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?
Matt's off driving Hyundais and Travis is off driving Lambos, I think, so I'll be shifting your morning today. Sit down, make yourself comfortable. How's your mother doing? Say hi to your mother for me.
1st Gear: Get That Texas Money, Toyota
For about a decade, the Texas Enterprise Fund has served as the largest "deal-closing" economic development fund for any state in the country, used to lure large businesses to the Lone Star State. As Toyota prepares to move most of its operations there, today we learn just how much they benefitted from the Enterprise Fund, and it's a lot. From the Wall Street Journal:
Texas offered Toyota $40 million to move, part of a Texas Enterprise Fund incentive program run out of the governor's office. At $10,000 a job, it was one of the largest incentives handed out in the decade-old program and cost more per job created than any other large award.
Last year, Texas spent about $6,800 to lure each of 1,700 Chevron Corp. CVX +1.40% positions to Houston and $5,800 for each of 3,600 Apple Inc. AAPL +3.87% jobs shifted to Austin.
$10,000 per job to the tune of $40 million. It's clear Texas was serious about getting Toyota, and it's probably going to end up as a major economic victory for the state. Texas' lack of corporate income and personal income taxes are good news for the automaker as well.
2nd Gear: Thanks, Porsche And Audi!
The Volkswagen brand didn't have such a hot first quarter, suffering from a hit to profits compared to last year thanks to lower sales volumes, negative exchange rate trends, and higher upfront costs in new technologies, according to Automotive News — not to mention still-struggling U.S. sales.
But on the strength of ultra-profitable Porsche and Audi, the Volkswagen Group as a whole posted a profit increase of 22 percent to 2.47 billion euros ($3.42 billion) in the first quarter compared to last year, bolstered in part by rebounding European car sales.
3rd Gear: German Recall Fun Time
And speaking of the Germans, BMW and Mercedes are doing some recalls! The Associated Press reports Mercedes is recalling more than 284,000 C-Class models from the 2008 to 2011 model years because the rear taillights can fail due to corrosion on a connector.
As for BMW, they're pulling 156,000 cars because the engines can lose power or stall. From the AP again:
The recall covers multiple models from 2010 through 2012. It includes some 128i, 328i, Z4, 135i, 335i, 528i, 535i and 640i cars. Also covered are many X3, X5, and X6 SUVs.
Gosh, BMW makes a lot of cars these days.
4th Gear: These Men Want You To Stop Driving Your Cobalt
Oh, and speaking of recalls! Two Democratic U.S. senators on Monday called on the Department of Transportation to urge owners of the recalled General Motors vehicles to stop driving them until they are fixed, which of course could take months.
Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who serve on the Senate Commerce Committee investigating GM regarding its safety problem, wrote Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx urging him to act.
"GM has indicated that it could take until October, 2014, before it can complete all the needed repairs," the senators wrote. "Every day that unrepaired vehicles remain on the road increases the risk of more injuries, deaths and damage."
Earlier this month a judge declined to order GM to tell their customers to stop driving their cars. Since a court order didn't work, it seems critics are trying to get the feds to do it instead.
5th Gear: Mercedes Wants More 'On-Road' SUVs
You know how people are always off-roading in their GLK and M-Class SUVs? Everyone knows there's nothing a Mercedes SUV driver loves more than extreme rock-crawling! However, Daimler thinks this is a bit silly, so they're reportedly considering a separate line of SUV models for "on-road" use only, according to Automotive News.
Expect that to start with the production version of their X6 ripoff, the Mercedes Coupé SUV Concept.
The concept's production model could be part of a new model line of "on-road" SUVs that could also include a coupe-styled version of the GLA compact SUV, he said. Mercedes began selling the GLA in Europe in March and it is due in U.S. showrooms in September.
An SUV you can drive ON THE ROAD! Imagine that!
Reverse: Happy Birthday To The Intimidator
We miss you, Dale Sr.
Happy birthday to the only guy who could wear this shirt. pic.twitter.com/cPu1ja2ElC
— Orange Cone (@TheOrangeCone) April 29, 2014
Neutral: What can VW do to get ahead?
It seems the core Volkswagen brand keeps struggling while its corporate cousins are making it rain. What does VW need to do to succeed, in the U.S. or elsewhere?
Photos credit AP