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 parcel it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: France Comes To The Rescue For Peugeot
Bloomberg says France plans to offer Peugeot a $9 billion rescue plan. It involves new bonds, which the government would back, in return for board seats for labor union and government representatives. In addition, a syndicate of banks are expected to offer financing to Peugeot, which would not have government guarantees. This would be the biggest government intervention in the French auto industry since 2009, when France provided more than $8 billion in loans to to Peugeot and Renault.
Of course, the deal isn't going to sit well with Peugeot's competitors. It's already ticking off people in the German state of Lower Saxony, which just happens to be home to Volkswagen. They may ask Chancellor Angela Merkel to request that the European Commission review the assistance plan. The EC can look into things if it's clear that assistance to one company would penalize others. Peugeot, part of the PSA Group, will remain family controlled, although General Motors is its second-biggest stakeholder.
2nd Gear: Papa's Got A Brand New (Chinese) Bag
The Detroit News reports that just when you were getting tired of "Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive" President Barack Obama has moved onto a new automotive mantra. In Monday night's debate, he debuted the line, "If we had taken your advice, Gov. Romney, about our auto industry, we'd be buying cars from China instead of selling cars to China." But, as automotive journalists everywhere know, there's no way to back up that statement.
The News pointed out that it's far from clear Americans would be buying Chinese made cars if the Detroit 3 had collapsed in 2009 since more than half of all cars sold today are from Japanese, German and Korean automakers. No Chinese automaker exports Chinese-made cars to the United States — though a Chinese company owns Swedish car company Volvo. And Chinese automakers have vowed for years to one day to sell their cars in the United States. Yet, none of the major Chinese names — Geely, BYD, BAIC — has ever set up a significant dealership network here. Whoever wrote that line for the President might want to retire it, or risk a flood of articles pointing out that the commander in chief is wrong.
3rd Gear: New VW Phaeton Is On The Way
Autocar reports that Volkswagen is going to build a second-generation Phaeton. It will share a platform with the Bentley Continental and Porsche Panamera and reach the market around 2015. The Phaeton has never been a big success for VW, but with beigekrieg in full speed, the company vows the flagship will go on. This Phaeton is likely to be the one that comes back to the United States. The vehicle left the American lineup in 2006, when it was deemed too big and expensive for the American market despite being incredible.
4th Gear: Acura NSX Headed For Detroit
Meanwhile, AutoExpress reports that another car making a comeback, the Acura NSX, will make its official debut in Detroit this January. Honda announced earlier this year that it planned to bring back the NSX and build it at a new plant in Ohio. Honda officials told AutoExpress at Sao Paulo that the styling of the production model will be identical to the auto show car, and it will be called a Honda in the UK as with the previous generation. Auto Express says it's likely to have a 3.6-liter V-6, with 400 horsepower.
Reverse: The Last Flight Of The Concorde
Can it really be nine years ago today that the Concorde made its last regularly scheduled flight? On this day in 2003, the final supersonic trip took place from New York to London. British Airways' Concorde flights outlasted those of Air France, which shut down its Concordes in May 2003. The Concorde needed only three and a half hours to travel across the Atlantic, for a price of about $9,000. There was a thrill for us plane geeks to see the Concorde sitting on the ground. And I'm really glad I bought some Concorde trinkets on EBay before the flights were discontinued. [History]
In keeping with our new discussion system, here's a place for you to own the floor. We're asking each day what you think about an issue that comes up in TMS.
Today, how do you feel when car companies bring brands back? Do your memories linger, or are you willing to give the new version a fresh shot? Are there some brands that ought to stay retired? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.
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