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: OF COURSE IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TAXES
You can't spell "low taxes" without "Texas," but Toyota is trying to convince people that the move had little to do with the shit ton of money they got and more to do with what Bloomberg calls "traditions."
Hmm… not sure I'm going to buy that, but let's let them lay out the argument:
In contrasting Texas and California, politicians and pundits tend to emphasize taxes and business regulation. But for most people on a day-to-day basis, the biggest difference between the two is the cost of housing.
Although Plano is one of the country's richest cities, with a highly educated population and a median income of $85,333 compared to Torrance's $70,061, it offers a much wider range of housing options. You can pay nearly $7 million for a 5-acre estate in Plano — $3 million more than the most expensive listing in Torrance — but the average home costs less than $200,000, compared to $552,000 in Torrance. A Redfin search for three-bedroom houses costing less than $400,000 turns up 149 in Plano versus four in Torrance; lowering the threshold to $300,000 cuts the Plano supply to 73, while yielding nothing in Torrance.
I need to acknowledge two biases here.
As someone from Houston, I'm generally like "Dallas? Pshaw, H-town for life."
As someone from Texas, I'm still like "Fuuuuuuck the world, any part of Texas (well, maybe not Vidor) is better than any part of California."
Hopefully, the people moving will see it that way.
2nd Gear: So What's The Future Of Fiat Chrysler?
As mentioned, the next Chrysler five year plan is coming (this always makes me think of Stalin) and, as Karl Henkel points out, the situation is a little different this time.
Specifically, Fiat is struggling along and Chrysler is robust.
The five-year plan revealed Tuesday, however, won't be about survival. It will be a blueprint for growing the new company around the world to boost sales and develop better economies of scale, improve its brand strategy and develop a foundation for how it will meet increasingly strict emissions standards. The plan is being unveiled at a critical time: The company now being called by the acronym FCA is aiming for its New York Stock Exchange listing to debut in October.
Henkel also goes on to point out that some Chrysler cash can be used developing Fiat products.
3rd Gear: Where Does That Leave Alfa?
We've spun a lot of text about Alfa, but what do we know?
The WSJ has some informed speculation based on, uh, reality:
Alfa Romeo is crucial to Fiat Chrysler's plans to sell more cars globally, and fill its underused factories in Italy with new premium models that can be exported outside Europe and earn enough to cover their high labor costs. The new five-year-plan will put global emphasis on its Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep lines.
Selling more of the premium-priced vehicles would improve profit margins for Fiat Chrysler, which have been thin because of the mostly small and money-losing Fiat cars sells in Europe. Profits at U.S.-based Chrysler has been offsetting losses at Fiat for two years. Overall, the auto maker hopes to increase its annual production to six million vehicles by 2018 from 4.4 million last year.
4th Gear: A GM Recall That Won't End In Fiery Death, Probably
"An inaccurate fuel gauge may result in the vehicle unexpectedly running out of fuel and stalling, increasing the risk of a crash," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on its website.
GM said in a letter to NHTSA the fuel gauge reading could be off by as much as one-quarter of a tank. To fix the problem, GM dealers will reprogram the vehicles' engine control modules.
This effects the Enclave/Acadia/Traverse trio.
5th Gear: Why Aren't Detroit's Big 2.5 Not Part Of The Michigan Competitive Workforce Commission?
Generally, most automakers seem to have a fairly tolerant view towards gay employees, with all the big ones internally banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
So, you'd think when AT&T, Dow, Herman Miller, Whirlpool and other companies got together to push Michigan to make the state's laws more open — and thus avoid a huge brain drain (because capitalism) as everyone moves to other states — they'd join.
Yet, as Brian Dickerson points out, they haven't.
OK, car people, I get it: You got out of the business of discriminating against gay people before it was cool. You want to be on the right side of history, but you prefer to do so in a discreet way that doesn't rile the unevolved pickup purchasers in Peoria.
But if your companies oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians, why wait for a newspaper to ask before you say so? And if some of your largest and most respected corporate neighbors are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you, what's the argument for hanging back when the state's attention has turned to this issue?
Or maybe they're like Toyota and assume that, eventually, the Supreme Court is going to decide everything soon enough.
I definitely understand the pressure. We wrote one article (the one linked above) about LGBT issues and people on Facebook said some pretty stupid shit and some guy named James for Florida said he was "saying goodbye to Jalopnik" because of it.
Obviously, we're not going to change our policy of covering the news.
Reverse: A Lady Who Loved The Open Road
Bertha Benz, the wife of inventor Karl Benz and the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance, dies on this day in 1944, in Ladenburg, Germany.
Neutral: Why do you really think Toyota moved to Texas?
Taxes, culture, the proximity of In-N-Out burgers?
Photo Credit: Getty Images