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 F-150 EcoBoost Pickups Make Their Own Movement
Ford's created a new Fiesta Movement-like challenge for the F-150 EcoBoost-powered pickup truck, kicking it off today on Facebook. Drivers in eight cities will put EcoBoost-equipped Ford F-150s in fuel efficiency challenge tests and community projects. So what will the winning driver get? Well, rather than a new truck, they'll instead get a year's supply of free Shell gasoline. But they'll also be representing their city — giving the average guy a chance to potentially win something too. The second part of the prize is that two Shell-branded stations in the winning driver's city will offer residents free regular-grade gasoline for two hours and 22 minutes on Sept. 2nd, in a nod to the 22 mpg the Ford F-150 EcoBoost achieves on the highway. Yes, that's right — if you live in Louisville, Ky.; Pittsburgh; Houston; San Diego; Orlando, Fla.; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., you could win some free gas. You can even help them win by playing against the other communities in showing your support in social media — like teh twitters, facebooks and youtubes. More info here.
2nd Gear: Sturm und Drang und 138 Burning Cars
Bloomberg reports this morning that arsonists have set fire to 26 cars in the German capital in the last two days, mainly from Daimler AG's Mercedes, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi, police said today. That brings the total number torched this year in Berlin to at least 138, more than double the figure for all of 2010. Look, our whole "stop burning the cars" plea thing? Yeah, that goes for Germany too. Stop it now! Especially because I start getting worried every time I hear that Germans are burning things.
3rd Gear: Mercedes-Benz Drops An Oil-Burning SLK
Speaking of burning things — for the first time, Mercedes-Benz is offering the SLK Roadster with a diesel engine. With the nomenclature of "SLK 250 CDI," it's powered by a 204 hp four-cylinder common-rail injection diesel engine. That'll give this new oil-burning SLK a fuel consumption of 4.9-liters per 100 kilometers (yeah, we're not even bothering to convert that because we're not getting it stateside. Heck, we don't even know if that's good!). But the real story? Monster torque. Thanks to 500 Nm, it accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.
4th Gear: Audi Urban Concept Drops Its Top
This is the Audi Urban Concept Spyder — the drop-top version of Audi's radical city car, due to be unveiled at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. What else is there to say about this latest Audi concept? Frankly, not much: it's pretty much the same as the coupe shown earlier this month, but with a low window area and doors that open diagonally to the top.
5th Gear: Bugatti Plans To Continue Producing World's Fastest Cars
Wolfgang Durheimer, who took over as combined boss of Bugatti and Bentley in spring 2011, told CAR magazine in an interview this week that being the fastest was a cornerstone of the modern Bugatti philosophy. "It is vital that Bugatti produces the world's fastest car," Durheimer said. And he vowed that if a rival came along and made a car faster than a Veyron, the company would respond — as it did when the SSC Aero overtook the Veyron. Molsheim reacted by launching the 268mph Super Sport. Hey Hennessey, are you listening?
6th Gear: Rent-A-Seven Expands To Eight UK Locations
Caterham's legendary Seven sportscar is now available for hire from eight locations in the UK. Now the self-styled ultimate ‘race car for the road' can be experienced for little more than the cost of hiring a regular car, with prices starting from £175 a day. Running until the end of October each year, the Hire-A-7 service is available from Caterham South, Surrey; Caterham Midlands, Leicester; Open Road Hire, Scottish Highlands; Mark on Europe, Swindon; Seven Hire, Gloucestershire. Most recently, Roadsport Hire in Yorkshire, Highlands Caterham Hire in Scotland and Hire 7, Northern Ireland, have joined the initiative. I can't help but notice that none of those locations are in the United States. Sad Ray is sad.
⏎ U.S. to pay $11 million for cleanup at Ford Rouge complex. [Automotive News]
⏎ Silence, Please, for the Electric Camaro Drag Racer. [New York Times]
⏎ New York City Prevails in Prospect Park West Bike Lane Challenge. Ugh. [Observer]
⏎ Fiat 500 By Gucci Confirmed For U.S. [Motor Authority]
⏎ New ICON Bronco! [Autoholics]
⏎ Aspiring Brooklyn rapper found dead in SUV in New Jersey. [NY1]
Today in Automotive History:
Charles F. Kettering, co-founder of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO) in Dayton, Ohio, is issued U.S. Patent No. 1,150,523 for his "engine-starting device"—the first electric ignition device for automobiles—on August 17, 1915. [History]
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