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: What Will The Lamborghini Deimos Be?
Car & Driver tells us that Lamborghini has filed paperwork to trademark the name "Deimos" for a new product. A son of Aphrodite in ancient Greek mythology, the god Deimos was the personification of terror and dread. What better name for a Lamborghini than the god of scaring the crap out of everyone, am I right? Lamborghini has used nearly all of the trademarks it has filed for recently, so we expect to see Deimos on a concept or production vehicle. The only question is when and on what. Well, we know Lambo's planning an SUV concept for the Beijing Motor Show and the Gallardo replacement, currently in development, will also need a badge. So there's two options.
2nd Gear: Land Rover Defender Sets Toyota Hilux As Cost, Durability, And Utilitarianism Target
Autocar says that when Land Rover drops a new Defender in 2015, the off-road brand expects it to become the marque's highest-selling model, according to brand boss John Edwards. The firm is targeting the Toyota Hilux, which sold 549,000 units worldwide in 2011.To us — utilitarianism mixed with low cost and high durability — sounds like the perfect target. Especially for a brand that sold just under 20,000 units this past year. The company also seems serious about making the new model genuinely in the mold of the original. "We're talking to sub-Saharan Africa buyers about cost of ownership and ease of maintenance," Edwards added. "That it's functional, durable and affordable are central to our thoughts. The engineers and designers are really getting engaged." How hot does that sound?
3rd Gear: No GM CEO Raises This Year
Bloomberg reports that the CEOs of AIG, Ally Financial and General Motors, which received government bailouts, won't get an increase in total compensation this year, the U.S. Treasury Department said. "Although there has been some modification in the mix of stock salary and long-term restricted stock for the CEO group, the overall amount of CEO compensation is frozen at 2011 levels," according to a Treasury statement today. The Treasury said the top 69 executives at the three companies saw their total cash compensation decrease 18% and their direct compensation drop 10% from 2011 levels. Earnings for the top 25 executives at the bailed-out companies must be approved by Patricia Geoghegan, the Obama administration's acting special master for executive compensation. Like we expected anything different ahead of the election.
4th Gear: 140,000 Ford Focus Recalled Over Windshield Wipers
Ford is recalling more than 140,000 Focus compact cars because the passenger side windshield wiper can fail. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration say a seal in the wiper motor wiring may be missing. Water can get inside and cause the wiper to stop working, increasing the risk of a crash — which could lead to fiery death! That said, Ford says there haven't been any crashes or injuries from the problem.
5th Gear: "MKZ" Will Eventually Pass "Town Car" In Name Recognition... At Some Point
Ford marketing manager Kate Pearce says Lincoln's new alphabetic naming scheme is gaining traction. Yup, MKZ is now in third place behind "Town Car" and "Navigator" — a vehicle Lincoln no longer makes and a vehicle Lincoln would rather forget. "We're starting to see more recognition of the nomenclature," Pearce said to the Detroit Free Press. "It will take time but we're seeing the gap of recognition close between old names like Continental and Town Car and the new names." Hell, C.J. O'Donnell, head of Lincoln marketing, said "Continental" was so well known that it was superseding the Lincoln brand name. In time, he said names like MKZ will also be well known. Yes, but how much time does the brand have left to gain traction before it's pulled off life support and proclaimed dead?
6th Gear: How The Auto Industry's Success Killed Detroit Publius, a web site that shows folks in Michigan where to vote and what their ballots look like (and run by my good friend Vince Keenan), put together this killer explainer on how the auto industry's quick growth killed the city of Detroit. It's a great simplified look at the complex issues behind the financial crisis facing the city. I just wish instead of showing a "poof" for home values, it had shown a few of the houses on fire.
⏎ General Motors' Mark Reuss defends Aussie rear-wheel-drive ‘orphan'. [GoAuto]
⏎ In Queens, Redefining ‘Mechanic'. [New York Times]
⏎ The car the right wing can't kill. [The Seattle Times]
⏎ Drivers laud ticket class; insurers not sold. [Detroit News]
⏎ Displaying British Reserve, but Ready to Play in Dirt. [New York Times]
⏎ How Toyota and Honda Helped Detroit Recover. [U.S. News]
⏎ Chrysler to Show Off China-Specific Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 300C Design Concepts. [Car & Driver Featured Blog]
⏎ At New York Auto Show, Few Fantasies and Many Sensible Sedans. [New York Times]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 1971, Jacques Joseph Charles Villeneuve, Canadian musician and retired automobile racing driver, was born. The son of late Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, and namesake of his uncle (also a racer), Jacques Villeneuve won the 1995 CART Championship, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and the 1997 Formula One World Championship, making him only the third driver after Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi to achieve such a feat. To date, no other Canadian has won the Indianapolis 500 or the F1 Drivers' title. [Wikipedia]