Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

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?

I woke up this morning hoping that my memory would be wrong, that it wouldn't be as bad as it all seemed. Of course it's much worse. Coverage continues on Deadspin and on Gawker.

Unless there's some automotive side to this story that hasn't yet emerged, don't expect much coverage here other than the occasional link to other sites or to ways you can help the many victims.

1st Gear: Ford And China, Sitting In A Tree

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

Not only is Ford obsessed with China, they seem to really want you to know they're obsessed with China. This morning articles appeared in Automotive News and The Wall Street Journal. Coincidence? Guessing not.

So why does Ford care about China, where they've historically lagged behind GM and VW? Simple. There's like a billion people (1.3 billion specifically) and they've suddenly got more money. China is, as AN points out, the second largest market for Ford behind the U.S. and well ahead of the U.K.

Ford only entered the market in 2003 and has been rapidly expanding since, although they're far from catching up with VW spending way more than Ford there.

But Ford doesn't have to beat GM or VW, at least not now, especially when they can pick up the market share that the Japanese automakers are losing as an anti-Japanese nationalistic frenzy continues in China.

2nd Gear: Chrysler Has The Best-Named Execs

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

The head of Jeep is a guy named Mike Manley. The new head of RAM, replacing the outgoing Fred Diaz, is Reid Bigland, who was the CEO of Dodge/Chrysler of Canada.

Reid BIGLAND. C'mon. He's gotta be making that up, right? It's as if Ralph Gilles changed his last name to Horsepower. Also, the head of Chrysler communications is named Rick Deneau, which I find hilarious since his job is often to tell people "I dunno" when asked about new product.

I don't know much about Bigland, but a source in Canada says he's like their version of Don Draper and he is "the kind of guy we need making cars/trucks/anything with an engine."

Note, the person who told me that was also Canadian, and thus immediately suspect in any judgments.

If Micki were still editing TMS she'd point out that, also like Mad Men, the execs at Chrysler seem to be largely male.

3rd Gear: Honda Is Going To Pikes Peak

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

In addition to that insane Corvette-powered NSX, Honda's going to have ten vehicles competing in the race.

Or, well, they're going to have 10 Honda-powered vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, ATVs and this very attractive Acura NSX apparently.

4th Gear: It's Auto Engineer Comicon

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

Get excited, auto nerds, it's time again for the Society of Automotive Engineers International World Congress. That means the world's car geeks will descend on Detroit to discuss the technical breakthroughs that will power the next generation of cars that most auto journalists will fail to understand and improperly describe.

Apologies in advance!

According to Karl Henkel, the big discussions will be all about efficiency, including the "competition between steel and aluminum" and hybrids versus plug-ins and electric cars.

5th Gear: Guy You Don't Know To Take Over Company You Don't Think About

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

Understandably, if you had big exciting news you didn't run it today. It would be mostly lost in the discussion over the bombing.

Thus, I'm writing about Jurgen Stackmann taking over as Chairman of Volkswagen's SEAT brand. Here's some text from the press release:

James Muir, who studied German language and literature and also holds a degree in European marketing, began his career in Sales at Ford UK in 1987. Until mid-2001 he held various senior management posts at Ford, the last as head of Marketing Services. He then became Project Director at Mazda Europe, before moving to Mazda UK as Managing Director. In 2003 Muir was appointed Vice President Sales, thus taking charge of Sales at Mazda Europe, and named President and CEO of Mazda Europe in 2005. He became Chairman of SEAT S.A. in September 2009, where he has been instrumental in successfully restructuring the company.

I'm a big fan of SEAT, actually, as I generally like all the random VW offshoots. Also, the Leon is extremely attractive.

Good luck, Jurgen.

Reverse: Apollo 16 Blasts Off

Why Ford Is Obsessed With China

On this day in 1972, Commander John Young, Pilot Charles Duke, and Pilot Ken Mattingly took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the Moon. It would be the penultimate trip to the Moon and the second to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle. The pair spent a full 20 hours and 14 minutes running around the surface of the Moon. Mattingly, you'll remember, was supposed to be on the Apollo 13 mission but contracted measles. He still helped bring the wounded bird home and was played by Gary Sinise in Ron Howard's cinematic version of the event. [Wikipedia]

Neutral: What Else Should We Cover?

Since there isn't much auto news today, I'm curious what else you want to see Jalopnik cover? We've done more motorsports coverage and highlighting more motorcycle coverage. What else?

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