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: Lincoln Will Buy You Dinner If You Would Just Please Drive The New 2013 MKZ
Ford Chief Marketing Officer Jim Farley and Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields want you to drive a 2013 Lincoln MKZ so badly they're willing to buy you dinner and give you a free 48 hour test drive of the new "luxury" sedan from FoMoCo's blue-haired brand. On top of that, they also plan on running a 24-hour online concierge service to buyers. The news came yesterday as Lincoln unveiled the new 2013 MKZ midsize sedan at a press event ahead of the New York Auto Show. While Farley and Fields are fully willing to hand over their credit cards to wannabe buyers, we're waiting to see whether CEO Alan Mulally's willing to lend his two partners-in-Lincoln-crime the corporate charge card to do anything more than Camry-ize the MKZ.
2nd Gear: Every 1-Series M Coupe Has Been Spoken For
Car&Driver reported yesterday that your window to buy one of today's coolest cars has closed: BMW's no longer taking orders for the 1-series M coupe. Production will continue until summer, but all cars are spoken for. The awesome rear-driver will then make room in BMW's Leipzig plant for new derivatives of the 1-series. There's still some hope we'll get a car like the 135i M Performance concept unveiled in Geneva. That screamer would be powered by the single-turbo N55 engine. It'll have to do.
3rd Gear: GM To Kill Chevy Volt Production For Extra Week In July
General Motors plans to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant for three weeks in July, instead of the traditional two-week shutdown. "This is (a) normal part of business as managing to market demand," GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho told the Detroit Free Press in an e-mail. Volt production has been idled for a five-week stretch through April 23 because sales of the plug-in extended-range electric vehicle have sucked. That said, Malcho confirmed that GM sold more than 2,000 Volts in March. We'll find out how many more when sales figures are released this morning.
4th Gear: Land Rover Wants An Even More Expensive Range Rover
Autocar says that Land Rover is pretty confident that a new, more expensive Range Rover can help protect its foothold in the super-luxury SUV segment prior to the launch of forthcoming rivals from Bentley, Lamborghini and Aston Martin Lagonda. The firm tested the waters for an uber-priced Range Rover with the 2011 Autobiography Ultimate Edition, and the success of that model has encouraged Land Rover to push the Mk4 Range Rover into a higher price segment. "The Ultimate Edition shows there's an opportunity to go up a notch in price," said brand director John Edwards. "We tested the market for a reason. We always learn for future models."
5th Gear: Carl Edwards Whips Ford Engineers Around Track In A SHO Taurus
Ford's launched a new series of TV ads for the 2013 Taurus SHO starring Nascar driver Carl Edwards whipping nine Ford engineers around Infineon Raceway in California. All nine of the engineers thought they would be filming a plain Jane television commercial for the 2013 Ford Taurus. Instead, they got a rare opportunity to experience firsthand how Ford's flagship sedan goes sideways when a Nascar driver takes it to a track. The part that I like best is how each engineer is wearing a helmet, but Edwards, for some odd reason, isn't.
6th Gear: My Name Is Ram, My Logo Is Chrome
The boys at Chrysler have unveiled another couple of teaser images of the new 2013 Ram 1500 pickup ahead of the unveil at midnight-plus-one on Thursday here at the New York Auto Show. The new teasers give a better look at the stylized Ram badge that'll be the centerpiece of the pickup's grille. And that's about all we've got.
⏎ Chrysler's sales rise 34%. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Hybrid Sports-Car Maker Fisker Completes $392 Million Fundraising. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ A Mammal's Evolution, Documented in Chrome. [New York Times]
⏎ Can Chevy's 'historic' agency setup really work? [Automotive News]
⏎ Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 laps the Nürburgring in less than 9 minutes. [AutoWeek]
⏎ Honda pioneered U.S. 'transplant' auto factories. [USA Today]
⏎ PSA sells Paris head office building for $327 million to lower debt. [Automotive News]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet's arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America's imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad. [History]
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