This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. 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: How About A Ferrari Hotel?
With the imminent arrival of a Ferrari IPO, analysts are looking at ways for the Italian supercar maker to provide even more value for investors going forward.
The leader of the carmaker, sweat enthusiast Sergio Marchionne, has said in the last month that "cars are almost incidental to Ferrari," meaning that the brand has such an allure that it wouldn't even need to make cars anymore to get investment.
But as analysts look closely at the brand before it has an IPO, they are seeing places that they can expand. One, of course, is an SUV, an idea so played out that nobody could ever possibly take it seriously. But then there are others that are also out there, but you could see happening.
The biggest idea is for a private Ferrari Club (yes, the company is already a bit like a club, but I digress) which would grow to include high end Ferrari hotels for owners and rich folks. There'd also be a possible expansion of the Ferrari World theme park to go around the world.
That would help transform Ferrari from an car company with a luxury reputation to a luxury company that provides cars. Like Cadillac. Except not really.
2nd Gear: Mercedes-Benz USA Weighs Move From New Jersey
We called it secretively about a month ago, but Mercedes is the German car company that is looking to move away from its HQ in New Jersey, which it has had for 40 years. Tax incentive deals are being looked at as part of the move.
Considerations include Georgia as well as North Carolina.
Mercedes is one of many automakers located in Northern NJ, with Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar-Land Rover, BMW, and Volvo, with Subaru also in the state, just further south. A move out of New Jersey would make some sense, as Mercedes's huge plant in Alabama is growing by leaps and bounds.
Mercedes has declined to comment.
3rd Gear: Owners Still Want GM To Pay
Customers believe GM left cars on the market with the ignition defect long after they had found out they were dangerous. That was something that new GM did, but old GM build those cars.
I know it's confusing, but as part of the bankruptcy agreement years ago, GM was told they weren't responsible for cars built by the old, bankrupt company. But the owners of those cars don't seem to agree, and they want compensation for it.
The class action suit calls for GM to pay for "covering up" what they knew was wrong with these cars. We'll see what happens.
4th Gear: Takata And The US Are Getting Ready To Fight
Speaking of recalls, the Takata airbag disaster keeps going and going and going. Takata has not expanded the recall to the breadth that makes the US government happy, and now they're getting ready for a legal battle.
Earlier this month, Takata declined a request to expand their recall. Takata says that a recall is up to the automakers and regulators can't force them to recall anything.
NHTSA is researching as much as they can so they can walk into a court room and have a "slam dunk." Good luck on that.
5th Gear: NHTSA's New Man
The Senate has approved Mark Rosekind as the new head of NHTSA. Rosekind, a member of the NTSB, is an expert in fatigue and takes over the rudderless agency after nearly a year without an administrator.
Rosekind comes in on the heels of the GM recalls as well as the ongoing Takata situation. It's a tough time to come in, let's see how Rosekind does.
On December 17, 1979, Hollywood stuntman Stan Barrett blasts across a dry lakebed atCalifornia's Edwards Air Force Base in a rocket- and missile-powered car, becoming the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound on land. He did not set an official record, however. The radar scanner was acting up, and so Barrett's top speed—739.666 miles per hour by the most reliable measure—was only an estimate. Also, he only drove his rocket car across the lakebed once, not twice as official record guidelines require. And, none of the spectators heard a sonic boom as Barrett zoomed across the course.
Do cars matter to Ferrari anymore? Or is the brand so big that they don't even need cars?