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: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
Although Steve Jobs may have used the Porsche 928 as the inspiration for the first Macintosh, his impact, and the impact of Apple, the computer company he created, has had more of an impact on the automotive industry than cars ever had on the products Apple built. From infotainment systems to concept cars to, like, every car Volkswagen makes, it's hard not to find Apple's influence in our industry. And I'll always remember him as the Steve Jobs riding his BMW bike in that shot up top — two years ahead of the release of the first Macintosh.
2nd Gear: McLaren Halts Shipment Of MP4-12C
McLaren has apparently halted shipment of their MP4-12C super car. McLaren tells us that they're still building cars but not shipping them to dealers until they sort out a software upgrade, which we hope to have done by the end of the month. According to McLaren, none of the production cars have yet come stateside and despite two crashes, the company swears that this shipment stoppage is not safety related.
3rd Gear: Toyota Auto Production Back To Pre-Tsunami Levels
The AP is reporting today that Toyota's global vehicle production has recovered to pre-tsunami levels, Japan's top automaker said Thursday. Toyota initially said it didn't expect production to return to normal until late this year, first saying in June that production would be nearly back to normal in July. In August, ToMoCo said it would be completely recovered in September — and now, here they are, back to maximum production. They'll need it. Toyota, which was the world's biggest automaker in annual vehicle sales last year, sank to third place in the first half of this year, trailing U.S. rival General Motors and Germany's Volkswagen.
4th Gear: Computer Security Industry Looking To Hack Automakers Wallets
Computer-security companies and researchers are now focusing on a new money-making scare: your car. "Hacking into your banking account and stripping your identity from your account is a big issue," says Jack Pokrzywa, director of ground-vehicle standards for SAE International in Troy, Michigan, which develops automotive-engineering guidelines. "This happens to be a moving object," Pokrzywa told Bloomberg. Literally. It's also a ridiculous threat right now — with the scaremongers seemingly only interested in selling car companies on anti-virus software and consulting.
5th Gear: Imaginary Companies Showing Imaginary Interest In Saab
According to Bloomberg, Saab Automobile said unnamed companies are "showing interest" in partnering with the Swedish carmaker as it works through a court-approved reorganization. "Several companies are showing interest in Saab right now," spokesman Eric Geers said by telephone. "We of course have a binding agreement with Pangda and Youngman." Saab still expects Chinese authorities to make a ruling on the proposed partnerships with Pangda Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman on Oct. 14, Geers said. But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
6th Gear: UAW Bonuses Going In One Pocket And Out The Other
So, it turns out that unions are good for the economy. At least the local economy of Metro Detroit. The Detroit News reports this morning that signing and profit-sharing bonuses for hourly workers at Detroit's Big Three will give autoworkers some spending cash in time for the holidays, and that will likely pump an estimated $200 million into the Michigan economy starting next month. Metro Detroit businesses say they expect a much-needed boost in sales - and some stores already report an uptick in spending even ahead of receipt of the bonus checks. Glad to see we're again saving up for rainy days.
⏎ Driving the Remains of Sicily's Targa Florio Circuit. [New York Times]
⏎ CAW pressured by Ford-UAW deal. [Montreal Gazette]
⏎ Ghosn launches Renault-Nissan expansion in Brazil to double market share. [Automotive News]
⏎ Auto Makers Are Warming Up to Car Sharing. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Renault Twizy Colour announced. [Auto Express]
⏎ "Minimum Bob" ascends to the Delusional Thinking Hall of Fame [Autoextremist]
Today in Automotive History:
The last segment of the Natchez Trace Parkway's Double Arch Bridge is put into place on October 6, 1993. The $11 million, 1,572-foot–long bridge carries the parkway over Route 96 near Franklin, Tennessee. It was the first precast segmental concrete arch bridge to be built in the United States. (These bridges are more cost-efficient than traditional ones, because workers at the bridge site simply need to assemble concrete pieces that have already been cast.) [History]
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