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: It's Almost Over For Government Motors
The Treasury has been quietly dumping the 60.8% of GM it got through the Trouble Assets Relief Program and now it's only got about 7% of the company, reports D-Shep.
We get some fun math from the report about how we'd break even:
Treasury would need to get $147.95 on its remaining shares to break even. That's not going to happen: GM's stock closed Wednesday at $35.80, up $0.21, or 1 percent. At current trading prices, the government's remaining stake is worth about $3.6 billion. At current stock prices, taxpayers would lose about $10 billion on the bailout when all the stock is unloaded.
Given how quickly GM has turned things around, that's not a terrible investment. The report goes on to note that of the 154 people charged in TARP-related fraud, none of them came from the auto bailouts.
2nd Gear: It's Not Just The Camry That Lost Its Consumer Reports Rec
While most car magazine "Of The Year" awards historically carry little-to-no weight, Consumer Reports still matters for a large, cautious part of the population. Therefore it's with some consternation that Toyota must view the news that CR knocked them off the list like a top-heavy Suzuki.
In addition to the report we had yesterday, we learned from the WSJ this morning that the RAV-4 and Toyota Prius V also were dropped from the recommendations because of poor scores in the "small offset" crash testing by the IIHS. These tests are a good measure of real world crash survivability.
Mr. Fisher told the Automotive Press Association in Detroit that the magazine will no longer recommend cars that do poorly in any of the crash tests run by the U.S. Transportation department or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Audi A4 also received a poor score in the test. Toyota said they were working to fix the problems for a retest in December.
3rd Gear: Why Do We Suddenly Agree With Consumer Reports?
As much as I like the individuals who run auto testing for Consumer Reports, they shoot for such a mainstream audience of scared housewives and timid actuaries that their reported world view is usually so far from this site's it's almost worth not mentioning their findings other than for pure news value.
Yet, recent movement by CR does put their suggestions more in line with our suggestions. While it's more coincidental than anything else that they dropped the Camry and Toyota Prius V, two cars we also don't love but for reasons not relating to crashworthiness, where we align is in our distaste for touchscreen-based infotainment systems that don't offer enough redundancy.
Ford and Lincoln are now 26th and 27th out of 28th in the new reliability rankings and it's due, CR says, largely to to infotainment (EcoBoost teething issues also hurts). Cadillac is also 25th and it's hard not to see the CUE infotainment system playing a role in that as well given the mag's prior contempt for that system.
They also place Mini dead last amongst measured brands, which we also agree with. Like the Houston Texans this year, Mini is an idea that works in theory but fails in execution.
4th Gear: Marchionne's Complications Explained
We've long established the UAW health trust v. Fiat tsuris and it just keeps getting stranger.
Chrysler amended its original IPO to clarify some details, including no longer describing product launches as 'successful' after the issues with the Cherokee and, maybe, the SRT Viper. It also admitted that savings from the Chrysler-Fiat joint purchasing problem is lower.
Then it added this, per Bloomberg:
Marchionne finds himself in the position of running the company that's being listed and also the controlling shareholder that's opposed to the IPO. Chrysler acknowledges the CEO's awkward role in the share sale preparation, saying in the filing that he and other executives "may have conflicts of interest with respect to matters involving both companies."
No shit. Does he want the company to be worth more or less? He's kind of screwed both ways.
5th Gear: Speaking Of Fiat Purchases, VM Motori
Diesel engine maker VM Motori is now officially 100% owned by Fiat, reports Automotive News. Who'd they purchase it from? GM, of course.
Just to show you how weird the world has been over the last 20 years years, VM Motori was owned by Detroit Diesel, which was then owned by DaimlerChrysler, which then sold VM to Penske, who then sold it to GM, who then sold half of it to Fiat, who just bought all of it.
This means that the engine now powering the Ram EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee was, as as TTAC points out, initially developed for the European CTS. The company also made a diesel for the Ssangyong Kyron so I get to run this terrible photo.
Reverse: Two Wheels Bad
Duane Allman, a slide guitarist and the leader of the Allman Brothers Band, is killed on this day in 1971 when he loses control of his motorcycle and drives into the side of a flatbed truck in Macon, Georgia. He was 24 years old. After Allman's death, his band continued to tour and record and it is still together today. In 2004, Rolling Stone declared that the Allman Brothers were the 52nd-greatest rock band of all time.
Neutral: Do You Care About What Consumer Reports Says? Where do you go for car advice?
Photo Credit: Getty Images