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: Chrysler Plans New 200, Dodge Avenger, Jeep Compass, Liberty
Rumors of the demise of the Dodge Avenger appear to have been greatly exaggerated if the Detroit Free Press is correct. They claim Chrysler plans to introduce new midsize sedans to replace the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger — plus new versions of the Compass and Liberty for 2013. All four will be based on the platform that underpins the Dart — and all four will be built in Toledo, Ohio. "It's gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car," Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in an interview. Look Sergio, Fiat's compact platform may have birthed the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, but that certainly don't make it a sports car. Just sayin'... but didn't Chrysler already try the K-Car strategy once before?
2nd Gear: Special "P***y Magnet" Yellow Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Debuts In Qatar
Another day, another new special edition of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. This latest one-off, unveiled in Qatar, takes what Bugatti describes as — thanks to its 252-mph top speed — the world's fastest convertible, to a Nick Hogan-like level with a black and "P***y Magnet" yellow paint job. Inside there's matching yellow-tinted leather with black stitching on the seats, dashboard, steering wheel and gearshift. The center console is covered in black carbon fiber. Not a single change has been made to the drivetrain so output from the car's quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16 engine sits at the same astonishing 1,001-horsepower mark. This one-off marks just one of the 150 Grand Sports destined for production — and apparently, according to Motor Authority, 105 are still unaccounted for. But expect some of those units to be set aside for the upcoming Veyron Grand Super Sport, expected to debut this March at the Geneva Motor Show. Pricing starts at $2.05 million.
3rd Gear: Electric Cars Outsold Hybrids Two-To-One In China
According to Auto Blog Green and the China Automotive Review, China consumers bought twice as many battery-electric vehicles last year than hybrids, citing the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Wow, right? No, not really. Automakers only sold 5,655 BEVs and 2,713 hybrids in 2011, according to CAAM statistics. Hmm, maybe it's because they're too busy building them to bring to the Detroit Auto Show for our own Matt Hardigree to take on illegal test drives.
4th Gear: The Itty-Bitty Mini Rocketman Is Dead
Car is reporting that Mini has pulled the plug on its mini Mini, the tiny city car previewed by the Rocketman concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. According to Car, it was decided that the investment needed to engineer a small car that satisfied "current regulations" was prohibitive. For purposes of comparison, the Rocketman concept is a foot shorter than the current Mini Cooper and four inches shorter than a Fiat 500.
5th Gear: Malibu-Making UAW Local Authorizes Strike Vote Against GM
The Detroit Free Press reports that a UAW local at General Motors' Fairfax, Kansas, plant will hold a strike authorization vote Thursday after workers rejected a local labor contract last Friday. Apparently, about 66% of production workers and 58% of skilled-trades workers voted against the proposed contract. Yeah, bet they didn't see that one coming, did they? Especially considering they just shipped the first 2013 Chevy Malibu last week.
6th Gear: When Did An El Camino Become A Chrysler Minivan?
Phil Patton at the New York Times is SO right: "Why would an album called "El Camino" carry a photograph of a Chrysler minivan on the cover? Such are the incongruities that rob car enthusiasts of their sleep." I can't tell you how many times I've thought this since I saw that album cover. Read more here.
⏎ Which Chrysler product(s) will get the Super Bowl ad boost? [Automotive News]
⏎ A Gumballer Goes Down. [The Smoking Tire]
⏎ Ford Expects Fusion to Grab Profits Without Camry's Crown. [Bloomberg]
⏎ 'World's cheapest car' tag backfires for Nano. [AFP via HindustanTimes]
⏎ OnStar eyes service to help Volt owners maximize renewable energy use. [Automotive News]
⏎ BMW Opens Registration For ActiveE Electric Car Leases. [Green Car Congress]
⏎ A Volkswagen Bus With No Junk in Its Trunk. [New York Times]
⏎ "Achtung" meets "Mais oui" in Tennessee. [Fortune]
⏎ Hyundai Rattles VW in Europe With Low Prices After Winning in U.S. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Chrysler Dealers Provide 3-Month SiriusXM Subscription on Pre-Owned Vehicles. [CBS Local]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1871, Albert Russell Erskine, who headed up the pioneering American automaker Studebaker before it went bankrupt during the Great Depression, is born in Huntsville, Alabama. [History]
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