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?
Today's politics will come in the form of international trade, which is extremely important but usually not quote so controversial… unless you're in a union, are a Japanese rice farmer, or Ford Motor Company.
So, with that, here are today's biggest headlines.
1st Gear: Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Include Scrapping Of Auto Tarrifs
Boom. The ongoing talks between the Japanese and U.S. Governments over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will finally bring down tariffs on Japanese cars and trucks.
According to Reuters, the U.S. will slowly get rid of the 2.5% tariff on cars and 25% tariffs on light trucks that have been in place since the Japanese started trying to bring said vehicles in the U.S.
In exchange, we think, Japan will in theory open up their own market to agriculture and other trade. The details haven't yet been announced (this just happened), but it's more evidence that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe is not screwing around with his "Abenomic" policies.
Unions oppose the rule, for obvious reasons, as do Japanese farmers, for obvious reasons. Ford is always pissed that Japan makes it nearly impossible (despite no tariffs) to sell cars in Japan and doesn't think that's going to change.
This deal, like NAFTA, is going to be all about the details.
2nd Gear: Speaking Of Trade...
Sorry Matty Moroun, the presidential permit for the "New International Trade Crossing" bridge was approved and it's going to be announced today, says The Detroit Free Press.
If you don't remember, here's The Daily Show's explainer. This is good news for Detroit and only bad news for one very, very rich guy.
There are only a few steps left before the bridge can be built.
3rd Gear: Be Amazed By The Diesel Sedan
We've spent a lot of time talking about the Indian car market and how most of the vehicles are diesel. Alas, Honda has just unveiled the Honda Amaze sedan.
This 1.5-liter engine is the smallest diesel Honda has ever produced, but it makes sense since India subsidizes diesel fuel. Per the WSJ, Honda sold 73,483 cars and SUVs during the last fiscal year, up 35% year-over-year. They're thinking this is going to help maintain that growth.
While it's never coming to the U.S., we all like the idea of small diesels.
4th Gear: Would You Like A Used McLaren?
We're obviously big fans of the McLaren MP4-12C, but it's still slightly out of our price range. That's why we're excited to hear Macca has their own pre-owned program going into place. Actually, they call it a "scheme," which is hilarious.
Called "McLaren Qualified," the program involves getting your used car upgraded and modified to your specifications before being resold to you, which includes making sure it gets the horsepower boost that comes with the revised tune they rolled out in 2013. Not bad.
They're already rolling out, so if you want a gently used MP4-12C it's time to scrounge up around $230K.
More importantly, the judge said that there was no proof anyone lost any money because Tesla was there… something that's going to be hard to prove unless there are independent Tesla dealers out there.
At the same time that Musk is fighting in Texas, he hinted that he could build a Tesla plant there. Texas is home to a lot of auto manufacturing, hi-tech manufacturing, and people just like going to Texas.
I hope Musk isn't full of shit, because this idea makes a lot of sense.
On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. Vostok 1 orbited Earth at a maximum altitude of 187 miles and was guided entirely by an automatic control system. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, "Flight is proceeding normally; I am well."
Neutral: Which Japanese Small Truck Or Car Do You Want Here? Lower tariffs mean the U.S. will be open to more imports from Japan (in theory), what would you like to see?
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