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: While I'm unveiling the official "Jalopnik Staff Cruiser" tonight ahead of tomorrow's Woodward Dream Cruise, our own Justin Hyde is out at Pebble Beach chronicling the latest and greatest in pretentious luxury offerings (like the just-revealed Cadillac Ciel concept). All weekend, while I'm cruising down Metro Detroit's M-1, Justin will be out at Pebble. Follow him here and me here. Also, if you want to see our "Staff Cruiser" unveiled in person, sign up to come out to the Jalopnik Detroit Meetup tonight at 7:45 PM. The first 25 people to come out and tweet a picture of the car — with the hashtag in the car window — get a free Jalopnik bumper sticker.
2nd Gear: This is Kia's new four-door sports sedan concept. It's supposed to signal the company's distinctive new design direction that tries to marry sleek and muscular proportions with a sophisticated and elegant cockpit. Kia's new concept will have its world premiere at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. By the way, its name? We think it's just "Kia four-door sports sedan concept car." Seriously. There's nary another word provided on what we should call it. But whatever you may call it — and for real, give us some ideas here — we have only one word to describe it — hot.
3rd Gear: In an attempt by Audi to double its U.S. sales, Bloomberg reports that they're dropping the sticker price of its redesigned A6 to grab more market share. The new A6, now in its first full month of sales, starts at $41,700, the company said on its website, down from $45,200 for the previous model. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's 5-Series line, which outsells the A6 almost fivefold in the U.S., starts at $45,050, and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans start at $49,400 and outsell the Audi model almost 6-to-1. Volkswagen aims to double luxury sales in the U.S. to 200,000 — in league with BMW, Mercedes and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus — by 2018 as part of its plan to become the world's biggest automaker. While the compact A4 cars and Q5 sport-utility vehicle accounts for half of Audi's U.S. sales, boosting sales volume for the A6 will increase exposure of the brand to influential consumers beyond its full-size A8 and stretched A8L.
4th Gear: Bloomberg reports this morning that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India's biggest maker of sport utility vehicles, toppled Tata Motors Ltd. as India's biggest automaker by market value after slumping passenger car demand dragged down Tata's shares. Tata Motor's Jaguar deliveries have declined this year as the European debt crisis and signs of slowing economic growth in the U.S. eroded demand for luxury vehicles. The automaker, whose overseas sales account for about 73% of total revenue, has dropped 44% this year, while rival Mahindra, which exports about 5% of its vehicles abroad, has declined 7%.
5th Gear: Infiniti seems to think the world needs another seven-passenger, three-row luxury crossover, and Autoblog's got first photos of the JX concept from Pebble Beach. The production model debuts at this fall's LA Auto Show with sales set to begin Spring of 2012. Thanks to three rows of seats, the JX has specs sure to appeal to families looking for a premium alternative to other premium alternatives to an SUV. SUVs, of course, were long a premium alternative to minivans. And minivans, of course, being premium alternatives to wagons. Wagons, of course, were discarded for being far superior to all other forms of transportation and... wait... where were we? Ah, yes, here's a new crossover. Moving on...
6th Gear: This is the new 2013 Lexus GS, which has just been officially revealed at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Moving on.
⏎ Japan Auto Outlook Cut at Goldman on Slowing U.S. Growth. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Lexus compact SUV D-day nears. [GoAuto]
⏎ Tom Walsh: Republican Matt Blunt leads bipartisan voices proclaiming the truth about Detroit 3. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Disabled ex-Nummi workers get severance settlement. [SFGate]
⏎ Volkswagen Sees No Slowdown In Demand For Cars. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Analysts cutting car sales forecasts. [Bloomberg via Detroit Free Press]
Today in Automotive History:
In front of some 12,000 spectators, automotive engineer Louis Schwitzer wins the two-lap, five-mile inaugural race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 19, 1909. [History]
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