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: See The 2014 Corvette At Noon
Like we told you late last night, we secretly saw the C7 Corvette first-hand this weekend. You're going to want to be here at noon when we show you the images we've commissioned. They're as close as you're going to get to the real thing until it's officially unveiled in 14 months.
2nd Gear: The 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Pops To Top Of Pony Car War Horsepower Heap
The Koreans have finally released preliminary details on the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The news? the V6 engine with direct-injection technology now puts out an astonishing 350 HP and 295 lb-ft o' torque. That's not only an improvement of 43 HP and 29 lb-ft over the current V6 model, but it also takes the Genesis Coupe to the top of the horsepower heap in the Pony Car Wars over Detroit automakers' V6-powered ponies. For comparison purposes, the Dodge Challenger V6 and the Ford Mustang V6 have 305 HP, and the Chevy Camaro has 323 HP. Of course, we may be seeing the Mustang try to retake the lead later this week when Ford reveals the 2013 model year muscle car.
3rd Gear: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG's Name Makes Even Less Sense
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG makes its worldwide debut at this week's LA Auto Show, and here's what it looks like. The key message from Benz is that the combined fuel economy for the Super-UV is 16 mpg. Yes, seriously, that's the key message — because it's a 33% improvement over its predecessor. While that might sound like a lot, it's easy to do that when you replace a 6.2-liter engine with a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. While I might argue that the naming convention now is even more illogical than ever before, it's still got an output of 518 hp and torque of 516 lb-ft — an increase of 15 hp and 44 lb-ft over its predecessor. And you can't argue with that logic. Or with the available AMG Performance Package that boosts the V8 engine's power output to 550 hp and its maximum torque to 560 lb-ft.
4th Gear: Coo, Coo, Ca-Choo, Mrs. Robinson, Alfa Romeo Wants An MX-5 More Than You Will Know
AutoExpress reports this morning that Alfa Romeo's taking aim at the Mazda MX-5 with a two-seater sports car to replace the now-defunct Brera Spider. With a focus on less weight and more compact dimensions, the car is apparently supposed to be a true successor to the sixties ‘Graduate' Alfa Spider. Power for a roadster like this would likely come from a four-cylinder turbocharged gas engine — like, maybe a detuned version of the Giulietta Cloverleaf's 1.7-liter, delivering around 150 hp. The car will also, according to AutoExpress' Deep Throat, be a linchpin to Alfa's strategy when it returns to the US in 2013 after more than 15 years. We think it's more likely that these insiders might be talking about a 4C roadster, but that's just us.
5th Gear: All Your Car Sales Are Belong To Volkswagen?
Back in 2010, Volkswagen proclaimed, loud and proud, that they'd boost sales in the U.S. from around 213,000 cars in 2009 to an astonishing 800,000 in 2018. It's been about one year since the brand for the people set that target of a four-fold increase and although they had a hell of a year so far (and a 50% boost in sales this month from the same month a year ago), we're still wondering if that target'll ever be reached.
6th Gear: No, The U.S. Government Was Not "In The Room" During GM's UAW Negotiations
A United Auto Workers official who was quoted in a newsletter to members of his local as saying that a U.S. official was "in the room" during labor contract negotiations with General Motors is now, according to a Bloomberg report, calling that assertion a "misprint." Talk about the worst misprint ever.
⏎ Full 2013 Ford Mustang Teaser Image Leaked. [Mustang Evolution]
⏎ Fire Marshal Says NC Garage Fire Started Away From Chevy Volt. [Green Car Reports]
⏎ Nissan Leaf Unloved in Smog-Choked Hong Kong. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Jeep Patriot: Hooray for the Red, White and Bland. [New York Times]
⏎ More Cruze and less Commodore equals less profit. [GoAuto]
⏎ Swedish Automobile May Liquidate as Debt May Trump Saab, Spyker Sales Cash. [Bloomberg]
⏎ We Build the Chevy Spark EV's AC Permanent-Magnet Motor. [Car and Driver]
⏎ Seat confirms electric program. [GoAuto]
⏎ Hyundai hopes Super Bowl ads boost brand image. [Detroit News]
⏎ Tata Motors Net Income Misses Analyst Estimates as Car Sales in India Drop. [Bloomberg]
⏎ It's been 20 years since the sad term "going Postal" was first coined. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
On November 14, 2006, state officials close the last two of Texas' famed Pig Stand restaurants, the only remaining pieces of the nation's first drive-in restaurant empire. The restaurants' owners were bankrupt, and they owed the Texas comptroller more than $200,000 in unpaid sales taxes. [History]
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