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: Chevy Volt Soon To Get California Car-Pool Lane Access
The Wall Street Journal reports that Chevy engineers have made modifications to the Volt's exhaust system and expect by March to begin selling models that meet California's stringent emissions standards. That's important for two reasons. First, it'll allow California buyers to qualify for a $1,500 state rebate on top of a $7,500 federal tax break. But more importantly, the new models, which General Motors plans to begin building on Feb. 6, will reward Volt owners with something even better: Unlimited access to car-pool lanes. Charging across to the other side of the country, GM CEO Dan Akerson agreed yesterday to testify in front of a U.S. House panel next week looking into how safety regulators handled an investigation into Volt fire risks.
2nd Gear: 2013 Beetle TDI Heads To Chicago, 2013 Golf To Paris
Volkswagen, hot off the heels of a cool teaser for their latest foray into Super Bowl advertising, has announced that the 2013 Beetle TDI will debut at next month's Chicago Auto Show. No details have been unveiled yet but everyone pretty much knows that it'll get the 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-banger already found under the hood of the Golf, Jetta and Passat. In those three Volkswagens, the engine's puttin' down 140 HP and 236 lb-ft o' glorious torque. We're also told by German magazine Vau-Max that the 2013 Golf will be unveiled at this year's Paris Motor Show.
3rd Gear: Pininfarina Shoots Another Teaser All Over The Top Of The Cambiano
With a month and a half left until its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, the teasing of Pininfarina's new Cambiano concept car continues with more closely cropped teaser photos. Like this one from above. Yay.
4th Gear: Dealers Mining For Used Cars, Trucks
Although your car might be getting older and older, it only means that there's better opportunities to cash in on it. A three-year shortage of used vehicles, caused by the collapse of the economy in 2008 and subsequent plunge in new-vehicle sales, is forcing most dealers to look far beyond trade-ins and auto auctions as they're now forced to basically be "mining" for used cars and trucks.
5th Gear: Mitsubishi Teases New Car, Design Language Ahead Of Geneva Motor Show
Mitsubishi plans to launch an all-new vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and has released this teaser image of the car's front-end design. The new offering has been described by Mitsubishi as ‘an innovative premium vehicle' that will go on sale later this year and is designed to herald a new renaissance of the Mitsubishi design language. Hmm. We'll believe that when we see it — at least here in the U.S. market anyway.
6th Gear: Tesla To Unveil Latest Vaporware On February 9th
Tesla's not even building the Model S sedan yet — or even come up with a replacement for the soon-to-be-dead Roadster — but that's not stopping Elon Musk from unveiling the electric automaker's next big thing. Yes, like an ADD-addled child without Adderall, Tesla plans to unveil its third vehicular form factor on February 9th — the Model X crossover. Sigh.
⏎ Check out the brochure for the Camaro ZL1. [Camaro5]
⏎ The Peel, world's smallest car, now available new. [Hooniverse]
⏎ Pump And Dump: Did An Autoblog Writer Put Ethics On The Auction Block? [The Truth About Cars]
⏎ Study confirms that Toyota unintended acceleration issue was not an electronic malfunction. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ A ‘Matchmaker' for Drivers and Parking Spaces. [New York Times]
⏎ Auto Plants at Capacity Buoying All Parts of U.S. Economy. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Why a big, light pickup didn't make sense to GM. [Automotive News]
⏎ Sale of Dutch luxury carmaker moving forward. [Detroit News]
⏎ 20,000 Ford salaried workers get both raise, bonus. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ GM dropped as top pick in U.S. autos by Morgan Stanley. [Automotive News]
⏎ Hyundai Doubles Down on Ad Slot Right Before Super Bowl Kickoff. [AdAge]
⏎ Toyota Prius wagon sales in 10 weeks top GM Volt total for 2011. [Automotive News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 2007, Beijing, China, the capital city of the planet's most populous nation, gets its first drive-through McDonald's restaurant. The opening ceremony for the new two-story fast-food eatery, located next to a gas station, included traditional Chinese lion dancers and a Chinese Ronald McDonald. According to a report from The Associated Press at the time of the Beijing drive-through's debut: "China's double-digit economic growth has created a burgeoning market for cars, fast food and other consumer goods. The country overtook Japan last year to become the world's second-biggest vehicle market after the U.S., with 7.2 million cars sold, a 37 percent growth." [History]