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: This Is The Tuatara-ra-ra-ra-ra
Shelby SuperCars publicly dropped the cloth on the unfortunately-named SSC Tuatara for the press for the first time yesterday in Shanghai. In attendance was Jason Castriota, the designer behind not only this new SSC, but also the Stile Bertone Mantide, the P4/5 Pininfarina, Maserati Birdcage, the Saab PhoeniX, and defender of design decency, attended the event and answered media questions alongside Jerod Shelby, SSC Asia President Don Xu, and SSC Asia Co‐Founder Jason He as they unveiled the Tuatara at what looks like a mall. Seriously, is that a Tiffany's behind the stage?
Laura Soave Is Wonderful Fiat Needs More Stores
Chrysler "probably" won't hit its target to sell 50,000 of the new Fiat 500 in North America this year after it took longer to open new stores than previously expected, an executive said. The company is intensifying 500 marketing efforts, including a planned promotion in Times Square in New York, Laura Soave,
the sultry seductress head of the Fiat brand under Chrysler, said in an interview with the lucky folks at Bloomberg. About 100 Fiat stores have opened in the U.S., including about 30 in July. The goal is to have 130 by year-end. "We have coverage now, so now is the time for us to turn this up," she said, flashing her gorgeous smile. "We've activated the smaller guerrilla-type marketing, but then these are the bigger events that are going to get us bigger awareness." The marketing push and added outlets should increase Fiat 500 U.S. sales at least 30% in August over July, Soave said yesterday in an interview at Chrysler's Auburn Hills, Michigan, headquarters , her lips trembling with emotion. Chrysler reported U.S. 500 sales of 3,038 in July, with a total of 7,982 for the year so far. And if Soave says it, we believe it. Anything she says. Because she's brilliant, beautiful and...just yeah. Rowr! (Full Disclosure: Wert is crushing hard on Laura Soave. He says it isn't affecting his editorial judgment at all. We don't believe him. At all. So we've made some minor edits to help him out. — Eds.)
3rd Gear: Mercedes-Benz To Build A Second Shooting Brake
Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche has given approval for a second Shooting Brake model to accompany the brand's eagerly awaited CLS Shooting Brake due out in 2012, according to German media reports repeated this morning by Automotive News. The new model is expected to go on sale in North America in 2014. It's based on the German carmaker's upcoming CLC—a four-door coupe that uses a new platform that will offer buyers a stylish but practical rival to the likes of the Audi A5 Sportback and the upcoming BMW 3-series GT. The CLC variant would be priced below the larger and more opulent CLS version. The five-door CLC Shooting Brake is set to receive a sloping roof and a heavily angled tailgate that eschews outright load capacity for head-turning style. It will be sold alongside the CLC coupe, which Mercedes has confirmed will go on sale in the U.S. market in 2013.
4th Gear: Tata Shakes Out Some Lower Profits
Bloomberg reports this morning that Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, reported first-quarter profits that ended up shaking out lower than analysts' estimates as sales of its passenger cars in India fell and Jaguar deliveries declined. Net income rose to 20 billion rupees ($441 million) in the three months ended June 30, from 19.9 billion rupees a year earlier, according to a statement from the automaker today. This was lower than the median of 21.6 billion rupees of 32 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. I'm just excited I got to use the words "Tata" and "shaking" in the same sentence this morning. What can I say — it's a slow news day.
5th Gear: Don't Trust The Midas Touch Won't Be Sold The Associated Press reports this morning that auto repair company Midas said Thursday it is exploring a possible sale, merger or other business combination that would enhance value for its stockholders. Shares surged $2.42, or 37%, to $9 in after-hours trading after the announcement of the decision.
6th Gear: Ford's Product Development Team Truffle Shuffle
Ford is playing the global product development team shuffle: Barb Samardzich is moving from the US to head up Ford of Europe's product development, reporting in to Stephen Odell, CEO of the Dearborn, MI-based automaker's European arm. This'll all start September 1st.
⏎ Next Audi Q7 could shed 650 lbs. [Automobile]
⏎ Cadillac's Volt-Based Converj Electric Car Gets Green Light. [Green Car Reports]
⏎ Daimler Leads German ‘Havens' as Carmakers Reel. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Chrysler takes Ram to Wal-Mart. [Automotive News]
⏎ Ganassi cars fastest in IndyCar's return to New Hamsphire. [USA Today]
⏎ Chrysler seeks tax aid to upgrade Toledo plant. [Detroit News]
⏎ US Big Govt vs. Million $ Italian Sports Car. [DebbieSchlussel]
⏎ German car makers seem immune from economic turmoil. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1988, director Francis Ford Coppola's critically acclaimed biopic "Tucker: The Man & His Dream" premieres in U.S. theaters, starring Jeff Bridges as the brash Chicago businessman-turned-car-designer Preston Tucker who shook up 1940s-era Detroit with his streamlined, affordable "Car of Tomorrow." [History]
You can keep up with Ray Wert, the author of this post, on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.