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: 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible Coming To Detroit Auto Show? Probably Not.
Two months after they unveiled the 650 HP 2013 Shelby GT500 coupe, TopSpeed claims Ford plans to unveil the 2013 Shelby GT500 convertible at next month's Detroit Auto Show. Seems like a strange place — Detroit in the middle of winter — to unveil a new high-powered convertible, doesn't it? Especially given we'll see the 2013 Ford Fusion and some kind of Lincoln concept unveiled there, one would think Ford's already got its hands full. Sorry guys, that's just not gonna happen.
2nd Gear: Acura NSX To Get 400 HP, Honda Badge In Non-U.S. Markets
AutoExpress has more details this morning on the Acura NSX that we first told you was set to be revealed at next month's Detroit Auto Show. In addition to the claim we first made of a hybrid powertrain, they tell us the car will hit 400 bhp thanks to a 3.5-liter V6 engine driving one axle and a pair of in-wheel electric motors to turn the other — confirming what we, and others, had said, that the car would get a hybrid four-wheel-drive setup capable of a 0-to-62 time of under five seconds. Although we've already seen spy shots of a concept car on the set of the new Avengers movie, that was a drop-top and the version shown in Detroit will be a coupe, but the final production version will also be offered as a roadster. They also claim that the NSX will be badged as a Honda when it arrives in the UK, and retain its forebear's NSX name. We can't wait to see it in just over a week.
3rd Gear: The Hottest New Reveal At The Detroit Auto Show Won't Be A Car
But never mind the NSX. The reveal at next month's Detroit Auto Show that we're really excited about is the new CTX. With automatic traction control, electronic fuel management, cruise control and cupholders, it's got a feature-set that sounds straight out of the mid-size sedan segment. But it's not. It's a lawn tractor from Craftsman. Yup. No infotainment system is available, at least not yet. But the New York Times tells us that "future models will have a plug-in for the iPod." But, as Jim Motavalli tells us, the CTX's Briggs & Stratton motor produces 30 horsepower — that should get it a top speed of about eight miles an hour. The new entry, on sale at Sears stores in February, sounds like a great entry for thw United States Lawn Mower Racing Association. Craftsman will have a booth in the auto show's lobby area — look for the CTX there.
4th Gear: Is Dany Bahar Killing Lotus?
More investors are now wondering out loud whether Proton, the Malaysian automaker, should continue to own the Lotus brand. More importantly, how is it that Proton continues to sink money into Lotus CEO Dany Bahar's strange strategy that throws away the only thing that's allowed Lotus to stay relevant over the years — lightweight frames? Especially given Bloomberg telling us earlier this week that unloading its U.K. unit gives it room to invest in production facilities as the automaker faces mounting domestic competition from Toyota and Perusahaan Otomobil. Sounds like Proton may be better off without Lotus. Especially a Lotus with Bahar as its CEO. Not that we're biased or anything.
5th Gear: 10,000 Cars Damaged In Christmas Day Hail Storm
Did you park outside in Melbourne, Australia on Christmas Day? If you did — you're screwed. At least 10,000 vehicles were damaged in Melbourne's Christmas Day hail storms, with GoAuto telling us that insurers expect even more claims to be lodged as holiday-makers return home to discover damage over the next two weeks. Piling more misery atop the heaping pile of sadness was that the hail was accompanied by torrential rain — so owners of vehicles with smashed glass got even more screwed. Merry Christmas!
6th Gear: 2012 Toyota Camry Snags "Recommended" Rating From Consumer Reports
Bloomberg reports that the new 2012 Toyota Camry won a "recommended" review from Consumer Reports magazine. "The Camry has a nicer interior, more responsive handling, and better fuel economy than before," the reporters of consumer stuff said. "In fact, the four-cylinder model's 27 mpg overall ties with the Hyundai Sonata for the best fuel economy among conventional gasoline-powered family sedans." Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for 13 of the past 14 years, and the Japan-based automaker vowed to retain that position despite only targeting U.S. sales of 360,000 Camrys next year, below 2007's record of 473,108.
⏎ Chrysler launches an even snazzier 300. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, creator of Rat Fink: A son remembers. [LA Times]
⏎ Advocates: Bring back car charger tax credit. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Chrysler 300's luxury version gets upgraded interior. [Automotive News]
⏎ McLaren's New Formula. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Calif. dealer challenges new Volkswagen franchise. [Automotive News]
⏎ Ford Focus and BMW X3 are Free Press Car and Truck of the Year. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Early-Adopter Pilots Drive Volts and Leafs. [New York Times]
⏎ Ranger-based SUV wagon named as Everest in Ford Australia test web page. [GoAuto]
⏎ What GM Needs in 2012. [The Motley Fool]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1989, 20-year-old actor Christian Slater is arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles, California. He had a blood-alcohol level of .24, or .24 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood—three times the legal limit in California. Slater's arrest came after a predawn car chase—he was driving 50 MPH in a 35-MPH zone—that ended when he crashed his Saab into a tree. He spent 10 days in jail. [History]