UAW turns to Ford, BMW counts its Xs to 4 and Chrysler gets booted

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1st Gear: UAW gives Chrysler the stiff-arm, tries to put a ring on Ford instead
After winning a tentative deal with General Motors, the United Auto Workers is now turning its negotiating skills on Ford, giving Chrysler a four-week contract extension to focus on Blue Oval matters. While the GM deal generally appears to be a rare example of a good thing for both sides — giving workers some extra income while barely affecting GM's overall costs — working the same magic at Ford and Chrysler will be harder. Ford wants deeper cuts than GM demanded, which UAW members demanding more generous terms.

2nd Gear: What the world needs now is love and more BMW SUVs
BMW confirmed it will build the X4, a sport utility vehicle that would slot above the X3 in price but actually be smaller and more about sport than utility. According to Autocar, the X4 will arrive in 2014, with a required M variant following soon thereafter. Whether the X4 will carry only three doors or five is still apparently up for debate.


3rd Gear: U.S. House decides not to use auto technology loans to put out fires
We tend to stay away from happenings inside the beltway, but here's one worth noting: A bill that would have shunted money to disaster relief by cutting $1.5 billion from the federal government's loans for more fuel-efficient vehicles failed in the U.S. House last night, thanks to a combo platter of conservative Republicans and nearly all Democrats. The Republican opposition wanted even more cuts; Democrats opposed the idea that helping people recover from Hurricane Irene and wildfires should require cuts elsewhere.


4th Gear: Your daily update on Saab, everyone's favorite Swedish automaker hanging on like Harold Lloyd dangling from a clocktower:
Now that Saab has won approval from a Swedish bankruptcy court to restructure its debts, it's going to put out a cost-cutting plan that could include some job cuts, the numbers and targets for which have not been revealed. So, all Saab has to do is pay off $206 million owed suppliers and workers, get the Chinese government to approve a $336 million loan from two Chinese automakers, restart its factory, built enough cars to generate cash flow and convince buyers it will still exist in a few months.


5th Gear: Not even J-Lo can stand up to America's auto dealers
If you ever hear an auto dealer boasting about how smart a businessman he is, remember this story: Chrysler is being forced to sell its factory-owned downtown Los Angeles dealership — which it opened 11 months ago to showcase its brands in a market where it struggles — because other Chrysler dealers complained it violated a California state law barring factory-owned stores within 10 miles of any other dealership. You can't have too much competition for those valuable Chrysler 200 leads.


6th Gear: How to take back the parking spaces from the asshats
The first automobile designed exclusively for handicapped passengers went into production Wednesday. The MV-1, built at AM General's plant in Indiana, uses a custom-designed Roush chassis powered by a Ford engine and transmission. The idea is to give handicapped riders a far easier system of transport than converted minivans they typically rely on, with a $40,000 price tag that's less than conversions typically cost. The MV-1 comes with a heavy-duty ramp, a 56-by-36-inch entryway and enough seating for six passengers.


⏎ Nissan, Mitsubishi swap vehicles [AP]

⏎ Today is World Carfree Day. Did you notice how empty the roads were? [Washington Post]


⏎ Porsche Cajun spyshot is exactly what you'd expect. [AutoExpress]

⏎ Chinese buyers line up for $1.44 million Dartz Kombat [Car News China]

⏎ America's busiest port for shipping cars? Charm City. [Baltimore Sun]

Today in Automotive History:

On September 22, 1953, the first four-level (or "stack") interchange in the world opens in Los Angeles, at the intersection of the Harbor, Hollywood, Pasadena, and Santa Ana freeways. It was, as The Saturday Evening Post wrote, "a mad motorist's dream:" 32 lanes of traffic weaving in eight directions at once. Today, although the four-level is justly celebrated as a civil engineering landmark, the interchange is complicated, frequently congested, and sometimes downright terrifying.


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