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: Ghosn Keeps It Real
The problems with the Russian ruble are actually a "bloodbath" for automakers. At least that's what Nissan CEO and comic superhero Carlos Ghosn is now saying. Hot on the heels of Audi, GM, and Jaguar-Land Rover suspending sales in the country until the ruble stabilizes, Nissan and Renault have announced that they will stop taking orders on specific models.
Nissan will honor orders that have already been placed, but will wait on taking more orders until everything settles down.
Ghosn said that it's a problem for everyone, that all automakers are seeing red ink all over the place. Nissan has raised prices from five to eight percent on certain models to account for the changes. He also wants to increase production in Russia.
2nd Gear: The Final Remnants Of Ally's Bailout Are Disappearing
Ally, previously the financial arm of General Motors, received $17.2 billion from the US government as part of the TARP program. To date, Ally has reimbursed the government to the tune of $18.3 billion, which is already great.
But now, the government has announced that their final 54.9 million shares will be sold off. Based on current prices of the stock, that's about $1.25 billion more to be paid back.
And with that, TARP and the US government will totally exit Ally. And it's a great sign that they're getting back nearly $2.5 billion more than they put in. Perhaps this was a sound investment.
3rd Gear: BYD Bounces Back
I know, this seems like deja vu to yesterday, but BYD, which dropped 47 percent and lost $1 billion in its market cap in one day, has rebounded by as much as 19 percent.
The company worked hard to reassure investors that all is normal and that Warren Buffett's stake has not changed. Berkshire Hathaway is still backing the company.
What actually caused the drop is still a mystery. It's not the ruble, BYD is barely in Russia. It's not a problem at the factories, all the business units are running strongly.
Odd, but it happens.
4th Gear: Whoa Cheap Gas
The average price for a gallon of regular in the US is now $2.47. That's the lowest price in five years. Impressive.
Now, that's not necessarily a good thing but cheap gas is helping to spur auto sales. The paradox that is lower oil prices might be able to help continue to spur car sales. And more car sales mean more money for automakers which means more performance cars and this is good.
5th Gear: Chrysler Recalls Trucks
Dodge is recalling 257,000 Rams built in 2004 or 2005 for possible axle failures. In these failures, the rear axle might seize and the driveshaft could detach, which would be bad and could mean a crash.
NHTSA received 15 reports of this happening to trucks, and now FCA is taking action.
On December 19, 1968, Warner Brothers releases the movie "Bullitt," starring Steve McQueen, in Sweden, some two months after its debut in U.S. theaters. Many critics consider "Bullitt" to be one of the greatest action movies ever made, not because of its script or special effects—the plot is impenetrable, the dialogue is fairly awful, and nothing explodes—but because of one sublime seven-minute car chase through the streets of San Francisco. In poll after poll, moviegoers have named that chase the best in film history.
What do you think of Ally repaying its TARP funds and more?