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: VW To Become King Of The World
Volkswagen will probably become the world's biggest carmaker this year, vaulting past Toyota and General Motors on gains in emerging markets and, you know, "thanks" to that whole earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. The German company's sales, third among carmakers in 2010, will probably rise 13% to 8.1 million vehicles this year, based on the average of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GM will likely remain second and Toyota, which led the industry for three consecutive years, will probably tumble behind the two rivals, according to the survey.
2nd Gear: 2013 Subaru WRX, STI Split From Impreza
Automotive News reports that Subaru will begin marketing its Impreza WRX and STI performance models separately from the conventional Impreza when the car is redesigned next month. That means the "Impreza" name will be dropped for the derivatives — but more importantly, they will get their own platforms when they are redesigned in 2013. The new strategy is designed to allow Subaru to focus on the redesigned Impreza's improved fuel economy and added interior space — important considerations in the compact car segment, said Bill Cyphers, senior vice president of sales for Subaru of America.
3rd Gear: Saab Kills Deal With Chinese Carmakers
According to Bloomberg, Swedish Automobile NV said it has given notice to terminate an agreement to sell a majority stake in Saab Automobile to two Chinese companies and rejected their offers to buy all of the European carmaker. Pang Da Automobile Trading Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. had "failed to confirm their commitment" to the agreement and provide bridge funding, Swedish Auto said in a statement yesterday. The Zeewolde, Netherlands-based carmaker also found subsequent conditional offers from the two companies on Oct. 19 and Oct. 22 to buy all of Saab "unacceptable," though discussions are continuing.
4th Gear: 2012 Ford F-150 Named "Truck Of Texas"
The 2012 Ford F-150 will be named the Truck of Texas this morning. It's the most prestigious award that's presented by the Texas Auto Writers Association (NAMBLA) at its annual Truck Rodeo in what is obviously the country's largest truck market. Hell, it's probably the biggest truck market in the world. But mostly I'm just happy to see a truck award being given to an actual truck — unlike some annual awards.
5th Gear: Citroen Trois Chevaux Is The New 2CV
According to Car Magazine, Citroen is working on a '3CV', a radical new entry-level model positioned between the C1 and C3. Basically, imagine the previous C2 pepped up with the same glittery polish that's made the DS3 such a success, and you're not far off from Citroen's new city car vision. Known in-house as Citroen Trois Chevaux (3CV), it reportedly captures the spirit of the quirky Ami 6, draws on the space efficiency of the 2CV and mimics the ride comfort of the hydropneumatically sprung GS.
6th Gear: Carlos Ghosn Comes Up With New Problems
Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said the biggest problem this year has been the yen's strength rather than the March 11 earthquake that led to parts shortages and output disruptions. The automaker will have to "hollow out" Japan production should the nation's currency remain strong, Ghosn told reporters in Yokohama today. "With the strength of the yen, there is no way to justify investing in Japan."
⏎ HDT Commodore VL/VE Group A is a Retro Throwback to the 1980s. [CarScoop]
⏎ Lieb's fall stuns M-B dealers. [Automotive News]
⏎ Jeff Gordon, Trevor Bayne caught up in ‘team orders' dispute. [Yahoo]
⏎ Pact Moves Toward Approval At Chrysler. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Cloud computing could transform car interiors. [Automotive News]
⏎ Ferrari Adds Cashmere for Drivers Demanding Unique Dress. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Dealers to states: Give us a shield. [Automotive News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1931, eight months ahead of schedule, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The 4,760-foot–long suspension bridge, the longest in the world at the time, connected Fort Lee, New Jersey with Washington Heights in New York City. "This will be a highly successful enterprise," FDR told the assembled crowd at the ceremony. "The great prosperity of the Holland Tunnel and the financial success of other bridges recently opened in this region have proven that not even the hardest times can lessen the tremendous volume of trade and traffic in the greatest of port districts." [History]
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