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?
Last month we did things a little differently by putting the gears inside the comments below to make it easier for you to comment on individual gears. I think there were some benefits to it, but let's try it out the other way.
I still encourage you to make your own gears in the comments that we can star to the top.
1st Gear: Ford Forks Over $750 Million To Laid Off Workers
Ford has plans to shut down its plant in Genk, Belgium due to dwindling European demand. That means about 4,000 workers will need to be laid off.
Ford has (quietly) announced that they will be paying $750 million in severance benefits to the 4,000 workers. Divided up equally, that's the equivalent of $187,500 per person. Ford is negotiating deals with a further 300 salaried employees.
2nd Gear: VW Has A Big Gearbox Problem In China
VW is the number one automaker in China and sells more cars there than anyone else. Well, with mo' sales come mo' problems and mo'recalls.
A recall has been issued for 384,000 VDubb rides in China that includes the Sagitar, Passat, Golf, and Touran that are built in China. It also includes some imported cars as well as a few Audi A3s.
3rd Gear: Volvo Heads East
It was only a matter of time before Volvo, which is now under Chinese ownership, started to head east to build cars.
It appears the time is now. China's industry planner has granted Volvo and parent company Geely permission to start building cars in the country. This should be a boon to help Volvo expand its presence in the burgeoning market. It also means lower prices for Chinese customers, since cars built in the country are exempt from the 25 percent import tax.
4th Gear: Mercedes Fuel Leak Investigation Grows
Last year, a $5 million class action lawsuit was started against Mercedes that alleged that fuel leaks were being covered up.
Now, the feds have upgraded this to an engineering analysis to see if this could lead to a recall. Mercedes says they are taking this very seriously and are working closely with the government. It could result in a recall of up to 250,000 cars.
5th Gear: Bentley Has A Huge First World Problem
The Bentley Mulsanne. You know it, you love it (or don't love it, whichever). Well, Bentley wants to make another variant, but they haven't been able to decide what to do yet.
Sounds like a convertible, which was shown to a select few members of the glitterati at Pebble Beach last year, is the leading contender. But Bentley says they have two other possibilities.
6th Gear: Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG: This Is It