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: Travis Pastrana To Drive New Dodge Dart Rally Car In Global RallyCross Championship Series
Dodge and the SRT Motorsports brand announced that the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart rally car will be piloted by four-time Rally America Champion and 17-time X Games Gold Medalist Travis Pastrana in the 2012 Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) Series. The Dart rally car will be powered by a purpose-built, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve turbo-charged 600-horsepower engine mated to a Sedav 4-wheel drive gear box that puts out more than 550 lb.-ft. of torque. So, basically, everything we wish we could get in the production Dodge Dart.
2nd Gear: Porsche To Recall All 2012 911 Carrera S' For Potential Fiery Death!
Porsche Cars North America said it plans to recall 1,232 2012 911 Carrera S' for potential fuel leaks that could lead to a fire. Fire, as you know, could lead to fiery death! Porsche launched the 2012 911 Carrera in the United States on Feb. 4 — and the first report of fuel leakage was made on Feb. 10th — just six days later. Porsche said it will retrofit vehicles with a spacer ring to prevent contact with a coolant pipe. Porsche said it is not aware of any crashes or fires and will begin notifying customers next month.
3rd Gear: Volkswagen Will Plop Out A Smaller-Than-CC Four-Door "Coupe-Like" Sedan
Volkswagen plans to offer a new, smaller-than-CC four-door sedan with coupelike styling — according to what sources have told Automotive News. Positioned below the CC, this new four-seater will form part of the Jetta lineup in about 2015, joining successors to today's sedan and wagon models in an expanded three-model range. All will be produced in Puebla, Mexico. Internally, this new model is designated the SC, for "sport coupe."
4th Gear: GM To Build Cheap Version Of Volt Just For Europe
According to Autocar, Vauxhall will launch an entry-level version of the new Vauxhall Ampera range-extender electric car this summer. The as-yet unnamed entry-level model will join the Ampera Positiv and Electron models, which go on sale on May 1st. Well, maybe that means they'll be making a "budget" version of the Volt, it's Chevy kissin' cousin, too.
5th Gear: GM To Chop Ad Agencies To Save Billions
GM projects that consolidation of global marketing agencies from more than 100 to just a handful will save $2 billion over the next five years, a company spokesman said last week, confirming a figure that GM executives earlier had cited for Wall Street analysts. In coming days, Automotive News reminds us that GM is expected to name a few major agencies that will get nearly all Chevrolet's creative ad duties, as the automaker sheds most of the 70 or so companies that do Chevy work around the globe.
6th Gear: Arizona's Big B.J. Will Get A Permanent Horse Center
The big Barrett-Jackson auction will now have a permanent location to sell such amazing auctions as a fake JFK ambulance. The Scottsdale City Council has authorized a $40 million expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center. The move will create new expanded opportunities for new and existing equestrian shows and serve as the permanent main auction arena for the giant friggin' tent they've ben using for years.
⏎ At Home With Elon Musk: The (Soon-to-Be) Bachelor Billionaire. [Forbes]
⏎ When a Parking Lot Is So Much More. [New York Times]
⏎ Castroneves climbs to the top. [ESPN]
⏎ Sergio Marchionne: Resurrecting Chrysler. [CBS - 60 Minutes]
⏎ Hyundai's Crafty John Krafcik And His Last Major Challenge. [Forbes]
⏎ Mercedes ready for a shocking exit from Formula One. [FanIQ]
⏎ Recall Alert: 2012 GM Fullsize Vans. [PickupTrucks.com]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 2008, the Ford Motor Company announces the sale of its Jaguar and Land Rover divisions to the Tata Group, one of India's oldest and largest business conglomerates, for some $2.3 billion—less than half of what Ford originally paid for the brands. The sale came at a time when Ford, along with much of the rest of the auto industry, was experiencing a sales slump as a result of the global economic crisis. For Tata, which earlier that year had unveiled the Nano, the world's cheapest car, the purchase of the venerable British-based luxury brands was referred to by some observers as a "mass to class" acquisition. [History]