Street Journal because Nissan, which shares parts with its luxury arm, already has production in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Does that mean another plant in the U.S.? Maybe, but it could also mean Mexico and Canada.
5th Gear: Speaking Of Nissan…
RAM brand prez Fred Diaz has been named President of U.S. Sales and Marketing for Nissan, which hasn't had one of those (and has seen sales that trailed the market). He starts May 1st.
Diaz was with Chrysler for 24 years, meaning he was there since he was 23 years old. You have to respect someone who has seen himself through like a billion iterations of a company and survived. RAM has also seen a strong period of growth recently despite, you know, changing their name to RAM RAM.
The outgoing VP of sales, Al Casignetti, resigned to "pursue interests outside the company" according to Bloomberg. Ouch.
It turns out that one of the victims of the Titanic was a man named Washington A. Roebing, II. He was the sone of Washington Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge, and a budding race car river. He drove the Roebling-Planche, which was designed by Etienne Planche for racing.
Roebling, II perished in the cold North Atlantic water 101 years ago today, but not after "going like hell" in his 140 horsepower car and winning a big race in 1908. Follow the link for more of the car's history. [The Old Motor]
Neutral: X-Speed Transmission
What is the maximum number of gears before we stop building geared transmissions?
Photo Credit: Getty Images