This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 AM. 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: Honda Doubles Profit
Yes, Honda's lineup is better than it was a year ago and they're in expanding markets. And no, there were no indeed major natural disasters in 2013 that impacted production. But if we're going to be honest here, they're getting a nice boost from a yen that's about 80-to-the-dollar right now.
As the AP points out, you can credit about $4.2 billion of the company's quarterly revenue just to the favorable currency situation. That's a lot of gravy.
Overall, the company's profits for the third quarter (the Japanese are one quarter off from the U.S.) reached $1.6 billion, double last year's third quarter profits.
Overall guidance for Tokyo is still at a profit of $5.7 billion which, if there's someone cool at Honda, will turn into something we want to drive.
2nd Gear: Ford, GM Sign Obama's Job Pledge
Long-term unemployment is a serious problem for the U.S., with more people dropping out of the job market or relying on government aid than I think anyone would like.
As such, the Obama Administration has put forward what seems like a fairly toothless initiative that encourages best-practices that don't discriminate against people who have been out of work for a long time.
I'm not sure a "pledge" is actually going to accomplish much, but since nothing is getting through Congress I guess it's better than nothing. Both Ford and GM signed it, with Ford telling the Freep:
"Ford supports the White House's initiative to promote the best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed," the company said in a statement. "We are committed to hiring the most qualified individuals for positions, regardless of unemployment status or duration of time unemployed."
3rd Gear: VW Offers Renschler Big Money
Andreas Renschler jumped ship at Mercedes after it became apparent that he wasn't going to be the CEO any time soon.
Now Volkswagen is putting out the red carpet, offering him a job (and a lot of money) to reorganize its various commercial truck units (Scania, Man, VW).
Renschler is attractive to VW, which is seeking cost savings through closer cooperation among the Scania, MAN and VW commercial-vehicles nameplates, because of his extensive experience in Daimler's truck unit, the world's biggest by revenue. "It would be positive for VW to hire a successful executive from the largest truck manufacturer," said Frank Schwope, a Hanover, Germany-based analyst at NordLB. "As an external candidate, he's also less involved in any internal sensitivities between Scania and MAN."
4th Gear: Mitsubishi Does The Shuffle
Despite its troubles in the United States, Mitsubishi has actually done reasonably well under President Osamu Masuko. Smartly, they seem like they'll be promoting Masuko up to board Chairman and some kind of CEO job while Tetsuro Aikawa takes over the newly created COO position.
As Hans Griemel explains, this will have the effect of turning day-to-day operations over to Aikawa and allow Masuko to find some sweet, sweet partnerships with other automakers.
What does this mean for us?
"He's a real car guy," Mitsubishi spokeswoman Namie Koketsu said.
Well, the always say that, but let's hope it's true.
5th Gear: Nissan/Renault Still Trying To Save Money
It seems like Nissan-Renault have been partnered for basically ever, but the reality is that the now 15-year-old alliance hasn't exactly streamlined the entire company.
There's a WSJ story today with lots of talk of "synergies" and "expenses" and all of that.
Apparently, Carlos Ghosn has noticed that VW can produce roughly nine million cars for 6,000 brands without anyone caring and they're trying to do the same. Can one of those be a RWD platform that underpins sports cars and sport coupes?
Reverse: I liked that one song
On this day in January 2008 we learned that the Chinese were going to start paving their roads with unsold Robbie Williams CDs. [JALOPNIK]
Neutral: Who benefits most from the weak yen? Honda? Nissan? Subaru? Maybe Mazda?
Photo Credit: Getty Images