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: Money, Money, Money, Money... MONEY Watching Elon Musk lately, it's almost like he's funding half of his enterprises on the backs of states willing to fork over immense amounts of cash on the promise of getting his golden touch.
Nevada basically bent over backwards to get the gigafactory and now Musk is approaching Texas to see if they'd be willing to share some of the incentive packages he'd already put together for a taste of his hyperloop.
That "Most likely in Texas" isn't a promise so much as it's a threat. Texas is perfect for it... so long as they play fair with Tesla.
I'm not sure this particular play to build the hyperloop is as much about funding, though, as it is about getting state legislators to back the fuck off.
A Tesla spokesman said Musk's comments about the factory and the hyperloop test track were part of a "wide-ranging discussion in Austin, Texas about Texas matters," and not an attempt to link those potential investments to a resolution of the dealership matter. Musk did plan to speak with lawmakers about the franchise issue, the spokesman said.
Yeah, right. The issue in Texas is actually less of a partisan one than you'd think, with some Republicans supporting it.
2nd Gear: U.S. Looking Into Jeep Fires
Jeep is on fire this year. Rather, Jeeps are on fire this year. Again.
This time it's not the Wrangler of the Grand Cherokee, but the highly popular Jeep Cherokee CUV that's been blowing up. Literally.
From David Shepardson, who still may be walking the halls of Cobo simultaneously typing on a laptop, carrying on a phone call, and somehow not falling down the stairs:
The auto safety agency said it received a report of a severe engine compartment fire incident resulting in the total loss a new Jeep Cherokee. The report said the "vehicle was engulfed in flames approximately 20 feet high within seconds of parking the vehicle. The complaint alleged white smoke coming from under the hood immediately after parking the vehicle and while the ignition is off."
NHTSA said it has also "identified field report data submitted as part of Early Warning Reporting that relate to the alleged defect."
The preliminary investigation is the latest example of NHTSA's much more aggressive posture — with the government opening a formal investigation the same day it formally received the complaint.
No more Mr. Nice NHTSA.
3rd Gear: Japanese Regulators Might Start Regulating
Japan has historically had a cozy relationship with commerce, essentially doing what seems best for businesses. On the other hand, consumers and citizens in Japan also have a strong activist streak and have been able to shame the government into change.
As Reuters reports, the Japanese government currently can't directly investigate suppliers but instead have to wait for automakers to start the investigation. This is dumb, especially in light of Takata.
The proposed rule change would make it mandatory for suppliers to let regulators know what the hell is going on with their products.
4th Gear: GM's Recall Ups And Downs
Good news for GM: They dont have to turn over interviews that Anton Valukas conducted in his internal probe of GM, just a list of people interviewed.
Bad news for GM: Some investors are suing GM stating that Mary Barra and the company knew more than they disclosed about problems.
Not going away for a while.
5th Gear: Why Does A Self-Driving Car Need Normal Seats?
Pretty decent angle from the NYT this week on self-driving cars and the kind of interiors they'll need. Specifically, why do they need to look anything like current cars?
Michael Robinson, a self-driving car stylist and chief executive of ED Design in Italy, acknowledged that some people taking train trips worried about motion sickness when facing backward, “but others comfortably sit facing rearwards, allowing them to carry on a conversation.”
Frank Rinderknecht, chief executive of the Rinspeed design firm in Switzerland, said that most people should be fine facing backward in a car, but he said that lying flat — as in some premium airplane seats — “would not only make you sick, but would be unsafe.” The Rinspeed XchangE concept imagines swiveling lounge seats that will let occupants put their legs up.
Would you be ok facing the other way?
Reverse: A Sad Bill Cosby Thing We Forgot
On this day in 1997, comedian and TV star Bill Cosby's 27-year-old son Ennis Cosby is murdered after he stops to fix a flat tire along California's Interstate 405 in Los Angeles. The 405, which runs some 70 miles from Irvine to San Fernando, is known as one of the planet's busiest and most congested roadways. Construction began on Interstate 405 in the late 1950s, with the first section opening in the early 1960s.
Neutral: Would You Want The Hyperloop? Or not.
Photo Credit: Getty Images