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: Because Trucks And SUVs Are More Expensive
The price of automobiles is forever going up, but the 5.2% increase we've seen year-over-year after strong sales can at least partially be tied to the fact that people are buying more expensive trucks and SUVs.
According to KBB, via Auto News, the average transaction price was $33,993.
“Lower gas prices are helping with what has already been a growing market for truck and utility vehicles,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “In turn, these vehicles are driving increases in average transaction prices across the industry, especially among the domestic automakers.”
Grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face (and hope gas prices stay low for a little longer)!
2nd Gear: What Recall? GM Cashes In On Truck Sales
A strong fourth quarter means that GM took home $2.8 billion in 2014, even with all the restructuring and recall costs. This also means that eligible GM hourly employees will get up to $9,000 profit sharing checks.
According to The Detroit News, GM also wants to reward investors by upping their dividend to $0.36 a share, but that still needs approval from the board.
Like everyone else, GM is having to figure out what they're going to do with Russia.
3rd Gear: Ford Doesn't Want To Be Nokia
Interesting talk from Ford CEO and awkward handshaker Mark Fields earlier today in Germany, who warned about the encroachment of other companies into his space.
"There are others who we never thought five years ago would be competitors for us," Fields said on Wednesday, stopping short of naming which companies were emerging as sector rivals. Software maker Google recently unveiled an autonomous vehicle.
"Guess what, they are looking at our industry, not taking anything for granted, they are questioning tradition and they are knocking down walls. I want to make sure Ford doesn't end up like the handset business," Fields told an automotive conference in Bochum. He added that most mobile phone makers had become reliant on the business model of telecom providers.
Driverless cars. Car sharing. It's a different world.
4th Gear: Feds Are Recalling The Quadski
One of these days I'm going to drive a Quadski. It's just so perfectly ridiculous.
I think I'm going to wait for the recall to be over because, according to the Freep, the Quadski is part of a recall.
The problem with the Quadskis, according to the commission, is that "the handlebar can fail while the vehicle is in operation, causing the operator to lose control of the steering and braking system of the vehicle, posing a risk of injury."
No consumer incidents have been reported.
I could see that being an issue.
5th Gear: A Corporate Tax To Pay For Roads?
Something is going to have to give or we're not going to have well-maintained roads anymore. It's as simple as that.
Because a Gas Tax is DOA and does have some negative consequences, President Obama's latest pitch is to tax about $2 trillion in offshore profits from companies based in the United States.
Dingell said she understood the reluctance of both political parties to embrace a higher gas tax, even though an increase is backed by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Associations. “Everybody’s chicken,” Dingell said. “Nobody wants to increase taxes on the middle class. The numbers may show the economy is better, but people don’t feel it.” The White House plan to pay for roads through corporate taxes “doesn’t tax an individual,” Dingell said. “There may be a nugget in there.”
Reverse: How Far They've Come...
On February 4, 1922, the Ford Motor Company acquires the failing luxury automaker Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million.
Neutral: How Much Did You Pay For Your Last New Car? When was it?
Photo Credit: AP Images