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: Audi A1 Quattro Is King Of Steak Sauce
Audi is saying "King me" to its A1 model with an exclusive top-of-the-line king-of-steak-sauce model. It's called the A1 quattro and its two-liter, turbocharged 256 HP and 258 lb-ft o' torque hotness is limited to just 333 units. If you're in Europe and you want one, better act fast, because they've also got a 152 MPH top speed on top of the limited production run.
2nd Gear: Base Model Tesla Model S Sedan To Cost $49,900 After Federal Tax Credit
Tesla Motors said the top-of-the-line, 300 miles-per-charge version of the Model S electric sedan will cost as much as $92,400 when it goes on sale in 2012. The car, set to be built in Fremont, California, at the former Toyota-GM NUMMI plant, with deliveries beginning in mid-2012, will also have a 160 miles-per-charge base model with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack that will cost $57,400 without accessories, according to Tesla. A mid-grade version that can go 230 miles per charge will have a base price of $67,400. All grades of the car will snag the $7,500 federal tax credit. So your net price will be a steal-of-a-deal $49,900.
3rd Gear: Amp Electrifies A Jeep Grand Cherokee For Detroit
Amp Electric Vehicles, the Ohio-based company that built a plug-in conversion of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover in 2010, is branching out with an electric version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee coming to the Detroit Auto Show in January. The New York Times also says they expect the company to release final pricing and introduce its first dealer. Next year we're expecting a version of the Maserati SUV being unveiled at this year's Detroit Auto Show that's built off the Grand Cherokee platform. That electric conversion? It'll be from Amperati, Amp's Italian cousin. We're just sure of it.
4th Gear: Honda Won't Be Increasing North American Production By 40%
Bloomberg reports that Honda is denying a report by the Wall Street Journal that the company will increase production capacity in North America by as much as 40%. The Journal reported earlier today that Honda will shift a big chunk of its manufacturing to North America over the next two years because building cars has become too expensive to ship overseas due to the gains in the yen, citing Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda's top executive in North America. Iwamura "didn't say 40% increase at all," Tomoko Uchida, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based carmaker, told Bloomberg today. Maybe it was one of those "lost in translation" things and he really meant 4%.
5th Gear: GM To Make Cadillac The New Buick In China
Bloomberg reports that General Motors plans to expand its Cadillac range in China to compete for affluent consumers currently buying BMW and Audi cars, according to Kevin Wale, the carmaker's China president. The Detroit-based automaker is targeting to increase production capacity in the country by as much as 40% in the next two years, he said in Shanghai today. This is not your father's Buick, eh?
6th Gear: Toyota NS4 Plug-In Hybrid Concept To Drop In Detroit
Great news! Toyota's got a history of hybrid concept cars dropping at the Detroit Auto Show — and next month's big-daddy of car shows looks to be no different. All we know so far is that it's called the NS4 and Toyota says it's "an advanced plug-in hybrid concept vehicle." Here's the teaser shot. We'll know more at the Toyota's news conference on Tuesday, January 10th at 8.45am in the Riverview Ballroom at Cobo Center. We'll be there. Even if it's just out of curiosity.
⏎ Detroit ruin porn now a Swatch product. [Curbed Detroit]
⏎ Matt Drudge's War Against The Chevy Volt. [Green Car Reports]
⏎ CES 2012: The unlikeliest car show. [CNet]
⏎ In Canada, a Car Built in China. [New York Times]
⏎ Bob Lutz to Announce World's First eREV Pickup Truck, SUV and Van by VIA Motors at Detroit Auto Show. [Press Release via Marketwatch]
⏎ Next Laguna could be a crossover. [Autocar]
⏎ Henry Ford Museum revamps auto displays, with ‘Driving America' opening soon. [Washington Post]
⏎ BMW-Audi Battle Turns on China Replacing Germany as No. 2. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Wolfgang Egger takes over design of the Audi brand. [New Fleet]
⏎ The Auto Industry's Biggest Question in 2012. [Motley Fool]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1967, the film "The Graduate" opens at two theaters in New York: the Coronet on Third Avenue and the Lincoln Art Theater on Broadway. The film, based on a 1963 novel by Charles Webb, had a simple premise: As its screenwriter explained it, "this kid graduates college, has an affair with his parents' best friend, and then falls in love with the friend's daughter." (It was, he added, "the best pitch I ever heard.") In other words, "The Graduate" was an uneasy exploration of what it meant to be young and adrift at a time of extraordinary confusion and upheaval. The film was a hit: The New Yorker called it "the biggest success in the history of movies," while The Saturday Review said it was "not merely a success; it has become a phenomenon." It earned $35 million in the first six months it was onscreen (by contrast, it cost just $3 million to make) and became the highest-grossing movie of 1968. [History]