1st Gear: The Detroit News actually ran a story today "explaining" the resignation of its auto critic Scott Burgess (see his side project — Hipster Travel Guide and look at his google ads because the dude's unemployed now) — a story we broke here at Jalopnik. Ignore for a moment their inability to credit us with breaking the story, as we're used to that sort of ridiculous behavior from the so-called purveyors of journalistic fair-play that make up the anti-web whiners that pass for the majority of editors these days at mainstream pubs (like this AP piece that goes every way but the right way toward crediting the original source). No, the real fecklessness is that there's no byline on the piece — nor was there any attempt by the paper to come back to Burgess, hat in hand, to apologize and to offer him his job back — with a sizable pay boost. Especially given the fact his review's been changed back to the original version with a big mea culpa box atop it. Oh, and by the way, "the thrust of a review" is absolutely changed when you water it down. Just sayin'...
2nd Gear: OK, we'll say it again — your Japanese cars are not radioactive. That isn't stopping Nissan from announcing that there are no traces of contamination in its products, according to spokesman Simon Sproule who told Bloomberg that by phone. But just to allay fears from ridiculously stupid Americans, Nissan has this week initiated the monitoring of vehicles made in Japan for any traces of radioactive material.
3rd Gear: General Motors will suspend production at its Shreveport, La., assembly plant starting Monday because of a parts shortage stemming from the earthquake in Japan. The move appears to make it the first North American assembly plant to be idled because of the Japanese disaster. Expect more to come as the earthquake proves just how global the auto industry has become.
4th Gear: Bloomberg reports Tesla Motors as saying its battery-powered sedan that goes on sale next year will be profitable even on the base model that will sell for $57,400. That price will be the entry point after the first 1,000 "Signature Series" of its all-electric Model S sedan built next year sell for at least $20,000 more than the base model, the company said March 7th. All grades of the car will make money, said J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer. He continued by saying that Tesla next plans to surgically attach wings to pigs.
5th Gear: GM is again shaking up its management ranks, with another round of appointments announced Thursday in vehicle development. In addition to changes in Europe, GM is shuffling some key leaders in product development as the automaker's new product chief, Mary Barra, begins to put her stamp on this crucial area of the business.
6th Gear: UK's Car magazine spotted Vauxhall's new hot hatch — the near-300 HP Astra VXR taking some laps at the Nurburgring. Although we still haven't heard precise figures on it, we're expecting almost 50 horses more under the hood than the equivalent Focus ST. To control the power you'll also get a six-speed manual gearbox, upgraded suspension and a big brake kit. It's not coming to the United States, of course, when it's officially unveiled in Spring of 2012. I don't care. Do want. Do want badly.
⏎ Mazda will resume partial production of vehicles starting March 22nd following suspension in wake of Japanese earthquake. [Mazda (PDF)]
⏎ Lincoln tops in J.D. Power study. Wait, what is the average age of J.D. Power study respondents — 78? [Detroit News]
⏎ Automobile drives a large-assed Acura 21 hours to Sebring. [Automobile]
⏎ Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn isn't gone yet. [Motor Trend]
⏎ Audi's readying development of a new "performance" crossover to rival the BMW X6. Call us when there's an S and RS version to rival the X6M. [AutoWeek]
⏎ Solar electric vehicle charging arrives in Brooklyn. Likely it rode in to town on a fixie and is wearing oversized plastic sunglasses and a plaid shirt over an ironic t-shirt. [New York Times]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1933, American automaker Studebaker, then heavily in debt, goes into receivership. The company's president, Albert Erskine, resigned and later that year committed suicide. Studebaker eventually rebounded from its financial troubles, only to close its doors for the final time in 1966. [History]
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