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 Dutch industrial design firm Ugur Sahin Design took the wraps off the romantically named Soleil Anandi — a gorgeous-looking Corvette-based coupe concept designed to loosely be a continuation of the firm's Z03 Concept from way back in 2007. This latest two-door takes the taut lines of the Z03 Concept and refines them in a spectacular — and supposedly entirely production-ready — fashion. Ugur Sahin's coach-built creation will make its public debut at the 2011 Top Marques Show in Monaco later today before going into limited production.
2nd Gear: Ford's feeling the same pain as GM is, saying its Asia-Pacific operations will continue to feel effects from the Japanese earthquake, CEO Alan Mulally told reporters on Wednesday, following an event honoring him as Automotive Executive of the Year. "You will see us continue to update everybody, because we are very transparent about what we learn," Mulally said, after receiving the award from Norwegian supplier DNV Certification. "But it's still unfolding." And by the way, last year's winner of the SAE Automotive Executive of the Year was Elon Musk.
3rd Gear: Yeah, so this is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu — yet again proving the old axiom that a mid-size designed by a committee will always look like a mid-size. Although we'll reserve our full reaction for after we've seen the car ourselves in person later today at an embargoed briefing (don't know why it's still embargoed as the car is — you know — right here), for the moment we're rather nonplussed.
4th Gear: And speaking of the new 'bu, are you wondering what else will be unveiled at this upcoming week's Shanghai Motor Show? The New York Times has a good summary of what to expect including the BMW Concept M5, Subaru XV, Citroen DS5, and the Goodwood Mini.
5th Gear: Somehow, despite the fact that Zipcar, the car-sharing company that rents vehicles by the hour, actually makes money, its IPO won't be worth as much as Tesla, a company that doesn't make any money. Sure enough, the rhetorical question was answered yesterday as it raised $174.3 million in its initial public offering, 31% more than it sought, after it increased the shares and priced them above the range. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sold 9.7 million shares at $18 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Zipcar had offered 8.3 million shares at $14 to $16 apiece, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Proceeds will be used to reduce debt and expand internationally, the filing showed.
6th Gear: According to Reuters, Fiat wants to hike its stake in Chrysler to 46% by June, as soon as the U.S. group manages to repay $7 billion of government debt, an Italian newspaper said. In an unsourced report published on Thursday, Corriere della Sera said talks with international investment banks on refinancing the debt were at an advanced stage, paving the way for Fiat to buy a further 16% of Chrysler. "This is the real goal Sergio Marchionne is working at," the paper said. "He wants to do it by June. He might be able to do it a bit earlier." Yup, Chrysler's gonna be Sergio's bitch and real soon.
⏎ Finally, something for Ray LaHood to focus on that's more important than "distracted driving." [LA Times]
⏎ Scott Vazin was hired as VP of communications and ex-Car and Driver No. 2 Mark Gillies was hired as a communications manager at VW. [Volkswagen]
⏎ Volvo wakes up, challenges BMW with Superman sedan. [Bloomberg]
⏎ It's Spring! Time to get rid of the junk in your trunk. No, literally. [Detroit News]
⏎ Detroit Coney dogs are heading to Hollywood. [WXYZ]
⏎ Sidney Harman, the guy who made his fortune on Harman Kardon stereos, and lost it on Newsweek, is dead at 92. [NPR]
⏎ Renesas is working hard to restart chip supply. [Automotive News]
⏎ Jeremy Clarkson owes it to Top Gear, his fans and his missus to go on the next season of Bridalplasty. [Newstime]
⏎ GM investigating ultracap-based Active Energy Recovery Buffer as low-cost mechanism to improve conventional vehicle fuel economy. We don't understand what it means, but we're enthralled. [Green Car Congress]
⏎ Yet another reason to not take the subway in New York City: bags of trash. [New York Daily News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1927, the first Volvo car, the Volvo ÖV 4, premieres in Gothenburg, Sweden. The designation ÖV4 stands for , "Öppen Vagn 4 cylindrar" in Swedish, which means Open Carriage 4 cylinders. [Wikipedia]