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: Safety Is.. Uh.. At Least Job #4
Last week's internal GM report indicated a company that is, at any given moment, about three times as dysfunctional as Jalopnik. If you don't want to read all 300+ pages you could just read Patrick's take below:
And then you should read this take from our friends at the Associated Press:
As of early last year, the director of vehicle safety was four rungs down the ladder from the CEO, according to a copy of the chart obtained by The Associated Press. Finance, sales and public relations had a direct path to the top.
Ford and Chrysler, GM's main Detroit competitors, have safety directors higher on their charts than GM does.
Management experts interviewed by the AP say safety ranks higher at other companies as well, especially food, drug and chemical makers. At some, the safety chief has direct access to the CEO.
That makes sense in retrospect, but none at all.
2nd Gear: GM Board Isn't Having It
GM is a company with deep systemic problems sometimes alleviated by good leadership but often not. This is clearly one of the systemic issues that is badly in need of resolution.
While CEO Mary Barra can make all the moves she wants, the GM Board of Directors can ultimately light a bigger fire under the automaker. The question is: Will They?
The Detroit News has GM's minty fresh new Chairman Tim Solso getting all up in it.
While GM's board is well-informed on the recall issues and has been "extraordinarily" involved, members aren't satisfied, Solso said in an interview last week with The Detroit News.
He said they want problems corrected as soon as possible. They want the company to be more transparent. They want GM to be fair to customers and families affected by accidents in recalled vehicles. And they want to see change.
"The board has complete confidence in (CEO) Mary (Barra) and her leadership team. And the leadership team has the board's support," said Solso, who will run GM's annual stockholder meeting Tuesday — five days after the release of a scathing internal report that largely blamed GM's corporate culture for taking 11 years to finally recall the cars.
"It's just that everyone is disappointed and frustrated with these recalls and we want to make changes as fast as we can."
There's a stockholder meeting on Tuesday, let's see what happens.
3rd Gear: BYD Doing It In China
More good news for BYD — the hybrid/electric Chinese automaker who actually made most of their money with Accord and Corolla knock-offs.
Rules from the government trying to stop their cities from becoming polluted hell holes are going to finally benefit BYD as it allows people to accept subsidies for cars built outside their own province.
BYD in March said it hoped to sell 20,000 electric vehicles in 2014, a big increase from some 2,000 sold last year. Mr. Li said sales in Beijing and Shanghai, one of the first cities to loosen regulations, have already helped push sales of BYD plug-in hybrid passenger cars to 3,294 in the first four months of this year, with 8,000 more on order. Plug-in hybrids are cars that can run on either gasoline or battery-power.
BYD's change of tone reflects a broader policy shift in China, as the country's leaders make a renewed push to stimulate demand for green cars in a bid to combat pollution and curb rising oil dependence. The nation has set for itself the ambitious goal of putting 500,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on the road by next year, and five million by 2020.
Still, it ain't going to be easy, but let's see where this is going.
4th Gear: Ford's Not Doing Bad Either
Ford is quickly trying to play catch-up in China, where GM and Volkswagen are slugging it out to see how many bazillian cars they can each sell.
Good news! Ford is moving generally in the right direction, having sold nearly half a million vehicles already, or up 39% according to the company.
Their deal with Changan saw a 32% increase in May to 67,454 vehicles, largely Foci and a growing number of Mondeos. Through their partnership with Jiangling, commercial vehicles also so a large increase.
Anyways, this gave me a reason to run this awesome pic of an ST in China
5th Gear: R.I.P. John Bishop
As we see a resurgence of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) we mourn the loss last week of John Bishop, who co-founded the organization with the France family in 1969. He was 87.
Here's a little bit of history, courtesy of IMSA:
Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with his wife Peggy and Bill France Sr., after a surprise telephone "cold call" from France – also NASCAR's founder – that resulted in a quick trip from Connecticut to Daytona Beach to discuss assembling a new sports car sanctioning organization in North America.
"Bill said he thought there was a need for a new organization, and that he thought I might be the person to run it," Bishop said recently. "So, very quickly, I got down to Daytona. Bill and I met, we talked a lot, drank a lot of Scotch, talked a lot more and planned it out. Peggy and I didn't know what we were getting ourselves into."
That wasn't exactly true. Bishop already had a solid resume as an experienced sports car official with the Sports Car Club of America. In '69, he decided he wanted to leave that organization.
"I offered my resignation and the SCCA surprised me – they accepted it," Bishop said.
Bishop will be inducted into the Motosports Hall of Fame of America later this year.
Reverse: I've Now Watched It At Least 12 Times With My Nephew
On this day in 2006, the animated feature film "Cars," produced by Pixar Animation Studios, roars into theaters across the United States.
For "Cars," which won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Pixar's animators created an alternate America inhabited by vehicles instead of humans. The film's hero is Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson), a Corvette-like race car enjoying a sensational debut on the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) circuit.
Neutral: Will This Ultimately Be Good For GM?
I mean, it's not like their sales are hurting yet.
Photo Credit: AP Images