This is the Morning Shift, our one-stop daily morning roundup of all the auto news that's actually important to you — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or you know, 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: As we told you months ago, the new Lincoln Town Car will be the Lincoln MKT with a livery/trim package and called the "Lincoln MKT Town Car." Calling an MKT a "Town Car" is sort of like Lincoln selling the Town Car with a "Continental" trim. Actually, no, because at least that was actually a Town Car, and, you know, good. Hey, at least it's not the hearse, right?
2nd Gear: The new Pagani supercar with a name that sounds like the onomatopoeia for dry heaving will be the Italian automaker's first entry into the U.S. market. That's right, for just $1.1 million, you can get one of the new 700 HP Huayra. But good luck getting one of the carbon fiber and titanium-embedded chassis, sub-3,000 lb. supercars. Although the automaker plans to double capacity to meet expected demand, they still only made 18 cars last year.
3rd Gear: The city of Wellington, Florida is upset with NBC's Today Show over a report last week they claim "unfairly labeled" their city as a hotbed of "car surfing," a dangerous "trend" so bleeding-edge we reported on it six years ago. Specifically, they want a correction from host Matt Lauer who introduced the segment. Good luck with that. I'm still waiting for an apology from NBC for emotional distress caused by Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric's inane banter for years.
4th Gear: A Bentley Continental Supersports driven by Finland's four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen on the Baltic Sea "braved" minus 30 degree temperatures to set a new world speed record on ice — a breathtaking 205.48 mph. Although that sounds even faster when you say that's also 330.695 km/h. That's really fast. Also, really cold. Even if you say that temperature in Celsius.
5th Gear: Volkswagen and Chrysler might have had the most talked about Super Bowl ads, but General Motors won the Super Bowl ad war with over 54 million page views after the Super Bowl. How? Because the General's new ad chief Joel Ewanick bought Google search terms like "Imported from Detroit" and "Darth Vader." Wait, GM making a truly smart online advertising play? This is a first.
6th Gear: Speaking of marketing — GM's announced its new "Cadillac Shield" owner benefits program for Caddy owners. It includes Cadillac warranty coverage, the new maintenance program, courtesy transportation on warranty repairs and 24-hour roadside assistance for the first five years or 100,000 miles. And if you think this was just a chance to make a cheap Nick Fury joke, you're absolutely right.
⏎ You know what's not smart? Owning a Smart distributorship in the United States. We could have told you that four years ago, Roger. [Automotive News]
⏎ Danny Howes is arguing for UAW workers. Has the world gone mad? [Detroit News]
⏎ And speaking of auto workers bonuses, can't Canadian auto workers get in on some of that action, eh? [UPI]
⏎ Lotus is bringing a Mansory Evora — yes, you read that right — to the Geneva Motor Show. Dear god, how much farther will this brand fall in the eyes of its fans? [PistonHeads]
⏎ Starting in 2012, Isuzu will build trucks at a new plant in... Saudi Arabia! [Bloomberg]
Today in Automotive History:
On February 15, 1998, after 20 years of trying, Dale Earnhardt Sr. finally wins his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opener and an event dubbed the "Super Bowl of stock car racing." [History]
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