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 New York Times Wheels Blog reports that In two days, 80,000 people clicked "Like" on the Facebook page of AFFTAC, a group comprised of three companies that manufacture speed-camera warning devices. The supporters object to a government measure that has outlawed the technology. AFFTAC has called for demonstrations throughout the country on Wednesday. Users of these devices are able to learn the locations of permanently installed traffic radars around the country, as well as warn other members when they spot mobile-radar installations by pressing a button on the device. Pierre-Henry Grandet, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said in the report that 4.6 million motorists were fined by radar in France last year. France is home to 31 million cars, according to C.C.F.A., the French automakers' association. That kind of a percentage seems like good enough reason to fight against this type of anti-car aggression.
2nd Gear: According to Car magazine, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and his R&D mastermind Michael Dick are planning a full-size two-door flagship which will in all likelihood be based on the current Audi A8. Known internally as A9, the high-end four-seater gets a bespoke exterior and an evolution of the pace-setting A8 interior. To be built in Neckarsulm alongside the saloon and the R8, the A9 could appear as early as 2014 in coupe form. Structurally, the A9 is said to be eye-catching according to Car magazine sources who've seen the initial design sketches. A soft-top conversion is in the plan, which should hit the market in 2015, six months before the next-gen Mercedes CL cabriolet. Pricewise, the new Audi A9 will be positioned above the BMW 6-series but below the CL. Like £75,000 ($120,000) in today's money.
3rd Gear: The Consumer Federation of America commissioned a poll by Opinion Research Corp. that finds 62% of Americans support a federal mandate requiring automakers to meet a 60 mpg standard by 2025, a proposal the Obama administration is considering. The fuel efficiency mandate already is scheduled to rise to 35 mpg by 2016 from 27.5 mpg for cars today. Somehow, we doubt that anyone also told respondents that if they want new 60 mpg cars ASAP they'll likely be driving a puttering Reliant Robin-class vehicle at highway speeds of 55 MPH.
4th Gear: According to Car and Driver's sources, there will be a new Quattroporte, plus a 5-series–sized derivative for the B-level management kiss-ass who can't possibly buy the same car as his boss (this is, apparently, a huge deal in China). Both cars are being planned and designed by Pininfarina together with the Fiat Auto Centro Stile. New engines will include a 400-hp MultiAir-equipped, turbocharged version of the Pentastar V-6 and a newly available 300-hp V-6 turbo-diesel benefiting from Fiat Powertrain Technology's latest generation of JTD II high-pressure diesel injection and management. Whether the latter can come play in the U.S. is yet to be decided. What will be happening here in the states is that U.S. engineering staff at Jeep have been handed the job of hammering Maserati SUVs out of Grand Cherokees by 2014. That'll bring a five-model lineup to your local Maserati dealer by 2014.
5th Gear: The federal judge overseeing lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corp. involving allegations of unintended acceleration made final an order rejecting the automaker's bid to throw out claims by vehicle owners claiming economic loss. Beige bites back be damned.
6th Gear: Lenny Kravitz will be featured in Jeep's national TV advertising campaign for the 2011 Wrangler. Using Jews to sell Wranglers? And here I thought the only Jeeps my people bought were Grand Cherokees. Who knew?
⏎ The Chevy Cruze gains 2 MPG through magic and mystery. Maybe it's Gummi Berry juice? [Cheers and Gears]
⏎ If the end of the world comes on May 21st, I'm really hoping someone comes through with a screener of Green Lantern for me before then. [Vancouver Sun]
⏎ CVC rejects Mubadala F1 bid. [pitpass]
⏎ Nissan shakes down Leaf electric racer. [PistonHeads]
⏎ 2011 Volkswagen Jetta gets a $500 price increase, no added value. [Kicking Tires]
⏎ Saab and Jaguar on two different roads. [CNBC]
⏎ Chinese figure out Detroit makes subpar luxury cars. Wow, they are quick. It took many American consumers years to figure that out. [USA Today]
⏎ Honeywell to pay BorgWarner $32.5 million to end patent suit. [Automotive News]
⏎ Volkswagen to launch car-sharing program in Hanover, Germany. [Car and Driver]
⏎ Porsche wins dismissal of 2010 meeting suit over Volkswagen bid. [Bloomberg]
⏎ It's like Ford is shoving the new Ranger we're not getting right back in our faces. [Go Auto]
Today in Automotive History:
Swiss racer Hans Ruesch was born on this day in 1913. Ruesch began racing in 1932 with MG at the Klausenrennen when he was 19. During the 1930s, he drove several Alfa Romeo and Maserati racing and sports cars at many smaller events throughout Europe. Ruesch drove a Maserati 8CM 1934 and a Maserati 4CS in 1935 and 1936, followed by an Alfa Romeo GP car in 1936 and 1937. He also took part in the 1937 South Africa series. He competed in more than 100 races in Europe and South Africa, winning 27 races. [Wikipedia]
Photo Credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images News