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: GM Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell today announced that he will leave the company April 1, 2011 after just over a year with the just-emerged-from-bankruptcy-and-IPO'ed automaker. He'll be succeeded by Dan Ammann, 38, who's currently a GM vice president, finance and treasurer. Before coming to GM, the native of New Zealand worked for Morgan Stanley for 11 years. Sorry, hold on a second... wow, we just realized he's a 30-something becoming the CFO of the world's largest automaker? Jeez, what the hell have I done with my life.
2nd Gear: Could modern cars operating with the help of internal computers be vulnerable to hackers? Could someone tamper with your software-controlled brakes or stop the engine from afar? Not really, or, at least not easily. Why not? Nefarious no-goodniks can already steal your car with a smart key. And don't even get us started on road signs.
3rd Gear: At 1.5 tons, this life-size model of the Chevrolet Orlando weighs just 369lbs less than the real thing. There's no driving this car, though. Built over two weeks by a team of eight sculptors, the car is parked on a London street as a publicity stunt. Just don't let any Kindergarten classes walk by. They might try to eat it. Or wait, was that paste? Hmm, I just remember paint chips.
4th Gear: The spike in the price of an oil barrel has been caused by "market pricing and risk premium on the future oil supply," not a lack of supply, Rex Tillerson, CEO and chairman of Exxon Mobil, told CNBC Wednesday. And by "market pricing," I think he means "market speculation." Well, whatever the reason, we're just glad we ran our how to save money on gas special yesterday.
5th Gear: Goodyear CEO Richard Kramer saw his compensation rise 69% to $8.5 million in 2010, up from $5 million in 2009. That's especially surprising considering the Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker lost $216 million in 2010 and closed a plant in Tennessee that employed nearly 2,000 workers. Guess reality is not always where the rubber meets the road.
6th Gear: Volkswagen's expected to confirm a full assault on the World Rally Championship before the end of this month, according to Autocar's sources. The German manufacturer, which has been linked to a WRC campaign since the series confirmed its new 1600cc-based regulations, is being tipped to announce its programme at a party on 22 March that will celebrate its Dakar rally raid success.
⏎ Cars.com released a free Android app. We have no idea what that means. [PR Newswire]
⏎ Ford and the U.S. are still in talks over the F-150 airbag recall. [Detroit News]
⏎ There's a 'Vette rebound! [Automotive News]
⏎ Ford Falcon set to get new Territory's electric-assist steering. [GoAuto]
⏎ 2011 Chrysler 200 falls short. [Detroit News]
⏎ The Lamborghini Aventador will have a similar production run size as the old Murcielago — about 4000 units. [Autocar]
⏎ Just give the Volt time and critics will warm up to it. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
Robert Kearns, who patented a design for a type of windshield wiper and later won multi-million dollar judgments against Chrysler and Ford for using his concept without permission, is born on March 10, 1927, in Gary, Indiana. [History]