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 parcel it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 20,000 Ranger pickup trucks -because a defective switch could cause the turn signal, tail lights and brake lights to fail. Ford said the recall affects about 20,000 2011 Ford Ranger pickups built between January and April at its Twin Cities Assembly Plant. It also includes about 6,000 vehicles that were serviced with a defective switch including some 2004-2011 Ranger, 2002-2005 Excursion SUVs, and 2002-2007 F-250, 350, 450 and 550 trucks. The defective switch, if left unfixed, could, potentially, lead to owners fiery death!
2nd Gear: Mercedes-AMG has developed a new 5.5-liter V8 engine with AMG Cylinder Management cylinder shut-off and direct fuel injection for the all-new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG heading to the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. This means that the SLK55 AMG will remain the only roadster in its segment with an eight-cylinder engine — except when it has some of the cylinders shut off. Sigh. Car and Driver posits this engine will also find its way into the next-gen Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Double sigh.
3rd Gear: For the first time ever, a new-car dealer last week tried to use daily-deal site Groupon to promote new-vehicle sales. The promotion bombed, luring only four takers. Automotive News asks a very legitimate question this morning — one brought up by dozens of Jalopnik commenters. Namely, why didn't Groupon test the waters at a no-haggle dealership?
4th Gear: Fisker Automotive believes that a new gearbox it is developing for electric motors can help deliver Bugatti "Veyron levels of performance" for extended-range electric vehicles. At present, acceleration in electric cars is limited because they typically drive through only one gear to boost efficiency and reliability. Tesla initially trialled a two-speed gearbox on its Roadster but abandoned the plan because of reliability problems.
5th Gear: South Korean automaker SsangYong will show off its future at the Frankfurt motor show in September when it pulls the covers off a number of concept cars and the production version of its new-generation ute to replace the Actyon Sports, the SUT1. The concepts are likely to include more Korando-based models, including another electric concept, and possibly a five-seat range-extender hybrid vehicle smaller than the Korando — as shown by the company at the Geneva motor show in March.
6th Gear: Nascar racing engines have been fueled by carburetors since the sanctioning body's first race on Daytona Beach in 1948, but for the 2012 season, carburetors will be abandoned in Sprint Cup, Nascar's premier race series, in favor of electronic fuel injection. The sanctioning body announced the new specification in February and completed its first on-track tests of fuel-injection systems this month at Kentucky Speedway. Carburetors were relegated long ago to the automotive scrap heap by vehicle manufacturers, who switched to fuel injection in the 1980s, but Nascar prides itself on its competitive balance among racecars and does not move quickly to adapt new technology. You know, like steering wheels that turn right and left in the same race. The sanctioning body, however, does claim to try and connect to the real world of passenger cars, and fuel injection adds daily-driver relevance. The rest of the car, however, still does not.
⏎ Karun Chandhok replaces Jarno Trulli for German GP. [BBC Sport]
⏎ Ahead of Pebble Beach Auctions, a Tiger Hunter's 1925 Rolls-Royce Awaits Its Prey. [New York Times]
⏎ Nissan to make Leaf electric motor in Tennessee. [Automotive News]
⏎ Ford tries to sharpen its cars' listening skills. [Detroit News]
⏎ Mazda plays bubble game with Flat Rock. [Automotive News]
⏎ Tatra's Long Twilight Is Explored at a Tennessee Museum. [New York Times]
⏎ Saab unveils 9-6X concept... six years later. [Auto Motor Und Sport (German)]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1960, the German government passes the "Law Concerning the Transfer of the Share Rights in Volkswagenwerk Limited Liability Company into Private Hands," known informally as the "Volkswagen Law." [History]
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