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: The Mazda3 Is Losing To Beige
The Mazda3 is our favorite car in the economy class by a vast country mile. It's the best looking, best driving, best equipped car in its class. Mazda knows they have a winner on their hands, so they've kept incentives low and transaction prices higher.
Problem is, it isn't working, and the new Corolla and Civic are obliterating the handsome Mazda. And even stealing sales from it. Automotive News reports that Mazda3 sales are off 27 percent and have been going down every month since August.
This is mostly thanks to the sales battle between the laaaammmmmeee Honda Civic and boooooorrring Toyota Corolla, which are selling like gangbusters. It also proves an earlier point: For many people, what a car in this class looks and drives like simply doesn't matter. It's perceived value.
And unfortunately, the Mazda3 is the best car in its class and the buyers just don't care.
2nd Gear: Nissan Could Beat Their Own Electric Car Projections
More and more countries are welcoming electric cars. That means more and more electric cars are being sold. It's not really science to figure that out.
But what that does mean is Nissan just might be able to surpass its projections for sales to 2020 a few years ahead of time. Since the Leaf launched in 2010, Nissan has sold 100,000 of them, but the proliferation and expansion of the electric car market means their goal of 1.5 million cars by 2020 could be met years ahead of time.
Let's see what happens.
3rd Gear: Missing Malaysia Air Plane Flew Super Low To Mask Signal
The mystery surrounding Malaysia Air MH370 continues to grow, and a new report shows that the gigantic jumbo jet dropped down to an elevation of 5,000 feet in order to avoid radar detection.
Commercial radar doesn't operate that low, so it makes sense, especially if the plane was hijacked. It doesn't answer what exactly happened to the plane, but it's just another puzzle piece in this overwhelmingly bizarre story.
4th Gear: Hyundai Overstates Sonata Fuel Economy.... Again
Remember when Hyundai overstated the fuel economy of its cars and then had to have a $395 million settlement to reimburse customers who thought they'd get more mileage than they did?
Well, the new 2015 Sonata was supposed to get 29.6 MPG. Apparently that was incorrect, because Hyundai has revised that number to 28.6 MPG before it even goes on sale. This time, Hyundai says it was a mistake when a preliminary number was included on a presentation that went to reporters.
Not a big error, but for a company that has a little bit of history being wrong in this field, well, it makes consumers think.
5th Gear: Red Bull Will Appeal Ricciardo's DQ
Yesterday, Daniel Ricciardo drove a stellar Australian Grand Prix to become the first Aussie driver to finish on the podium in his home race. It's always a great moment to see the local boy come good.
But it didn't last. Riccciardo was DQed for an issue with the fuel flow on his Renault engine. But Red Bull are now confident that an appeal will reinstate him.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has said that he's confident that an appeal will be seen in their favor. In this case, I'm rooting for Red Bull to come through. Ricciardo's brilliant drive deserved that second place finish.
Gottlieb Daimler, who in 1890 founded an engine and car company bearing his name, is born in Schorndorf, Germany, on this day in 1834.
Why do you think the Mazda3 isn't selling, especially when it's overwhelmingly the best reviewed car in class?