Welcome to the Starting Grid, where we start your day off right with the biggest news in the auto industry, such as the departure of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and much more on this Tuesday morning.
Pole Position – Ray LaHood Steps Down: After serving for four years as head of the U.S. Transportation Department, Ray LaHood has announced he will not return for a second term. The Republican made his crusade against distracted driving a focal point of his tenure, and a replacement has not yet been named. [WaPo]
Front Row – Report Says Auto Execs Received Excessive Pay: The rich got richer as the poor got poorer, reads every newspaper headline ever. A new report finds that the U.S. Treasury Department approved outrageous pay packages for bailed-out auto companies as their employees – and the entire nation – struggled to stay employed. [Freep]
Third Position – Henry Ford Documentary Airing Tonight: There’s so much about the life of Henry Ford that a documentary tonight on PBS managed to uncover fascinating new stories while deciding to leave fascinating well-known stories on the cutting room floor. We can’t wait to watch it, though this single line sums Ford up quite nicely all by itself: “…he missed the world his invention had forever altered.” [NYT]
Fourth Position – Will Self-Driving Cars Make Insurance Cheaper? It’s time to stop arguing about whether driverless cars will be a reality. They will. It’s now time to argue about how they will be integrated into a very standardized and regulated industry. For instance, if driverless cars never crash, how much will insurance cost? This article takes an intelligent look at how the issue will be handled. [WSJ]
Safety Car – Ford Plans $2B Loss In Europe, Investors Not Pleased: No history lesson today, although Ford announced that the success of their European market is history itself. No one is making any money in Europe right now, but Ford had insisted for months that they would be immune. Not so, and investors are not happy. [Forbes]
Video of the Day – Hennessey Does It Again With 700 Horsepower Mercedes: This video perfectly encapsulates the philosophy of Hennessey. While on set to film the ridiculous Hennessey Venom GT, Matt Farah took a quick turn in the Hennessey Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG for a blazing blast o 170 mph like it was nothing. Nonchalant power, that’s Hennessey in a nutshell.