Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

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?


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

1st Gear: The U.S. Treasury could sell a big chunk of its remaining 33% stake in General Motors in the summer or fall, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Monday, although doing so may lead to more losses for it on the automaker's bailout. No decision has been made yet on the exact timing or size of such a sale, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. If the sale happens, it all but makes certain that U.S. taxpayers won't be making their money back. Oh, we also probably are getting completely screwed on those bank loans too.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

2nd Gear: Kia is developing a four-door sedan version of the new Rio supermini, dubbed K2 and revealed today at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. The B-segment sedan is designed and engineered by Kia and its Chinese JV Dongfeng Yueda Kia specifically for the Chinese market, and will begin production at DYK's manufacturing facility in Jiangsu in June. I'm sorry, I still snicker when I hear the name "Dongfeng." I really need to grow up. Anyway, this looks seriously attractive — like, Civic-killingly attractive. It's like a Kia Optima bedded the dark lord of supermini-sexy and they had a child. Now, if they build a hatchback with some added power to make those front wheels skitter like a rabies-mad squirrel running on a tile floor we might actually grow jealous over this little shitbox. Perish the thought.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

3rd Gear: Bugatti will launch the 16C Galibier limousine shown in 2010 as a concept car, the new president and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has confirmed to UK's CAR magazine. The Galibier will eventually be part of a two-model Bugatti range, meaning there's life in the hypercar brand post-Veyron. In a wide-ranging interview in the new May 2011 issue, Durheimer revealed that the Galibier would carry over the Veyron's monstrous W16 engine and transmission, but that Bugatti is developing a hybrid option to make sure its big limo retains social acceptability. What? Seriously, that's just the worst logic I've ever heard. God do I hate mass marketing hybrids.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

4th Gear: This is Volvo's Concept Universe, the first look at the company's future direction under Chinese ownership. Unveiled this morning at the Shanghai motor show, the Universe is described by Volvo as a "large, luxurious sedan with a new human-centric design language that honours the beautiful lines of classic Volvo models". The Concept Universe also offers "a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan". So, basically, Volvo chief designer Peter Horbury has made a car that'll look beige and, umm, kind of like the Ford Interceptor concept from 2007. Seriously, that's the Interceptor right there — if it'd been born a Volvo. Just squint a little and you'll see it too. I swear.


5th Gear: While commenting on the recent transition of the Volkswagen Beetle's design, J Mays, Ford's global design chief as well as the guy in charge of designing the 2014 Mustang, dropped a few remarks about the next generation Ford Mustang to Brent Wilson over at MustangEvolution. He also explained how important it is to not transition drastically away from the look and feel of the Mustang that we have come to know. "It is weighing pretty heavy on my shoulders, and I'm not about to screw that up," he says. Here's video of J talking. You know, so you can hear his voice — even if he's not saying anything about this story.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

6th Gear: Making its debut today at the Shanghai Auto Show is this — the Subaru XV concept, a compact crossover based on the same underpinnings as the upcoming 2012 Subaru Impreza. Subaru already sells an XV variant of the current Impreza in certain markets and with this concept it appears certain a new generation is on the drawing board. Also, this probably won't be the Impreza we're getting here. I hope. Wait, no, I really hope. In the U.S., it'll probably just end up being the replacement to the current Outback Sport.


Reverse:

⏎ So, rental companies sometimes choose to wait on repairs? You don't say. [New York Times]

⏎ Only Ford, the untouchable car company responsible for the 5.0 engine, could get journalists to stroke them off over two cars "embracing the 4-0" in fuel economy. [Automotive News]

⏎ GM raising vehicle prices $123 to cover oil, metal costs... ridiculous levels of middle management in its bureaucracy. [Detroit News]

⏎ Why VW's new Beetle must challenge the Mustang. [Motor Trend]


Today in Automotive History:

On this day in 1964, Mario Andretti competes in his inaugural Indy car race, in Trenton, New Jersey, finishing in 11th place. [History]

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
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