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: Ex-Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli May Be Delusional
Former Chrysler CEO Bob "The Builder" Nardelli says the Obama administration didn't need to give control of Chrysler to Fiat SpA in order to save it, and he now is claiming his private equity firm could have done a better job of righting the struggling automaker. The Detroit News reports that Nardelli, who stepped down as Chrysler CEO in 2009, says he "laments all the time" that private equity firm Cerberus, for which he still works, is no longer running the smallest of Detroit's three auto companies. Cerberus acquired an 80.1% stake in Chrysler in 2007 from Daimler but lost its ownership stake as part of Chrysler's bankruptcy restructuring and government bailout. "If the government gave us the deal they gave Fiat, we'd be doing just fine - really," Nardelli told The Detroit News "There was no reason for the government to give Chrysler away." Chrysler, he argues, would be faring "just as well, maybe better" under Cerberus as it is with Italy's Fiat, which holds a controlling stake. Yeah, this is the same Bob Nardelli who in November, 2008 said Chrysler would have to seek an alliance with an overseas automaker. I believe his exact words then were "we have no alternative."
2nd Gear: Chrysler September Auto Sales Up 27%
Speaking of Chrysler, the pentastar-badged brand saw September U.S. sales up 27% compared with sales in September 2010 (100,077 units). It was the best September sales Chrysler's seen since 2007 — five months after Bob Nardelli took over as Chairman and CEO. One year later, as you'll remember, Chrysler fell apart and Fiat and the U.S. government swooped in to save the automaker from the throes of bankruptcy.
3rd Gear: Fiat Swears Alfa Romeo Still Coming To U.S. By 2013
And speaking of Fiat — the Italian automaker confirmed to Bloomberg this morning that it's sticking by its target to bring the Alfa Romeo brand back to the U.S. by 2013, according to a statement from the head of the Alfa and Maserati brands. The company will make a new engine for Alfa beginning in 2013 at its Pratola Serra plant, according to the statement, which cited Harald Wester, the head of the two brands.
4th Gear: Possible Hand Grenade Reportedly Found At UAW HQ
WDIV is reporting that Detroit Fire Department responded to a call at the Ford UAW building early Monday morning. Investigators said there was a report of what looks like a hand grenade found on the 4th floor of the UAW building on Jefferson Avenue. A command post was quickly set up near Cobo Center. No idea whether it was a toy or real.
5th Gear: Show Mii The Seat
We've already seen the German and Czech versions of the Volkswagen Up. Now, here's the Spanish version — the new Seat Mii, the city car for VW's Mediterranean outpost. It launches Seat back into a segment it deserted when the Arosa walked off after a long meal of tapas. Seat will launch the Mii in the Spanish market in winter 2011. Also, in addition to the Sangria-flavored Mii, VW has also confirmed this weekend they'll be bringing out a five-door version of the Up.
6th Gear: Fiat Will Build A Sub-Patriot "Baby" Jeep
Now back to the Euro-American alliance. Fiat will build a "baby" Jeep in Italy to sell in Europe and possibly also the United States, two company sources told Automotive News Europe. The Jeep will be smaller than the brand's current entry SUVs, the Patriot and Compass. The model will be produced in Fiat's home plant of Mirafiori in Turin, alongside a similar vehicle for Fiat brand that will replace the Sedici and an Alfa Romeo subcompact car for sale in Europe and North America. Fiat had initially planned to build in Mirafiori the replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot and an Alfa SUV that would have shared systems and components with the Jeep model.
⏎ Hyundai co-CEO Yang resigns; sales chiefs to split his role. [Automotive News]
⏎ City Geometry, Seen From Above. [New York Times]
⏎ Paris launches electric car-sharing plan. [LA Times]
⏎ Automakers race to offer voice and Web devices. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Flat Rock could benefit from new Ford pact. [Detroit News]
⏎ Edwards romps in Nationwide. [Delaware Online]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1961, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union goes on strike at Ford plants across the country to win higher wages and better benefits for its members. It was the first company-wide strike since Ford had agreed to a collective-bargaining deal in 1941. Ford had been the last of the Big Three automakers to recognize the union, and it did so grudgingly; the UAW would organize his workers, Henry Ford famously declared, "over my dead body." [History]
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