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: You Cannot Call GM Government Motors Anymore, Jokesters
Back in late 2013, the US government sold off all of the remaining shares it had in GM following the 2009 bailout. But people still called it Government Motors because they’re idiots... and because the Canadian government still had a fairly sizable stake in the automaker.
News comes today that Canada has sold it’s $2.7 billion position in GM to Goldman Sachs as the conservative government of our neighbors to the north has promised to try and balance the budget. So the sale is mostly politics? Yes. Of course it is. But that does mean that GM is no longer owned in any part by any government.
That has to feel good.
2nd Gear: Oh, The GM Ignition Toll Has Risen To 80 Deaths
The fund that has been paying out restitution to those impacted by the simply heinous GM ignition switch recall has has approved three more death claims and seven more injury claims.
That brings the total number of deaths the fund’s lawyers found were caused by a GM car to 80 and the number of injuries to 148. As The Detroit News reports, just five of the 126 offers to claimants have been officially rejected, with 93 accepted and 73 paid so far.
When the payments are accepted by the family, they give up their ability to sue the automaker for further damages, to just five rejections is kind of amazing.
3rd Gear: VW Wants To Expand... A Lot
VW’s Chattanooga, TN plant has plans to expand in order to produce a new VW Crossover SUV, but those plans have suddenly gone over the top. VW’s planned mild expansion of the plant has now become a 130,153 square foot expansion, which makes the total expansion 25 percent of the current facility and adds another $18 million to the planned $900 million job.
What’s $18 million between friends?
The idea is that they want to make additional body shop bays to accommodate the SUV while they also prepare for a retooling of the Passat line. There is also a chance that another, smaller SUV could be built at the plant.
4th Gear: BYD Wants To Do More Energy Station Sales
Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD wants to double its sales of energy-storage stations this year. It’s a field that might not be heavily packed right now, but should be in the future.
There is speculation that BYD will be competing with Tesla/Solar City, which has hinted that they’ll be coming up with a home solution for energy issues in the very near future. Solar CIty has already worked with Wal Mart on some stations, so that time might be coming sooner than later.
Of course, when BYD made this announcement, their shares dropped. When Tesla made a vague announcement, their shares skyrocketed. Weird.
5th Gear: Well Done, Lotus
I’m not going to lie, Lotus is probably my favorite automaker. And even though they are consistently on the brink of disaster (and it seems like they have been since 1949), they’re still around. You have to appreciate that.
Well, apparently Lotus had sales rise 55 percent for the fiscal year 2014/2015 compared to a year early. They didn’t sell 100,000 cars, but they did sell 2,015 compared to 1,296 a year earlier.
That’s progress! Now they just need to bring the Exige to America. I’m sure that’ll be the best selling car here in no time.
RIP Jimmy Clark, who died this day in 1968 during a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim. He was just 32.
If it were found that someone you knew was killed or injured by a GM car, would you accept restitution from the GM recall fund or would you go after the company?
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