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: It's Not Just Fields
Right now, everyone is focusing on new Ford CEO Mark Fields. Who is he? Where'd he come from? Props to Keith Naughton for working in a reference to the "mullet-sporting Jersey boy" that Fields once was though, as everyone has seen, he's now become the "legitimate leader with gravitas."
But what about Mulally? That's what I want to know and here's the best we've gotten so far:
Mulally, who has said he would remain CEO through this year, will leave the company for another substantial role, said the people, who asked not to be identified disclosing internal plans. The moves may be announced as early as May 1, they said.
Total and completely uninformed guess here: Mulally takes over as Chairman of the Ford Board of Directors.
2nd Gear: Lincoln's Salvation May Come In China
Mark Fields is one half of the team trying to save Lincoln (the other half is marketing boss Jim Farley), and as CEO he'll have more discretion. He'll also catch more of the blame if it doesn't work.
While the brand has languished in the U.S. in recent years, China presents a new opportunity for Lincoln and, as Alisa Priddle reports, they're not fuckin' around.
Here are the two important details from this piece:
Executives are handpicking Lincoln dealers, requiring standard but grandiose designs for showrooms and demanding a customer-coddling regimen of sales staff. The first cars — the MKZ midsize sedan and new MKC compact crossover — go on sale there this fall.
Chinese consumers are aware of Lincoln — largely through their studies of President Abraham Lincoln in school — and almost 10,000 gray market Lincolns, mostly Town Cars, are sold annually.
3rd Gear: GM Will Give You $100 To Drive A Caddy
I don't think anyone who has driven a modern Cadillac car would argue with the notion that it's worth paying $100 for the chance. However, Cadillac is doing the opposite, offering $100 to anyone who books a test drive and takes it.
"This is our way of way of trying to reach out and get people," he said in a recent interview. "The way to conquest in that super competitive market is to get people's seats in seats."
Peffer said qualified drivers who have a registered vehicle are eligible for the payout, which comes in the form of Visa prepaid gift card. The offer is good to motorists 21 and older, with a valid driver's license and proof of insurance and who own a 2004 or newer non-GM vehicle.
Cadillac's biggest challenge is still perception, which has changed amongst the media but has not amongst the average person.
4th Gear: GM Trying To Protect Itself From Claims
We've talked a lot about the "Old GM" vs "New GM" arguments re: the Recall. If you haven't been following along, the basic idea is that because the new GM is a new company, it isn't liable for any actions that took place before 2009.
The AP reports that GM is seeking to shield itself, which sounds pretty terrible. If this holds, it would mean we bailed out GM and the result is they turned around and screwed everyone.
However, some have made the point that GM is just trying to brush back and lawyers who are hoping to take advantage of the situation (and them).
We'll see, because this looks fairly callous.
5th Gear: NHTSA Investigating Car Chargers
NHTSA is taking a look at Bosch-built car chargers after a 2013 Nissan Leaf owner saw smoke while charging their vehicle, Reuters reports.
The charger used, a Bosch Power Xpress 240V, had been charging for over an hour at 30 amps at a private residence when signs of overheating, including a "strong burning smell," were noticed, according to NHTSA as well as the consumer complaint filed in late August.
"Charging vehicles are typically left unattended and there is a risk of fire that could affect the vehicle and its surrounding environment," NHTSA said.
Reverse: How We Roll
Frederick Henry Royce, who with Charles Stewart Rolls founded the luxury British automaker Rolls-Royce, dies on this day in 1933 at the age of 70 in England.
Neutral: Where goes Mulally?
One of America's most-revered CEOs isn't going to Microsoft, so what's next?
Photo Credit: AP Images