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: Ford Claims 2013 Shelby GT500 Certified At 662 HP
So, you know how the 2013 Shelby GT500's supposed to be packing a seemingly widowmaker-making 650 horsepower? It turns out Ford is wrong. Astonishingly, according to Jim Owens, VP of marketing for Shelby, and Jamal Hameedi, SVT's chief engineer, the new GT500's actually putting out more power. At a special sneak preview of the car for the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club last week in Los Angeles they claimed the 2013 GT500 was recently certified at 662 HP and 630 lb-ft o' glorious torque. If it's true, then the output they've been able to coax from that engine is simply amazing. I can't wait to see it in person.
2nd Gear: GM Upped CEO Salary To $7.7 Million For 2011
According to Bloomberg, General Motors increased Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson's compensation to $7.7 million for 2011 when he led the company to record profit and GM regained its position as the world's top-selling automaker. The automaker also said it's nominating two new directors, including the outgoing head of ConocoPhillips, for election at its June 12 annual meeting in Detroit. Akerson, whose pay is subject to government review because of GM's 2009 U.S. bailout, received $1.7 million in salary and $6 million in stock awards and other compensation, the Detroit-based automaker said today in a regulatory filing. He made $2.53 million in 2010 when he replaced Ed Whitacre as CEO and led GM the last four months of that year. The U.S. Treasury Department said April 6 that Akerson's compensation in 2012 would be frozen at the 2011 level. So, no raise until next year, Dan!
3rd Gear: Ford Earnings Down 45% In 1st Quarter
Ford reported a 45% decline in first quarter earnings Friday, narrowly beating analyst expectations. Profits fell to $1.4 billion on revenues of $32.4 billion, from $2.6 billion the same quarter last year. About half the decrease was due to a higher tax rate, with the remainder due to factors such as softening global markets and comparisons with a strong first quarter last year, the automaker's best since 1998. The company also announced Friday it is offering lump sum pension buyouts for retirees, the first program of its kind. No other details yet.
4th Gear: 2013 Ford Escape Certified At 33 MPG Highway
And in more Ford news, the Dearborn-based automaker announced that the new 2013 Ford Escape — with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine — just got certified by the U.S. EPA at 33 MPG highway. That's 2 MPG higher than the Honda CR-V and 5 MPG higher than the Toyota RAV4. If it were actually a small SUV (instead of a crossover), it would make it the most fuel efficient small SUV in the U.S. with an automatic. But that's not the only good news for FoMoCo. All three engines in the new Escape are also EPA-certified at 30-plus MPG on the highway, with even the 2.0-liter EcoBoost certified at 30 MPG on the highway. Golf clap for Ford, please.
5th Gear: BMW Shows Off its Olympic Fleet
BMW is the official supplier of vehicles for the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, which hit a fleet average of 64.5 MPG (on the European cycle). How do they hit that number? Diesels, MInis, Diesel Minis, an the Mini E electric car. Also, bicycles. Lots of bicycles. About 400 BMW Street Bicycles will be used by the coaches for water sports. Hopefully, they won't pick up the pole vaulters in the Minis.
6th Gear: No More Aston Martin One-77 Supercars Left
The Aston Martin One-77 is a hand-crafted aluminum rocket that's as rare as it is powerful — the 7.3-liter V12 produces 700-hp. If you were on the fence about buying one you blew it! All 77 have been spoken for according to AUSmotive. Just make sure you take driving lessons first.
Chrysler feelin' lucky on Clint's Super spot. [New York Post]
Ally Says Auto Partnerships Strong Despite Chrysler Decision. [Wall Street Journal]
Panel allows Honda to make IndyCar engine changes. [Associated Press]
Massachusetts Stamps a Catch-All Plate for E.V.'s, Plug-Ins and Hybrids. [New York Times]
New Keys to the Middle Kingdom: Luxury SUVs. [Wall Street Journal]
Biden says campaign bumper sticker is 'Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive'. [Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 2009, the struggling American auto giant General Motors (GM) says it plans to discontinue production of its more than 80-year-old Pontiac brand. [History]