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: Thank You Leases
Michael Martinez over at The Detroit News provides a nice explanation for why used cars, which were so expensive for so long, are now suddenly trending down in price.
Millions of previously owned cars and trucks are flooding the market as leases expire and customers look to upgrade. Prices have fallen since the start of the summer, and inventories are climbing.
It's a delayed reaction to a recovering auto industry: When credit loosened two or three years ago, it became easier to lease a car. Now those leases are coming to an end, and car buyers are flocking to dealerships to turn in their now-used vehicles.
This should start to make up for the large amount of perfectly good used cars removed from the market by cash-for-clunkers and give more people better transportation options as the cars coming off of leases are better than the cars they have now (or the no cars they have now).
2nd Gear: Toledo Freaking Out Over Jeep Reports
The possibility of losing Jeep Wrangler production has people in Toledo, Ohio rightly freaking out a little as that kind of production has been central to their economy and their identity. Remember what happened when Romney even suggested Jeeps would be built elsewhere?
But, according to the Freep, the governor is on it!
Over the weekend, Toledo Mayor Michael Collins and Ohio Gov. John Kaisch jumped into action and held a conference call with Marchionne Sunday morning.
"There were no commitments made during this conference call," Collins said in a statement. "However, all parties agreed to open a direct dialogue on overcoming the issues associated with the assembly of the next generation of the Jeep Wrangler in Toledo."
Kaisch spokesman Rob Nichols said there will be a meeting "in short order," involving state, city and Chrysler officials. The city said the goal of that meeting will be "to better understand the specific challenges facing Chrysler and develop resolutions to overcome those obstacles."
Is Jeep actually planning to move or are the local politicos just getting squeezed?
3rd Gear: Fiat And Chrysler Officially A Thing Soon
If you were worried about the Chrysler-Fiat deal not working out you were really worrying about nothing as the deal is going through according to Reuters.
The deal officially closes on October 12th as there was no opposition from creditors and shareholders who chose to cash out weren't so numerous that they ran out of money.
Trading on the NYSE starts the next day.
4th Gear: AAA Says Hands-Free Tech Still Kind Of Sucks
Hands-free doesn't necessarily equal safe, according to AAA, and much of the hands-free technology they tested seemed like it was somehow more distracting than juts using their hands.
From David Shepardson's report on the report:
The key issue in the relative distraction of the systems, the study said, "appeared to be the duration of the interaction. This element was driven by the verbosity of the system, the number of steps required to execute an action, and the number of comprehension errors that arose." For infotainment tasks, Toyota's Entune system required the least amount of time-on-task, while Chevrolet's MyLink required the most, the study found.
During driver simulator testing, there were two "crashes" that occurred while using Siri, and only one one other when a driver used a menu-based system.
5th Gear: Mahindra Goes Horizontal With Scooter Business
While we've focused a lot on Mahindra's car and truck business, the realities of developing markets and the Indian economy means that the company is looking to expand its scooter business. At the same time, Peugeot is looking to turn a profit.
I smell a win-win coming.
Mahindra, which began making scooters in 2008 after acquiring Kinetic Motor Co., is seeking to compete with Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) and Honda Motor Co. (7276) in India’s growing two-wheeler market. Mahindra also wants to expand deliveries of the models elsewhere, seeing a “huge” opportunity globally, Executive Director Pawan Goenka said at a press conference.
“It’s a fairly straightforward rationale for the deal” because of Peugeot’s long history in scooters and the unit’s “very strong technology center,” Goenka said at the Mumbai briefing. The French nameplate would constitute a premium product, with Mahindra’s brand targeting the mass market.
I'd rock a Franco-Indian scooter.
Reverse: Get Your Kicks
On October 7, 1960, the first episode of the one-hour television drama "Route 66" airs on CBS. The program had a simple premise: It followed two young men, Buz Murdock and Tod Stiles, as they drove across the country in an inherited Corvette (Chevrolet was one of the show's sponsors), doing odd jobs and looking for adventure. According to the show's creator and writer, Stirling Silliphant (best known for his acclaimed "Naked City," an earlier TV series), Buz and Tod were really on a journey in search of themselves. "Call 'Route 66' 'Pilgrim's Progress,'" Silliphant told a reporter. "The motive power driving our two characters is not a Corvette: it is the desire for knowledge—and for sentience; it is a quest through the perennially fascinating cosmos of personal identity."
Neutral: Have You/Will You Buy A Used Car? Have you had any experiences buying a used car recently? Noticed any trends in prices in your area?
Photo Credit: Getty Images