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: Porsche's new logotastic campus
New renderings for Porsche's North American HQ in Atlanta show a building that'll look like the Porsche logo from above for those flying into ATL. The new building will also feature a training center, store, and most importantly a test track for customers to "experience" the Porsche feel. Going to have to plan some longer layovers in Atlanta.
2nd Gear: VW wants to give you their "drive stick"
The Volkswagen eT! gives not only a glimpse of the upcoming VW Transporter van, it also features a full-electric powertrain with wheel-hub motors and something they're calling "drive stick." Essentially, it's a joystick on the passenger side that can be used to steer the vehicle. The concept envisions a future of delivery person in one of these vans hoping in the passenger seat joysticking from office-to-office. Not sure the full benefit of that yet other than as an awkward pickup line.
3rd Gear: Goodbye L.A. Auto Show
If you missed any of our L.A. Auto Show coverage you can recapture the madness on our L.A. Auto Show tag page. What you won't find is an explanation for what the hell is going on in the picture above from Getty Images. What is that man looking at? Why are his pants wet? He must be a dragon.
4th Gear: Occupy LA's one-man protest
Speaking of L.A., despite the scattering of a few journalists ahead of a rumored Occupy L.A. disruption at the LA Auto Show, they mostly didn't show up as their real target was the Wells Fargo Building. This didn't stop Derek D. He could be heard chanting "What do we want? Shrimp! When do we want it? 24 hours a day!"
5th Gear: VW To Replace Inline-Five With Turbo Four
Volkswagen plans to drop its naturally-aspirated inline-five from its U.S. lineup. To replace it? How about a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-banger. That's what two sources at the company have told Car & Driver. We're told the decision is partly based on a desire for higher fuel economy. Car & Driver goes on to say that a manual-transmission Jetta with the five is rated by the EPA at 23 mpg city/33 highway. The Jetta GLI, on the other hand, which is essentially the same car with a different rear suspension but uses the 2.0-liter turbo four is rated for 22/33 mpg. That would seem to make a compelling argument.
6th Gear: Audi A1 five-door is alive
The three-door Audi A1 is getting a "sportback" derivative. What, exactly, does "sportback" mean in Audi-speak for such a small car? Mostly an optional colored roof and an extra set of doors. It's still a handsome vehicle and still untouchable for us Americans. You can always buy a white S3 and wrap your roof in matte black vinyl. Actually, sort of surprised no one's done that yet.
⏎ Detroit Is the Only Place That Matters. [HuffPost Detroit]
⏎ GM's Dan Akerson: Europe debt crisis can threaten U.S. economy. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ The brains behind Austin's F1 bid spills his guts. [Statesman F1]
⏎ BMW buys a company that makes carbon fiber reinforced plastics. [BMW Pressroom]
⏎ Suzuki wants someone to mediate its divorce from VW. [Financial Times]
⏎ CNG Honda Civic wins "Green Car of the Year" despite being on sale in only a handful of states. [Detroit News]
⏎ Jon Sibal brings his sharp eye to the L.A. Auto Show floor. [JonSibal.com]
⏎ The "Serious Fraud Office" looking into Bernie Ecclestone bribe claims. [PITPASS]
Today in Automotive History: Volkswagen builds a dream factory
On this day in 1996, Volkswagen's 11-million-square-foot "dream factory" opened in Resende, Brazil. By using eight independent subcontractors instead of its own labor force — something VW called a "modular consortium" — VW substantially reduced costs by purchasing labor from the lowest bidders, including MWM/Cummins and Ford Motor Company. But controversy clouded the plant's success. The mastermind behind the modular consortium was a former GM employee who had taken GM's top-secret plans for a factory to be called "Plant X," which was suspiciously similar to the one VW eventually built. [History]
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