The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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Why All You People Buying Cars Need To Go To The Olive Garden

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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: Ok, Maybe Not The Olive Garden But...


The one thing that's going to trip this economy up (ok, one of the things) is lower consumer confidence, which we suddenly have again. Granted, lower consumer confidence actually makes sense because you're all worried about your jobs and worried about stagnant wages.

Yes, rich motherfuckers are getting richer and you haven't gotten a raise in two years and you're just happy to have a job even if it's a job you don't even like. Curiously, you're also all buying cars. This is great. Car purchases create jobs, even if they're not as many jobs as they created in the past and maybe some of those jobs are in Mexico or China or, GASP, Canada.


And while you're all out buying Ford Fusions and Mazda CX-5s and countless Corollas, you've cut back other places. You aren't going out to eat as often. You're not buying new shoes. You're not doing all of those other things we need.

The holiday season is coming and, while buying all of your shit at one time in a frenzy of consumerism is kind of fucking stupid we've built the retail economy on it so one-click the hell out of that Amazon wish list because if you don't and the economy tanks again cars will soon follow, and that will kill all the fun cars automakers are planning or just starting to sell.

What's that you say? Wouldn't it be better if we just let wage growth at the lower end, like, minimally track corporate profits and CEO pay? No, that's vaguely like something that could maybe be considered socialism, and America hates socialism almost as much as they hate dieting.

So stuff your face with endless breadsticks and pasta until your stomach explodes because papa wants a BRZ.


2nd Gear: Oh Chrysler And Everyone


I know the whole Chrysler IPO thing is confusing and the document is 396 pages and no one is going to read that, but we should make one thing clear here when we get all excited about the CULT OF SERGIO.


This is especially true when you read stuff like this (via Craig Trudell).

SERGIO HAD TO FILE FOR THE IPO. It's not like he's out there gambling the company on a lark. If this is a success for Chrysler or a failure it isn't some grand strategy, it is a legal requirement if the UAW trust asks.


All you have to do is listen to Chrysler's people grumble through their teeth when they talk about it. Watch the body language. Essentially, Chrysler is like Kristy Swanson in the beginning of The Chase.

She's all scared because Charlie Sheen, while being well-meaning, ends up taking her hostage in a panic. Maybe it works out. Maybe they learn to love one another and end up having sex on the highway and escape to Mexico together. Maybe Flea and Henry Rollins hit them with their monster truck.


I don't know how it ends, but let's get our heads on straight about how it's beginning.

3rd Gear: Where Are All The Legally Required Backup Cameras


Via Auto News this morning, apparently Consumers Union (a.k.a. Consumer Reports) is suing the government to get those mandatory backup cameras we're all supposed to have in our cars.

Basically, the law should have already been implemented but it's a lot of money and the Department of Transportation has been trying to help automakers out by dragging their feet.


While I don't love the idea of anything else federally mandated, nor am I convinced of the cost/benefit of it, they're getting cheaper and lighter and I'd be lying if I didn't say the one piece of technology I don't hate in every car is probably a backup camera.

4th Gear: America Loves Autozone


Please forgive all the puns in this Wall Street Journal article about AutoZone because it makes an interesting point, that AutoZone has expanded while the economy has been shrinking, growing by 2,000 stores in the past decade.

Why? All those used cars on the market people are trying to keep running. As the average age of the American car grows, so does the need for parts to keep them from failing.


It's a weird quirk of our system.

5th Gear: How Do You Sell EVs In California?


California is the great frontier of EV sales, so how do you get your EV message to very specific consumers?

Toyota is selling its RAV4 EV through DirecTV reports The Detroit News, with a new tool from the satellite company that allows the automaker to zero in on people they've identified as early adopters/tech savvy.

DirecTV hires marketing data firms that compile consumer information from credit cards and other sources to identify, for instance, Spanish speakers, people trying to lose weight or, in the case of the Toyota campaign, who are like to buy new gadgets. DirecTV can transmit the ads only to subscribers who meet the criteria and live in the targeted cities.


This is an interesting future tool for TV and one that's good for enthusiasts, as they can target Mustang ads at you so you're not stuck with crappy Acura ones.

Reverse: It's Been A Lovely Surprise

On September 25, 2004, Chinese officials gather at the brand-new Shanghai International Circuit racetrack in anticipation of the next day's inaugural Formula One Chinese Grand Prix. Though Formula One racing was traditionally a European sport, the builders and boosters of the state-sponsored Shanghai track—part of an elaborate complex called the Shanghai International Auto City—hoped that they could help the sport catch on in Asia. In particular, they hoped their high-tech raceway would draw attention and investment to the fledgling Chinese auto industry. (China was an enormous untapped market for carmakers: In the year the Shanghai track opened, there were only 10 million cars for the country's 1.3 billion people.)



Neutral: Are You Confident In The Economy? Why? Why Not?