GM To Senate: We Have The Worst Attorneys

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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: Take To The Sea!


The Senate subcommittee with oversight on carmakers fucking up will meet Thursday to feast on some chargrilled GM executives, including General Counsel Michael Millikin (pictured above), who will have to explain why GM's lawyers were so terrible.

It looks like someone at GM (maybe) or someone on the Subcommittee staff (probably) primed the pump a bit by releasing some details of what he was going to say to reporters (statements are given to the subcommittee ahead of time).

"We had lawyers at GM who didn't do their jobs, didn't do what was expected of them," Mr. Millikin said in the statement confirmed late Tuesday by people with knowledge of the remarks. "Those lawyers are no longer with the company."


It's all good here, folks. Nothing to see. Just a couple of bad apples and we tossed them in the trash along with plans for the redesigned Pontiac Aztec.

2nd Gear: Chrysler Needs To Explain What's Up Today


NHTSA wanted to know what the hell Jeep was doing about its non-fix for Jeep Grand Cherokees that had a bad habit of exploding when rear-ended and gave Chrysler until today to explain why it hasn't done anything to fix the problem.


It's worth noting that their fix — to install a trailer hitch — smells remarkably like bullshit.

According to NHTSA, Chrysler chose a supplier in December and did not begin making the trailer hitches until May, nearly 12 months after the automaker agreed to the safety campaign.

Chrysler said it has hired more than one supplier and would begin telling owners to bring their SUVs to dealerships in August to have trailer hitches installed.

Chrysler earlier this month said crash test data with trailer hitches, "reflects Chrysler Group's longstanding position —supported in the public record by real-world data — that the vehicles are not defective. They are among the safest in their peer groups and met or exceeded the standards in effect at the time they were first sold."



3rd Gear: BMW Recalling 1.6 Million Cars Over Airbags/strong>


It's lucky for Takata that they're a company basically no one outside of the automotive industry knows, otherwise we'd maybe pay attention to the fact that they've forced automakers to recall millions upon millions of vehicles.


Add 1.6 million BMWs to that list. At this point, I'm not even sure how many have been recalled thus far.

4th Gear: The Tesla Patents Are Great PR, But...


An interesting report from Michael Martinez today about the Big 2.5 automakers basically disinterested about the freely released Tesla patents.

"Our sense is that companies like GM have been working on electric vehicles and have marketed them long before there was even a hint of Tesla being out there, and the same can be said for Ford and Chrysler," said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for "These are giant companies that have giant research and development operations. I think they like what they do and generally think the technology they develop is top tech."


What's the one area where Tesla and other automakers can work together? Charging. Tesla has its own standards and is building its own network and it wouldn't hurt to give other EVs a chance to use the supercharger network.

5th Gear: China Cutting Back On Free Cars


Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn't love the idea that everyone with even the most low-level Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Paint Quality Inspection a brand new Audi so he's going to stop giving them cars, at least according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

Communist Party cadres and government officials ranked below vice minister will be given monthly allowances of 500 yuan ($80) to 1,300 yuan in lieu of government vehicles, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Party and State Council. The reforms will be completed in two to three years, it said.


The first 5,000 (5,000!) cars will be put on sale soon.

Reverse: The Beginning Of The End

The world's first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on this day in 1935.


Neutral: Charging Standards?

Should everyone adopt Tesla's? Should Tesla adopt everyone else's? Should people just do whatever they want?


Photo Credit: Getty Images