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?
1st Gear: The Corvette Adds Another Notch To Its Belt
The 2014 Corvette has been a bit of a revelation in the last few months. Pretty much everyone who has driven the C7 has deemed it a huge win for General Motors: It's finally a well rounded car. And now Road & Track has deemed it as their performance car of the year.
Not that it's surprising. I helped Road & Track with their track testing for the PCOTY and the Corvette was the car that impressed me the most. I've driven Corvettes in the past, but didn't think they were all that well rounded. This one is. Choosing it as a car of the year might sound like a cliche to a lot of you, since it's clearly the car with the most buzz this year, but it's also the best choice out there. I didn't get to vote with the rest of the guys as I didn't do the whole test/I don't work at R&T, but my vote almost definitely would have gone to the Corvette.
Though the Fiesta ST does give it a run for its money in the fun department.
2nd Gear: Elon Musk And George Clooney Apparently Aren't In Love
It wouldn't be a day that ends in Y without having Elon Musk and Tesla in the news. In the last day or so, a little bit of a bruhaha has been unfolding between Musk and actor George Clooney. Seems Clooney's Tesla Roadster gave him some trouble when he first got it, as he told Esquire.
I had a Tesla. I was one of the first cats with a Tesla. I think I was, like, number five on the list. But I'm telling you, I've been on the side of the road a while in that thing. And I said to them, 'Look, guys, why am I always stuck on the side of the fucking road? Make it work, one way or another.'
And, in true Elon Musk style, he couldn't just let that lie. Nope. He had to talk about it.
Musk is so damn smart. He's just keeping Tesla in the news no matter what, even if some man who lives on Lake Como didn't like his roadster.
3rd Gear: The Ford Ka Is Making A Ka-meback
The first generation Ford Ka was around for 12 years and was a huge hit. The current Ka, which has been around since 2008, well, it hasn't been as much of a slam dunk. But for the new generation, Ford is aiming to gain sales in a number of developing economies.
The Ka Ka-ncept (sorry, I'll stop doing that) was revealed in Brazil and is meant to usher in a new period of growth for Ford's smallest car. This is also designed with the Alan Mulally-championed "One Ford" global product scheme in mind, so the Ka in Brazil will be the same as the Ka in Europe and Africa. The Ka that is currently in Brazil isn't the same as the European Ka, so this will be the first time that Ford has produced a car this small for the entire world.
It's a risk. Let's see if it pays off.
4th Gear: An Update On The Tesla Factory Mishap
Yesterday, reports started pouring in that workers were injured in a fire at the Tesla plant in California. Three workers were injured, but it wasn't a fire.
What actually happened was a low-pressure aluminum casing press failed. The press had hot metal within that then burned three workers. So not a fire, but an industrial accident. One worker received chest and upper body burns. All three were taken to the hospital with second degree burns, though one was released late yesterday afternoon.
5th Gear: Is GM's CEO Getting Ready To Step Down?
Dan Akerson is 65 years old, which is your standard retirement age here in the states. And it sounds like that retirement could come as soon as next year, if what sources have told Reuters is to be believed.
Akerson has not informed the board of his decision to step down yet, it is believed by many within and close to GM that Akerson will hand over the reigns to a successor next year, and definitely not stay after 2015. Akerson has not officially told the board that he is stepping down, nor have the board officially started their process of looking for a successor, but it seems that a succession plan is already in place.
On November 14, 2006, state officials close the last two of Texas' famed Pig Stand restaurants, the only remaining pieces of the nation's first drive-in restaurant empire. The restaurants' owners were bankrupt, and they owed the Texas comptroller more than $200,000 in unpaid sales taxes.
Do you think the acclaim for the Corvette is warranted? Or is choosing it as a car of the year a predictable cliche?