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: Takanobu Ito A Detroit No-Show
Much of our hope for Honda is wrapped up in the fact that it's president is also the guy who put his engineering skill behind the original Acura NSX, so it's kind of a bummer that he's not coming to Detroit for the auto show.
“Honda has bigger things to worry about than an auto show,” Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc., said by phone. “Dealing with these recalls is more of a priority than a limited-production supercar.”
Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said in an e-mail that Ito’s schedule is “quite busy and complex” and “did not allow him to attend” the show this year. North America is Honda’s largest auto market, at more than 40 percent of sales.
It would have been bad timing with that awful record fine and shiz so rather than face a bunch of questions about it he'll be hanging back. Of course, ignoring your problems is how we got into this mess so maybe it's not the best example to set for the rest of the company.
2nd Gear: Is Detroit Ready For Success?
A preliminary verdict on Detroit's ability to manage prosperity — or blow it in a flurry of bad deals and big spending — could come as early as this year. The three automakers are expected to negotiate another year of sales expansion and bellwether negotiations with a UAW under new, and untested, leadership.
Still, I'd rather be in charge of a Detroit automaker now than six years ago.
3rd Gear: Barra Thinks We'll Outperform 2014
The prospect of having a stronger 2015 is widening the eyes of both analysts and carmakers alike, as it's a nice change to report about a booming industry instead of a faltering one.
GM CEO Mary Barra has said that the company expects the U.S. market to be somewhere between 16.5 million and 17 million cars, but also said that they have to do better. Specifically, in a roundtable with reporters, she said that "Getting by is not my idea of winning."
According to the Freep, she also pointed out that Cadillac is going to have to do better as a brand.
4th Gear: Volkswagen Was An Overall Market Loser In December
The Volkswagen brand fell 2.4% in December globally as, well, they sucked in the United States. The company was still up for the year 3.2% to 6.12 million cars thanks to China and an improving Europe but.... nope. America still sucks.
As Reuters reports, there's no reason to expect much better next year:
"We expect the challenging market conditions to continue in 2015," sales chief Christian Klingler said.
No worries, the VW Explorer is on the way.
5th Gear: Taxi Medallion Prices Keep Falling
The price of a New York Taxi medallion – a requirement to operate a taxi in the city – continued to fall as competition from other human delivery systems heated up.
While prices have fallen in New York, medallions are barely selling at all in Chicago and Boston. Typically, medallion buyers rely on financing to afford the purchase price; in an echo of the housing crisis, tighter credit has led to a sharp slowdown in medallion sales that conceals the fall in values.
The last medallion sales in Chicago occurred in November at an average price of $298,000. That’s 17 percent below the peak price achieved in that city, but most likely does not reflect the full decline in values. Only 11 medallions have changed hands in Chicago since July 1, compared with 225 in the last six months of 2013.
Reverse: Maybe The Only Reason The Brand Survived
On this day in 1965, the James Bond movie "Goldfinger," which features the suave British super-spy driving an Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5 sports car, opens in theaters across the U.S. Aston Martins would go on to appear in a number of other Bond films.
Neutral: How Bad Off Is Honda? Will this recall and fine spiral into a GM-like push for blame and attention or have we hit recall fatigue?
Photo Credit: Getty Images