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: Will Ford Escape MyFordTouch Problems?
Mark Phelan at the Detroit Free Press raises concern this morning again about the "potentially troublesome feature" that is MyFordTouch. The system replaces many traditional dials, switches and buttons with a flat panel. Last year, the "feature earned a damning review by Consumer Reports and sent Ford tumbling from the top of JD Power's initial quality rankings. But now things could get worse with MyFordTouch about to debut on the Fusion midsize sedan, Ford's best-selling car and the 2013 Escape, Ford's best-selling crossover SUV. To make things even more confusing, the Escape's version of the system has some different controls but the same name. Oy. When will the madness end? Just bring back our knobs, switches, and buttons, dammit!
Hyundai made a big splash at the Super Bowl three years ago with the mid-financial-crisis "Hyundai Guarantee." This year their big game strategy is more funny than financially sound motoring purchases. More »
3rd Gear: Lotus Sale Possibly Coming In Next Few Months
A report in yesterday's Sunday Times indicates Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar is looking for financial partners in order to buy the British sports car maker from current owners Proton — who've had control of Lotus since 1996. The Times' report suggests Bahar wants a partner with a good $785 million in funding for Lotus's future model plans. Given the ludicrously ambitious nature of those plans — we somehow don't think that's gonna be enough money to make it happen. More likely? Someone like Genii Capital, which already owns the Lotus F1 team, could pick up the company and — hopefully — jettison Bahar in the process. Genii has been examining the Lotus business for some time and is ‘close to completing due diligence'. If true, both potential buyers are positioning themselves for a possible Lotus sale within the next few months. Hey, Proton, if you're listening? Please don't give it to Bahar. Please.
4th Gear: Full Details On GM's Super Bowl Commercial Shuffle
We've finally got the details on GM's Super Bowl ad blitz. According to the Detroit Free Press, they will have a total of seven commercials — rather than five from last year. The Freep says the Chevy Sonic will get two sixty-second ads, the Volt and Silverado will each get a slot and there's also the Camaro in there somewhere. Except that might be used for the 60-second ad from that Long Island kid who won that contest. And then there's also the Cadillac ATS ad.
5th Gear: Toyota "Reinvents" Itself In Super Bowl Ad For 2012 Camry
So Toyota's got a Super Bowl ad too. It features a time-travelling baby that doesn't poop, models in bikinis pretending to be a couch, and a bunch of other "reinvented" things. It also has a 2012 Camry. One of the things in the commercial has not been "reinvented." Can you guess which one it is? That's right — the Camry! Like every other car in an increasingly more appliance-like segment, it's just as beige as ever. But — hey, if an automaker says a car's "reinvented" — it has to be true, right? Jeez, even the Audi ad where they're killing vampires has more to do with the car than this one. At least that one mentions a feature on the vehicle.
6th Gear: Winkelmann: No Turbocharged Lamborghinis This Decade
Autocar reports that Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann says the automaker's not planning to turn to turbocharging this decade — but has refused to rule out the switch in the longer term. "For the time being it will not happen," said Winkelmann. "For this decade, I don't see it happening in the super sport car business — although I would also caution against saying it could never happen." That means the next generation Gallardo — which Winkelmann says will be unveiled "at least two years down the road" won't get a turbocharged engine at launch. But sources at Audi, who are developing the sister R8, suggest the car may get turbocharged engine options from midway through its lifespan, which would be towards the end of the decade. So Winkelmann could be spot on.
⏎ Volt is politically charged. [Automotive News]
⏎ 'Really cool' Driving America exhibit opens with glitzy gala. [Detroit News]
⏎ Joseph Mattioli, Who Gave Up Dentistry to Build Pocono Raceway, Dies at 86. [New York Times]
⏎ 'Truck of the year' Evoque gets cold shoulder from Consumer Reports. [Automotive News]
⏎ In a Post-Bankruptcy World, Hunting the Elusive Saab Bargain. [New York Times]
⏎ Henry Ford Museum opening revamped auto displays. [Detroit News]
⏎ Jobs, Jobs and Cars. [New York Times]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1920, Jujiro Matsuda (1875-1952) forms Toyo Cork Kogyo, a business that makes cork, in Hiroshima, Japan; just over a decade later the company produces its first automobile and eventually changes its name to Mazda. Today, Mazda is known for its affordable, quality-performance vehicles, including the Miata, the world's best-selling two-seat roadster. [History]