This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place at 9:30 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: NHTSA, Germans Reaffirm Safety Rating
It's not enough for Elon Musk to build the only electric car everyone seems to want, he also has to convince everyone it's the safest — a task not made easier by a cluster of cars bursting into flames over the course of a few weeks.
Alas, the safety ratings so dear to his heart are still there, with the National Highway Safety Administration reiterating its Five-Star safety rating for 2015 despite the ongoing investigation.
Ze Germans also looked into the car and found nothing worth writing home about.
2nd Gear: Feds And Automakers To Continue DUI Research
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (hilariously DADSS) will continue to be developed under a partnership between 15 major automakers and NHTSA, reports David Shepardson.
Researchers are trying to build a passive system that will use breath and touch sensors to measure just how wasted drivers are before getting into a car.
If you don't think this kind of research is worth doing, it should be noted that 10,322 deaths occurred in drunk driving-related crashes in 2012, an increase over 2011.
3rd Gear: Feds Continue To Look Into Mercedes Tail Lights
While not yet a recall, a "probe" into Mercedes taillights has expanded to cover 253,000 C-Class models from 2008 to 2011, the AP reports.
While this may not seem like a serious issue, there have already been 402 complaints, five fires, and one injury. There's been no… fiery death… yet.
Taillights are important and failed taillights seem like a pain in the ass.
4th Gear: Hyundai-Kia Reach Deal On Mileage Claims
The misleading Hyundai-Kia mileage debacle has mostly been forgotten by car buyers, but the owners and the lawyers still remember.
If you'd forgotten, Hyundai and Kia claimed a bunch of vehicles got better than 40 MPG under the EPA guidelines. They did not.
It'll cost Hyundai-Kia about $400 million, assuming everyone comes forward. If you're a Hyundai owner you'll get about $353 and if you're a Kia owner you'll get about $667, depending on the vehicle you bought.
That's a nice little perk.
5th Gear: Will Daimler Build More Cars In The US?
Benz's plan to take over luxury sales in the United States has been quite successful so far, with the launch of the popular Mercedes CLA and general freshening up of the lineup.
"We have to consider whether we need new production capacity in the Nafta region for the next model generation of compact cars," Mr. Renschler said. "In growth markets one needs to be local; cars should be built where they're sold."
Reverse: I Want To Call Someone A 'Puffing Devil'
British inventor Richard Trevithick takes seven of his friends for a test ride on his "Puffing Devil," or "Puffer," the first steam-powered passenger vehicle, on this day in 1801. Unlike the steam engine pioneered by the Scotsman James Watt, Trevithick's used "strong steam"—that is, steam at a very high pressure (145 pounds per square inch, or psi, compared to the Watt engine's 5 psi, which enabled him to build an engine small enough to fit in his "Puffer" car. Trevithick's engines were undoubtedly more dangerous than Watt's, but they were also extremely versatile: They could be put to work in mines, on farms, in factories, on ships and in locomotives of all kinds.
Neutral: How Long Is Your Memory? Have you already forgotten about the Hyundai-Kia mileage claims? The Model S fires? Or are they still fresh in your mind?
Photo Credit: Getty Images