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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: Japan Is Basically The GM Of Countries

Sketchy safety issues, frequently stunted growth, massive cultural issues, and a leader who came in with a lot of good will who needs to prove they can get shit done. Congratulations Japan, you're General Motors.

We talk about the yen and about Abenomics a lot, because Japan is still home to many of the world's largest car companies despite slipping in terms of growth. What's up?

It always gets back to "culture" and the Japanese cultural modes that helped them grow so much in the '80s and '90s are basically the same ones that are dooming them now: Conservatism, protectionism, a desire for stability. Now they're smaller than China, economically, and it doesn't look like that's going to reverse itself anytime soon.


The Wall Street Journal has a lot on this above, and in the interactive slideshow below:

But with GDP expected to be at 1.0% next year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is doing his best to do anything, despite the many politicians and stakeholders trying to slow him down. Abenomics 2.0 is explained above, and the idea is to get foreign investment in, and keep domestic investment from going to foreign lands.


In that curious Japanese way, it's both a little like Reaganomics and traditional government interventionist:

We'll see how markets react and how, more importantly for us, this impacts the Trans Pacific Partnership. Right now, markets inched up a bit.


2nd Gear: Speaking Of The TPP

According to a Bloomberg report, the People's Bank of China said that joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership would add two points a year to their economic growth. ZOMG. Add two percentage points a year is like adding 200 horsepower to your car — it's legitimately a lot.


Oh yeah, so why hasn't it happened yet? The U.S. and Japan are still working out the kinks which, in many ways, go back to the same labor issues on the U.S. side and protectionism on the Japanese side, plus all sorts of other agricultural concerns and barriers to entry for foreign companies and yada yada yada.

Here's the thing: a TPP would definitely hurt a few players in each market, but the overall gain for the global economy and the companies involved as the wide-reaching plan would cause everyone to compete on a more even-footing.


This is important for the auto sector as everyone things every other company is getting to much support from every other government, which is why the PBOC seems to think it would hurt their auto industry. Maybe, but the offset would be gains in the high tech space.

A lot of good can come from the TPP if executed properly. Here's hoping that happens.

3rd Gear: Alan Mulally Will Advise Fields


I'm not saying Matt Miller is in love with Alan Mulally, I'm just saying that I wouldn't be surprised if Matt Miller slept cuddled up to a large pillow wrapped in a red sweater vest. All I'm saying.

Anyways, Señor Miller met with Señor Mulally who told him he wasn't going to jump ship and leave incoming CEO Mark Fields in the lurch.

"I'm going to stay close to Ford going forward," Mulally said in an interview with Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television. "Mark would like to call me and I said, 'Absolutely, any time.'"


You can see the start of the Miller-on-Mulally loveliest:

4th Gear: GM Names Cathy Clegg VP Of NA Manufacturing


Mary Barra has promoted Cathy Clegg to the job of VP of North American manufacturing as they try to, you know, not screw their shit up.

Is she an outsider brought in to change the culture of the company?

A 31-year GM veteran, she is currently vice president of global manufacturing engineering. As head of labor relations in 2011, she led GM's negotiations with the UAW. Her experience will prove helpful as the automaker prepares to negotiate a new union contract next year.


Oh well, good luck. That Union thing is important.

5th Gear: Airbag Drama Comes To BMW


As we expected, more companies are going to get caught up in the giant Takata airbag failure, including vehicles sold in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Not surprisingly, these are all places with high humidity.

Reverse: Nader Wins

On this day in 1966, the United States Senate votes 76-0 for the passage of what will become the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson the following September, the act created the nation's first mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles.


Neutral: Will Abenomics Work/TPP A Good Idea?

Ok smart readers: Can Japan up its growth rate? Will the TPP help or hurt? Who benefits most from the TPP?


Photo Credit: AP Images