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: Japan's Loss Is Ford's Gain
What happens when the Japanese and Chinese hate one another? Ford sells 600,000 cars in China through September, up 51% over the previous year.
While GM and Volkswagen still own most of the Chinese market, it's possible that late-to-the-party Ford could best Toyota and Honda in their own backyard.
They're doing so well, reports Alisa Priddle, that Ford is going to have to keep building plants beyond the 24 it already planned.
Ford also plans to introduce Lincoln there and, given that the current Lincolns are big and efficient it's entirely possible they'll be success there.
2nd Gear: The Most Powerful Woman In The World Loves Cash For Clunkers
Aside from maybe Angela Merkel, there's no woman who is going to be more powerful than future Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who was nominated by President Obama to replace Ben Bernanke yesterday (suck it Summers!).
I've generally liked Yellen and very much didn't want to see Larry Summers take the job, yet I have to admit my surprise that she was pro-Cash For Clunkers, a fact that The Detroit News managed to sniff out:
In a September 2009 speech, Yellen said that the Obama administration’s $3 billion “cash for clunkers” program that year helped boost auto sales. “Recently, sales of light vehicles have begun to rise, in part due to the government’s ‘cash for clunkers’ program,” she said in the speech. “As a result, auto manufacturing has picked up and, with inventories lean, prospects are good for further production increases.”
It also drove up the price of used cars for people who needed them and took a lot of entirely worthy and repairable cars off the road. Oh well, it was 2009. It was a different time then. Also, am I the only one who thinks she looks like a Pokemon?
3rd Gear: GM's All Like "Screw Lithium Ion"
Lithium Ion batteries are expensive and they're in everything, but automaker-demand isn't what was expected and they're still expensive. What to do?
If you're GM, you drop the batteries for the 2014 Malibu and skip to a cheaper lead-acid battery for the stop-start system as the WSJ reports.
GM’s move is a blow to the lithium-ion battery industry, which is already is suffering because of lack of demand for electric vehicles. Battery factories in the U.S. are running at between 15% and 20% of capacity. Several large makers, including A123 Systems LLC and Johnson Controls Inc. have already shifted their business model to supplying batteries for hybrid systems and start-stop systems. The fact that GM isn’t planning to use lithium-ion in its system could further undercut demand.
On the other hand, the variation of batteries that the Tesla Model S uses (and apparently E-Cigs use) are still heavily in demand.
4th Gear: What's A UAW To Do?
While the UAW is buddying up to GM and Ford and trying to play nice with Volkswagen, they're basically telling Nissan to go 'suck a D' reports The Detroit News.
There, a union anxious to bolster its sagging dues base with the ranks of Nissan Motor Co.’s hourly workforce is mounting a campaign stretching from that small Mississippi town to Brazil, Paris, Tokyo and South Africa — all in an attempt to brand the Japanese automaker a violator of “international labor rights,” according to a report issued this week in Washington.
You'll remember we talked to Danny Glover about this.
5th Gear: Marchionne Would Rather You Didn't Invest In The IPO
Whether or not the Chrysler IPO is good or bad for Chrysler, it's not how the Italians do business. CEO Sergio Marchionne wants control and an IPO is another way to lose it.
BUT, he's in a weird position. He can't say "Chrysler is going to fall apart" in the run up to the IPO because he can't afford to devalue the company. Also, it would run contrary to everything else he's said before.
What' his solution? Per Reuters:
Marchionne, who is also the CEO of Fiat S.p.A., said Chrysler has a financially attractive future, including forecasts for a 7 percent to 8 percent profit margin by 2015, according to a Bernstein Research note published Tuesday.
But he "did not believe investing via this partial IPO would be the most attractive route for investors," Bernstein analyst Max Warburton wrote of Marchionne's comments at a Bernstein Research investors conference last week in London.
He added that Marchionne implied that investing in Fiat or in the joint Fiat-Chrysler company later would be a better bet.
On this day in 1987, the song "Here I Go Again" by English hard-rock group Whitesnake tops the Billboard pop singles chart in the United States. Today, what most people remember about the song is its saucy video: The actress Tawny Kitaen spends a great deal of it in a white negligee, writhing and cartwheeling across the hoods of two Jaguars parked next to one another. It is one of the most iconic music videos of the 1980s, and it features two of the most famous cars in pop-culture history.
Neutral: Do You Care About Ford or GM Playing In China? Is a GM that sells more cars in China than the U.S. a Chinese company? What about Ford? Does it matter?
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