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: Ford Beats GM
For the first time since the 1930s, Ford has more factory workers than crosstown rival and larger company General Motors.
Ford cut much of its workforce during the recession, but has now rehired all of those positions that were eliminated and more. In the last four years, Automotive News reports Ford has added an average of 10 new union jobs each day as it ramps up production. Most amazingly, they closed seven plants during and after the recession. But they built 125,000 more cars in the USA last year than they did in 2007.
So what are the totals? Ford now has 50,703 hourly workers in the United States. GM has 50,300. It's not a blowout, and as hiring continues these numbers could fluctuate, but it's a big day when Ford beats GM, even in something as mundane as factory workers.
2nd Gear: Honda Isn't Just Going To Help Takata
The drama surrounding the Takata airbag recall is still ongoing, And now, with Takata facing what could be crippling expenses in order to replace all of the airbag inflators and stay in business, Honda has been asked if they'd be in to helping Takata financially.
Takanobu Ito, Honda's CEO, isn't just going to send Takata money to help speed up the replacements. He has said that if Takata makes a request to the automakers, then Honda would consider it. Five people have died in Honda's because of shrapnel that can be ejected from an airbag inflator.
3rd Gear: Cheaper Used Cars?
He LeMons racers and budget commuters: GREAT NEWS. After a 2014 that was full of expensive used cars (prices rose one percent), 2015 is expected to be better for the used ride bargain hunters.
With more availability and lower interest rates out there, prices are expected to drop two percent or more this year. That's thanks to increased inventory of cars that are coming off lease in the next 12 months. But if you can wait a bit longer to buy that car, 2017 is expected to have a record number of cars coming off lease and invading the market.
So many cars. But that doesn't help me buy a Lotus Esprit, does it?
4th Gear: Get Ready For Hyundai Trucks
Hyundai is planning on spending $1.8 billion by 2020 to massively expand its reach in the commercial vehicle market. And that includes bringing new trucks to the USA.
The plan hasn't earmarked a time when these new "premium models" will appear in the USA, but they are apparently on the way. And if they are making the investment until 2020, we'd anticipate them in the next five years. But the idea that they can just jump in and compete would be silly. It'll take time to establish Hyundai as a real player in commercial vehicles here in the USA.
Get to work.
5th Gear: Hey, Cool, A GM Recall
GM is recalling 81,123 cars due to a possible issue with their power steering. This is an expansion of a recall issued last year that had 1.3 million cars recalled. This addendum focuses on the 2006 and 2007 Malibu, Malibu Maxx, and Pontiac G6.
One accident has occurred because of this fault, but there have been no deaths or injuries.
On February 16, 1997, 25-year-old Jeff Gordon claims his first Daytona 500 victory, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the 200-lap, 500-mile National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) event, dubbed the "Super Bowl of stock car racing." Driving his No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Hendrick Motorsports racing team, Gordon recorded an average speed of 148.295 mph and took home prize money of more than $377,000. According to NASCAR.com, Gordon was "a veritable babe in a field that included 27 drivers older than 35, 16 at least 40." Gordon's Hendrick teammates Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven finished the race second and third, respectively.
What does Ford beating GM in factory workers really mean?