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: The first reviews of the Ferrari FF have begun to drop. Since our invite obviously got lost in the mail, we're forced to rely on what others are saying about this new bigger, longer and more uncut supercar. For starters, Ferrari's new 4RM part-time four-wheel-drive system, as expected, seems to work great in the snow. The usually-quite-picky Dan Edmunds of Edmunds' Inside Line (no relation) said "as long as the snow isn't too deep, you can drive this V12 Ferrari all year 'round." But that's with snow tires. What about with summer tires?
No one seems to have any idea as the buff books have only been allowed to drive Ferrari's fantastic four-wheel-drive big-assed supercar in the white stuff. But Edmunds' was willing to speculate that "It won't suck." Heh. Sorry, Automobile and others got a chance to drive it with summer tires. Read about it here.
2nd Gear: Chrysler Group LLC has fiercely protected its "Imported from Detroit" advertising campaign tagline against imitators. So how will the automaker respond to the "Imported from Detroit" banners with UAW logos at Cobo Center in Detroit, where the union is holding its three-day bargaining convention? Good question. This ought to be fun. I can't wait to watch.
3rd Gear: According to Autocar's sources, the next-generation Mercedes C-class will have hybrid technology on virtually every model in an attempt to drive average fuel consumption down to supermini levels. Oh fercrissakes, really?
4th Gear: Although you can't buy a Focus RS here in the United States, Ford has unveiled three new styling packages for the US-spec Ford Fiesta, including one that will at least make it look like the outgoing Focus RS. Thank you, Ford, for continuing to treat United States consumers like we're little kids, giving us a toy phone. Sure, it looks like a phone, it makes ringing noises like a phone, but it's also completely useless.
5th Gear: Bloomberg is reporting not everything in Detroit is doom and gloom this morning. Apparently, auto industry execs are trying to make Silicon Valley engineers feel at home in Detroit in order to fill a slew of technology job openings at automakers. To fill them, they're scouring Internet companies for workers, wining and dining applicants, and seeking promising students at schools such as Stanford University. Jobs in the Detroit-area professional and business-services sector, which include many of the tech jobs, rose almost twice as fast in December as the overall Michigan job market. But, in case anyone didn't realize it, recruiting people to move from the West Coast to Detroit is difficult. Micky Bly, GM's executive director of electric vehicles, battery and infotainment systems said "you don't have people begging to come to the Michigan area." You don't say.
6th Gear: Toyota said it will soon resume production of the Prius and two other hybrid models while rival Honda Motor Co. has extended its Japan auto shutdown until early April in the aftermath of the March 11th massive quake and tsunami.
⏎ Takeshi Tachimori has been appointed CEO of Subaru of America effective April 1, replacing Yoshio Hasunuma, who will return to Japan. [Automotive News]
⏎ It's all Hitachi's fault. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ So, if the little Porsche Cayenne will be named the "Cajun," is the little Panamera going to be named the "Pajun"? [AutoBild]
⏎ Just remember, you're probably older than Automobile magazine. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 2007, an around-the-world relay celebrating Italian sports car maker Ferrari's 60th anniversary passes through Los Angeles, California. The relay began earlier that year, on January 28, in Abu Dhabi and continued on through 50 countries including Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico, America, Canada and Russia, before ending on June 23, 2007 at Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, Italy. [History]