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: VW Set To Beat GM In China
For nearly a decade, GM has been the tops in China when it comes to foreign automakers. It seems like VW is ready for all of that to change. Both GM and VW had a goal of selling three million cars in China this year, which they've both surpassed.
But VW has gotten there quicker. A week quicker, to be specific. VW is holding down a lead of around 70,000 cars compared to GM. This is just the start for VW, who say they could sell more but aren't because they just don't have the capacity.
2nd Gear: Will Non-Aussie Holdens Thrive In Australia?
Holdens are like the Koalas of the car world. When you hear the name, you automatically think Australia. But with the end of Australian production coming in 2017, will Holden still be able to thrive Down Under?
Experts believe that although there will be a lot of people sad and angry about Holden building cars elsewhere (America?), there will still be fans and the pipeline of new cars will sell well. But with just 1,000,000 cars being sold in Australia each year, is it worth it to GM to keep Holden at all? That's a question that will be answered in time.
3rd Gear: Depreciation Hits Electric Cars
Electric cars are the latest and greatest thing on the block. The problem is that in just a few years, battery and other tech will have advanced so much that they'll be nearly obsolete. That means that people looking for a deal will be jumping up and down, but early adopters will be cursing themselves. Like they usually do.
Projections say that the Chevy Spark EV will be worth just 28 percent of its $28,000 new price in five years. A Focus Electric will be 20 percent and a Nissan Leaf will have a residual value of 15 percent. That's not good, but it's the price you pay to be a tech maverick.
4th Gear: Volvo Goes Back To Basics, Cinnamon Buns
As Volvo has expanded in the past few years, their focus has become slightly muddled. Where's the environmental focus or the safety that they became famous for? Well, it's back as they expand further into China thanks to parent company Geely.
But to really understand Volvo's Swedish culture, the brand wants to have dealers offer customers a fresh, traditional Swedish cinnamon bun when they come in. Yeah, what that really means is that I'll be checking every Volvo dealer in the tri-state area for the best possible deal when I'm shopping for my next car.
5th Gear: US Built Car Exports Hit New Record
If we have a nice little push in the last few days of 2013, the US could export a whopping two million cars this year. Thanks to the global economy and growth in other markets, this is the best year for exports ever.
We still import more than we send out, but this is a great start to bridge that gap. USA. USA.
On December 26, 1956, the visionary carmaker Preston Tucker dies of lung cancer. He was just 53 years old.
What does VW have to do to convert that success in China to global dominance?