This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. 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?
Last month we did things a little differently by putting the gears inside the comments below to make it easier for you to comment on individual gears. I think there were some benefits to it, but let's try it out the other way.
I still encourage you to make your own gears in the comments that we can star to the top.
1st Gear: Lincoln Admits It Screwed Up The MKZ Launch
When Lincoln showed the new MKZ we were far from impressed and even hinted that it could be Lincoln's undoing. We even took issue with their terrible marketing strategy. Alas, their problems weren't of the kind we were predicting.
After all the hype about building a brand about customer service and doing everything they could to get people into cars – going so far as to offer people a free dinner and hotel – when a customer eventually decided they did want a car the dealer had to tell them there were no cars to sell.
Automotive News chronicles the problem and points out that "the new cloak of luxury that Lincoln had promised to create — treating customers in a way befitting a true luxury brand — was frayed at all the edges."
The good news is the cars are finally rolling into dealerships. The bad news is Jimmy Fallon is probably going to cost a lot more the second time around.
2nd Gear: The New Buicks Are In
Hey, look. It's the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. It has engines. It's been slightly refreshed. It's still massive. Your aunt will love it.
3rd Gear: BYD Sees Profits Sink
BYD, our favorite Chinese Automaker, was a little too busy rigging their own Facebook contest and building full-sized R/C cars to focus on making money.
BYD says their 2013 profit was just $13 million this year, well down from a year before according to the AP. The company expects profits to grow next year as new models roll out.
You better. No one makes a fool out of Warren Buffett, who owns about 10% of the company.
4th Gear: Is The Kia Cub A Juke Or A Mini?
The polarizing Nissan Juke (which we actually like) has found a home with some consumers. It's no surprise then that Kia is attempting to make their own version.
When we saw the Kia Provo (pictured here) at Geneva we hoped the final version would look as attractive. This 'teaser' shot from Kia of the new Kia Cub (at the top of the post) shows a design fairly similar to the concept we saw, although just 4 meters long.
Does that make it more like a Mini Countryman, a Mini, or a Juke? Is there a difference anymore?
5th Gear: Chinese Dealers Misled Chinese-Owned Volvo
If Chinese dealers lie to automakers like Honda or VW or sales, it's just typical over-inflated hype. When Chinese Volvo dealers lie about how much product they've moved, does it count as self-deception now that Volvo is a Chinese-owned company?
According to The Wall Street Journal, Volvo says some of its dealers inflated their sales figures so they could take in more money from cash incentives. This led Volvo to claim it gained ground in China, when in reality it lost it.
Volvo is trying to just write this off as more of an error than outright deception:
"Our incentive program at the time created a transparency problem that meant that reported sales to end-customers didn't reflect the actual retail sales," Mr. Fröberg said in a telephone interview. "But this is not about cheating, the dealers acted within the rules of the incentive program at the time and that created ambiguity."
6th Gear: Ok, Sometimes Awesome Does Happen In Florida
For all the crap we give Florida, it would be wrong not to note the historic run from Florida Gulf Coast University.
If you've watched their games, you know what we're talking about. If you haven't watched their games, there's a lot of this going on.
Reverse: A Danica Is Born
It turns out that Danica Patrick is almost exactly a year older than I am, having been born on this day in 1982. She is the first woman to lead a lap of the Indy 500, the first to win an IndyCar race, and an IndyCar Rookie of the Year. She's currently racing in NASCAR. You can follow along with all of our Patrick coverage here.
There's been a lot of criticism of Danica over her marketing of her sexuality, her attitude, and her driving. That was to be expected. Being the first female driver to break through in North American racing was always going to mean dealing with critics and, whatever your opinions are of her, it's hard to ignore that she's managed to do it with a public smile and a private desire to achieve something bigger. [History]
Neutral: Tiny Crossovers
Here's a place for you to own the floor. We're asking each day what you think about an issue that comes up in TMS.
Today, tell us what you think of that crossover space where the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke exist. Are they crossovers? Hatches? We need a name for it and we're open to suggestions. Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.