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?
There's not much news out there today, so it's just a short throw for us this morning — just four gears. If you're having a slow day today, I'd recommend taking some time out to watch Senna — it's available for streaming on Netflix.
1st Gear: Chrysler Has Best April Sales In Four Years
Chrysler's U.S. new-vehicle sales rose 20% last month — the best April performance in four years. Chrysler, controlled by Italian automaker Fiat, said Tuesday that sales hit 141,165 vehicles, compared with 117,225 in the same month last year. The U.S. automaker said it expects the April annual selling rate for the industry to finish at 14.6 million vehicles. That would be stronger than the 14.4 million 41 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast and would also top the March rate of 14.4 million.
2nd Gear: New Ford Ads Hope To Make Consumers "Go Further" By Not Telling Them They're Looking At Fords
The first primary brand advertising campaign in the U.S. introducing Ford's new Go Further branding began airing last night on national television. The slightly unique campaign is the first time in Ford advertising history that none of the vehicles featured in the spots will be branded with the automaker's familiar blue oval — and no verbal mention of the Ford brand. The idea — a smart one in my mind — is to catch the attention of consumers who have preconceived notions about the Ford brand by showing them the all-new European-ized lineup and let them make the decision for themselves about whether they're intrigued enough to learn more. Jim Farley, head of Global Marketing said in a release that "we're aiming these ads directly at the skeptics on the coasts." If that's the case, maybe y'all could just buy a Japanese brand and just rebadge all of your current cars as, say, Lexus. I think it might accomplish the same goal.
3rd Gear: Is Maserati Working On A 911-Fighter
In order to keep its sport image intact, Maserati's rumored to be considering the development of a "pure" two-seater sports car that would be squarely aimed at the Audi R8 and the Porsche 911. The rumor comes to us today from Left Lane News, who've translated Italian publications claiming they got it from Harald J. Wester, the CEO of Maserati. According to Wester the car could be called the GranSport, and it would ideally sell for less than €150,000, which converts to roughly $199,000.
4th Gear: Ford Sales Down 5%
Ford Motor Company April U.S. sales totaled 180,350, compared with 189,778 last year — that's a 5% decline. The vehicles taking the biggest hits were the Ford Fiesta (-43.9%), Ford Crown Vic (-94.4% from the stellar sales last year as the vehicle was being discontinued) and the Ford Mustang (-4.6%). But hey, even with that drop in sales, the Mustang still managed to outsell the entire Lincoln brand, which was itself down 12.8% this past month. Truck sales were also down a touch — but that was mostly due to the ramp-down and discontinuation of the Ranger. Ford F-Series pickups, however, were up 4.4% — which means even with lower sales, Ford's likely making more money.
Saying Goodbye to Chrysler's Dan Knott. [PickupTrucks.com]
Mitsubishi Mirage Slated for Canada, Should it Come to the U.S.? [Motor Trend]
Cadillac's ‘Super Cruise' Mode Will Keep You In Your Lane Automatically. [Popular Science]
Is the Toyota Camry Unfairly Vilified? [New York Times]
No summer shutdown for Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee plant in Detroit; third shift to be added. [Detroit Free Press]
Ford Show Truck Is Drafted Into Service After Texas Tornadoes. [New York Times]
The ultimate re-make of the NASCAR schedule, Part II. [Autoextremist]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 1994 Ayrton Senna, the three-time Formula One champion, died in a crash at Tamburello corner while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He was 34. Senna was the most recent — and hopefully, the last — driver to die behind the wheel of a Formula One car. [History]
Photo Credit: Pascal Rondeau / Getty Images Sport