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?
1st Gear: California Loves Electric Cars
Where do they sell the most electric cars? More than a third get registered in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with Seattle, Atlanta, and New York following behind says new data released by Polk and written up by The Detroit News.
The article quotes people who say that Californians are green, forward-thinking people who like new technology. Of course, that's all true, but there's a bigger reason why California is the biggest (and only) market for EVs: The government mandates it.
He said GM targeted those states for four reasons: charging infrastructure, a reputation for being early adopters, financial and carpool incentives and because a certain number of zero-emission vehicles are mandated.
California’s zero-emission vehicle requirement says that 15.4 percent of automakers’ vehicles sold in the state be powered by electric, hybrid or fuel cells by 2025 or they will face penalties. Oregon follows California’s mandate.
So that's kind of an issue, although I don't doubt CA would still be a leader in buying EVs without the mandate, I just sort of think there would be fewer EVs to buy.
2nd Gear: Hell, They're Running Out Of Regular Old Gas Cars
The cycle of overproduction that preceded the Carpocalypse is still on the mind of automakers everywhere (especially ones who sell cars in Europe), so you can't blame them for toeing into this expanding market.
Unfortunately, this means you can't just walk into any dealership and get exactly the car you want as The Wall Street Journal reports.
The cars people seem to want are:
Impalas, Odysseys, Subaru Foresters, Jeep Grand Cherokees, Nissan Sentras, and Ford Fusions. There's also a Corolla supply problem, but this seems to be a result of Toyota winding down production of the old model in advance of the new one.
3rd Gear: Europe Getting A Polar Jeep
Everyone loves a special edition Jeep, and the Brits are no exception, which is why they're launching a special "Polar" edition Jeep Wrangler in celebration of winter driving.
While not exactly outfitted for real polar conditions, the vehicle does take a dip into the Mopar catalog for a Trac-Lok limited-slip rear diff, body-color hard top, a new grille, tough accents, and Hydro-Blue paint.
It also gets a Polar badge with the coordinates for Vostok in Antarctica, home to the severest weather on the planet.
Because this is Europe, it also gets the 2.8-liter CRD diesel that we so badly want with the option of the 3.6-liter gas V6.
More in the press release here.
4th Gear: Ford Recalls 370,000 Cars Over Possible Steering Control
Right on the heels of us announcing Spec Panther Ford announces they're recalling 370,000 of the 2005-2011 Ford Crown Vics, Mercury GMs and Lincoln Town Cars.
Why? Per the AP:
Ford is recalling 370,000 cars due to potential corrosion to their steering shaft that may result in loss of steering.
So, if you're in a state that gets snow, watch out for the potential of fiery death if you were to lose control of your steering while in a fireworks drive-thru.
5th Gear: Is VW's Tennessee Plant Going Union?
Apparently, high-level negotiations have started between Volkswagen AG reps and the United Auto Workers over a way the union might represent the workers there.
This would be a big step forward for the UAW, which has been causing a stir in the southern states as it tries to move European and Asian brands towards accepting union "assistance."
VW takes pride in its works council model, in which blue-collar and white-collar workers all vote for plant-level representatives who decide working conditions in tandem with executives.
Those councils also elect the members of a global works council that has a say in major business decisions — like whether to build a new assembly plant, which products to launch, and where to build them.
Top executives say that in order to start a works council in Chattanooga — which is the only VW assembly plant worldwide without one — an outside union like the UAW is needed to satisfy U.S. labor law.
Reverse: And They Happily Made Cars There Ever Since…
On September 3, 1900, the first car ever made in Flint, Michigan makes its debut in the town's Labor Day parade. Designed and built by a county judge and weekend tinkerer named Charles H. Wisner, the car was one of the only cars built in Flint that did not end up being produced by General Motors. In the end, only three of the Wisner machines were ever built.
Neutral: Have You Had A Hard Time Buying A New Car? Seen any supply shortages first hand? Have any friends have trouble? Maybe at the dealership you work for?
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