Two GM SUVs Safer In Crash Test Than Honda, Toyota, And Kia

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: That's Some Well-Timed Good News

Contrary to what you might expect, there's some good news from "New GM" and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says only the Equinox/Terrain twins did well enough amongst midsize CUV/SUVs to earn a "good"rating on their small overlap front crash test, in which cars and trucks are aimed not-so-squarely at an object. The two little GM crossovers — unremarkable in basically every other way — are apparently safe enough to get across-the-board good ratings in the test and join the Toyota Highlander in the Top Safety Pick+ category.

You know who didn't do so hot? Honda.

The Honda Pilot was the worst performer in this group. The driver's space was seriously compromised by intruding structure. In the worst instance, the parking brake pedal moved inward 16½ inches. The dummy's head barely contacted the frontal airbag before sliding off the left side, as the steering column moved 5½ inches to the right. Measures taken from the dummy showed injuries to the left hip would be likely in a crash of this severity, and injuries to the left knee and both lower legs would be possible.

The NYT has Honda's response:

"Utilizing the same body structure as the 2014 Pilot, the 2013 Honda Pilot was rated an I.I.H.S. Top Safety Pick and, according to I.I.H.S., 2013 Top Safety Pick designees like the Pilot 'continue to offer a high level of protection in four main crash types — moderate overlap front, side, rollover and rear.' "

Well, shit's getting harder Honda, sorry to tell you.

2nd Gear: There's Probably A Bigger Paper Trail Behind GM's Decision Making

Two GM SUVs Safer In Crash Test Than Honda, Toyota, And Kia

We don't have answers as to why or how GM made the awful decisions it ended up making, and as Automotive News reports, the document showing a GM engineer signed off on it only shows a small part of the process according to engineers familiar with GM's inner workings.

The document is an acknowledgment from the supplier, Delphi, that the part met the technical requirements that GM authorized earlier, the sources say. It's one element of a more rigorous process to execute a part redesign — referred to inside GM as an "engineering work order" — that would have included input from at least a dozen people across multiple GM departments, they say.

"That validation signoff is just one step at the very end. It puts a bow around everything," one of the former GM engineers told Automotive News. "By itself, it isn't an authorization by GM to change anything."

The former GM engineers say the document raises questions about whether a more extensive paper trail exists that would shed light on the 2006 part redesign, which has emerged as a key turning point.

Once again, we're left asking: Who did?

3rd Gear: Uh, Remember That Jeep Recall?

Two GM SUVs Safer In Crash Test Than Honda, Toyota, And Kia

Remember that time Chrysler recalled like 1.56 million Jeeps with like trailer hitches? Yeah, it hasn't exactly happened yet.

The difference? Brent Snavely points out an important one:

While Chrysler has agreed to conduct a safety campaign to install trailer hitches to provide additional protection in low-speed crashes, the automaker still contends its SUVs are not defective. The automaker has not said when the trailer hitches will be ready.

Not like it really matters, the trailer hitches have always seemed like the automaker throwing the feds a bone since the actual fix would be way too expensive. If anything this goes to show how toothless NHTSA has been.

4th Gear: The Tesla-Dealer Wars Continue

Two GM SUVs Safer In Crash Test Than Honda, Toyota, And Kia

If you haven't kept up with the Tesla v. Dealer tsuris, there's a nice Detroit News roundup of everything that's happened so far.

The best moment though, is a quote from the Michigan dealers org defending the efforts they're making to stop Tesla from engaging in direct sales:

Terry Burns, executive vice president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association in Lansing, defended Michigan's ban on direct sales by carmakers. "Manufacturers do a fabulous job of making cars," he said. "Dealers are fabulous at selling cars."

Terry Burns was formerly a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently.

5th Gear: Car Parts Maker To Fight Google… In The Home?

Two GM SUVs Safer In Crash Test Than Honda, Toyota, And Kia

Here's an interesting one: Bosch is the world's largest car parts maker, and also makes other assorted devices, and now they're going to go after Google in terms of connected homes.

Bloomberg has the scoop:

Bosch technology such as door sensors that help regulate room temperature or utility-control networks in Monaco are just the start as the overlap between the information-technology and mechanical-hardware industries increases, Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner, 57, said in an interview.

"It's no longer a question whether networked things are coming," Denner said at company headquarters near Stuttgart, Germany. "It's a fact, and we want to be one of the leading players."

Connected homes. Connected cars. Homes connected to cars. It's all one big universe.

Reverse: Rubbin' Is Racin'

On this day in 1979, in the Rebel 500 event at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, drivers Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty swap the lead four times in a last-lap battle before Waltrip finally wins the race.

[HISTORY]

Neutral: Would You Buy A Safer, But Less Interesting Car?

The Equinox is a fine vehicle, even if it's out-styled and outclasses by nearly every car in its class. Would the fact that it's safer in a few categories guide you to buy it over, say, a better Mazda or Honda?

Photo Credit: Getty Images