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: But We're Getting A Manual SS, So It's A Draw
It's been widely reported that, after selling its shares, the U.S. government lost $10.3 billion on bailing out GM of the $50.2 billion they doled out.
Alas, the Treasury Department now says an "administrative claim" cost the government another $826 million which, to the government, is like leaving a dollar in your jacket before sending it off to the dry cleaners.
That's the cost of saving GM and I still think it was absolutely worth it, even if we're reminded of how turrible GM was like every month.
2nd Gear: Toyota Fucked Torrance
We're calling it a victory for Texas (albeit an expensive one), which means it's a loss for someone. And that someone is Torrance, California.
This Reuters report is an important read, and also depressing.
Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto, looking grim, said outside city hall on Monday that he had been blindsided by the move. A few feet away sat Pat Simpson, a Torrance resident for over 60 years, with her head in her hands. "Why do they want to tear this place apart?" Simpson, 72, asked.
Scotto said his first inkling of Toyota's decision to move to Plano, Texas, came last Thursday, when he was told by Toyota to expect a phone call at 9.45 a.m. on Monday - just before the company was to make its decision official.
"At first I thought it was about something else," Scotto said. "Even this morning, despite all the rumors this weekend, we thought it was only going to be part of Toyota moving - not just everything." The decision, he said, was "sad news".
Grim as fuck. Also, here's a random Getty photo of Jay Leno holding a crying baby in the Torrence B&N.
3rd Gear: U.S. Wants To Make Recalls Sting
If you want to see the failure of the LaHood DOT, just look at the teeth we've seen so far from the Anthony Foxx DOT. Specifically, he wants to raise the maximum fine for skirting recalls from a minor $35 million to an actually significant $300 million.
Foxx told reporters on a conference call that the fines on automakers — which were doubled from $17.5 million to $35 million in 2012 — need to be "more than a rounding error" to ensure compliance. Under the law, automakers have five days to recall vehicles after determining they pose an unreasonable risk to driver safety. The department "wants to make sure there's an ability to make it count and ensure that there's enough of an effect across the industry," Foxx said.
Additionally, he wants NHTSA to be able to compel automakers to remove cars from the market when defects are found.
4th Gear: Mercedes Spending Money Like A Post-Draft Vince Young
Despite being wildly profitable, Mercedes-Benz has a bit of spending problem on its hand as it starts to roll out more product, with margins that are about 7%, compared to 10.1% for Audi.
"Margins were a little weaker than expected due to higher top-line growth" and because of costs to roll out the revamped C-Class sedan and the GLA compact sport-utility vehicle, Mike Dean, an analyst with Credit Suisse in London, said in a note to clients. He expected Mercedes to post a 7.5 percent margin, the same forecast as Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Short of a massive an unexpected market correction, it's an investment that should pay off.
5th Gear: Tesla Is Building Batteries In Two States
"What we're going to do is move forward with more than one state, at least two, all the way to breaking ground, just in case there's last-minute issues," Musk, Tesla's chief executive officer, said in an interview this week. "The No. 1 thing is we want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running."
And also extracting money and political capital out of two states at once? Yeah, so Nevada and Texas are our guesses.
Reverse: And Now It Looks Like A Ford Explorer
The Land Rover, a British-made all-terrain vehicle that will earn a reputation for its use in exotic locales, debuts at an auto show in Amsterdam on April 30, 1948.
The first Land Rover, known as the Series 1, was the brainchild of Maurice Wilks, the head designer for the British car company Rover, of which his brother Spencer Wilks was the managing director. Maurice Wilks used an old American-made Willys-Overland Jeep to do work at his farm in England. However, the Jeep was plagued by mechanical problems and Wilks decided to design a more reliable vehicle. He intended it to be used for farm work and be more versatile than a tractor. The resulting Land Rover, known as the Series 1, had a boxy, utilitarian design, four-wheel drive and a canvas roof.
Neutral: Was the GM bailout worth it?
Or should we have let them die?
Photo Credit: Getty Images