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: From The Polar Vortex To The Incentive Vortex
Brutally cold weather, as well as possibly other factors, have left carmakers who don't sell AWD econoboxes struggling to move inventory. Few are worse off than GM, who probably expected to be moving a lot more of their new pickup trucks than they are.
According to some leaked info provided to Automotive News, Chevy will run a national program through March that offers the same pricing that supplier employes get, which is basically the dealer invoice price, plus destination, plus $150.
They're also rumored to be combining this with a similar "Open House" promotion that offers basically the same pricing on cars (well, not the Corvette or SS). How goes is the discount?
An example from the summary shows that a two-wheel-drive, double cab Silverado 1500 in the All Star Edition package, which normally carries a sticker of $37,520, can be had for $30,828 after applying the March discounts.
2nd Gear: BYD Is Making That Money, Though
Despite their frequent weirdness, in my heart of hearts I'm hopeful that BYD will actually live up to its own hype. I want to believe they're actually committed to improving the environment through technological achievement, and not just use that as a cover for whatever damage their massive cell phone battery business is doing.
In that light, it's encouraging to see BYD profits up $90.3 million on better auto sales and smaller loses from its solar operations. Warren Buffett rarely makes a bad bet.
3rd Gear: How Do Dealers Make Some Cream?
We tend to not focus much on the dealer side of the business — unless they're doing something particularly stupid — but they are the most common link between the car buyer and the car company. What are their margins like?
Once again, Automotive News has the story, pointing out that the average pretax dealership profit was 2.2%, though some are making as high as 5%. How will dealerships improve in the future, besides the usual customer service tweaks?
A consulting firm says smaller stores in big sites, better online experiences, and
4th Gear: How Ford Got The Mustang To Break Wind
Easy flatulence jokes aside, the 2015 Ford Mustang was heavily tweaked in the wind tunnel to keep aerodynamic drag to a minimum and squeeze every last MPG out. How'd they do it? Karl Henkel has the story, which gets into some extremely minute detail of how they kept weight and drag down.
The Mustang will also be the first Ford vehicle with front-wheel aero curtains on the outer part of the car's front fascia. The curtains guide air across the front wheels. And the driver and passenger mirrors in the new Mustang have been dropped from the front pillar to the door to eliminate the vortex-like swirling wind that beats against the windows.
5th Gear: Ferdinand Porsche Was Czech?
For all I thought I knew about Porsche, I never knew that he was born in the Czech town of Vratislavice and Nisou. I'd always just assumed he was German. This Bloomberg story explains why they never made a big deal out of it.
Under communism, Porsche sports cars were unwelcome symbols of capitalist excess. Then, the engineer's connection to the Nazis made him controversial in the region annexed by Adolf Hitler's regime.
"It wasn't really advertised that Porsche was born here," said Milan Bumba, a resident of Vratislavice who developed a fascination for the brand in the 1980s and has since tried to promote the town's connection to the auto engineer. "Decades of Porsche's engineering career are fascinating, and he's left a mark on history."
The Henry Ford/Ferdinand Porsche parallels, they are a many.
Reverse: I Hope The Car That Took Him To The Hospital Was A Tatra
On this day in 1934, the auto safety advocate and activist Ralph Nader, whose 1965 book "Unsafe at Any Speed" criticized the auto industry for poor safety standards and ultimately led to various reforms, is born in Winsted, Connecticut.
Neutral: Is New GM Being Too Much Like Old GM? Or are we all freaking out too much over their incentives? Photo Credit: Getty Images