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: GM, Ford Move Up Fortune 500 Big-Ass 'Murican Companies List
Two of the 'Big Three' automakers are among the top 10 in Fortune magazine's ranking of the 500 largest U.S. companies released today. More than 23 auto-related companies made the list. General Motors ranked No. 5, up from No. 8 last year, while Ford ranked No. 9, up from No. 10 in 2011, according to the list that ranks companies based on annual revenue and their huge... tracts of land.
2nd Gear: Ferrari To Recall Some 458/California Models
AutoCar reports this morning that Ferrari is recalling a small batch of 458s and Californias worldwide. The problem, which apparently affects 206 cars in a total of 13,000 built, is caused by an incorrect finish to the crankshafts in question. The problem causes unwanted vibrations which can damage the engine in it is not changed. This will, of course, lead to the potential for fiery death! "We are writing to all clients affected now, asking them to return the car to a dealer for the work to be done," said a Ferrari spokesman. Good, because you don't want to mess with that.
3rd Gear: Toyota RAV4 EV To Cost Twice As Much As Gas-Burning Brother
Toyota announced yesterday that its electric RAV4 sport-utility vehicle will cost more than twice as much as the gasoline version. Bloomberg tells us that Toyota will sell the RAV4 EV for $49,800 this year in California, and plans to deliver 2,600 units over the next three years, the company said yesterday at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The base price of a 2012 RAV4 with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine is $22,650 on Toyota's website. "We think the 2,600 unit figure is reasonable for this product. We want to set a precedent to see how the market develops," Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president of U.S. sales, said in an interview. "This is going to be the market's only electric SUV."
4th Gear: 2015 BMW Z4 To Get Lighter, Better Around Corners
Inside Line reports that the next-generation Z4, due around 2015, will be sportier and more agile to drive than the current model out of a desire to better compete against the Porsche Boxter. How? Glad you asked. Apparently, according to them, the handling balance of the next-generation Z4 will benefit from the bigger role played by the downsized four-cylinder N20 engines recently introduced in the current model, with this lighter power unit producing a more favorable weight distribution. But don't expect big changes on the exterior as the next-gen Z4 is expected to be more of an evolution than a revolution of styling.
5th Gear: Porsche 551 Project Delayed, Still On Track... For Now
Remember the cancelled Porsche 551 project? Well, it's back on track — but, thanks to Volkswagen going lukewarm on the BlueSport as having the potential to generate sufficiently high production volumes, it's been delayed until 2017 — according to Georg Kacher over at Automobile Magazine. For now.
6th Gear: Nevada Issues Google First U.S. License To Test Driverless Cars
The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles announced Monday it has approved Google's application to test their autonomous vehicles on public streets. However, the DMV will require at least two people in the vehicles during testing, including one in the driver's seat. Before it was approved, the car was tested on freeways and in neighborhoods around Carson City and Las Vegas, Fox 5 reports. The tests showed the car was just as safe, if not safer, than a human driver. "It gets honked at more often because it's being safe," said Nevada DMV Director Bruce Breslow. Sure it does.
April's Fastest and Slowest Selling Cars. [Kicking Tires]
Ford, Dow form partnership for carbon fiber composites. [Automotive News]
Quick Drive: 2012 Ram C/V at Maximum Payload. [PickupTrucks.com]
Mitt Romney: 'I'll Take A Lot Of Credit' For Auto Industry Recovery. [Huffington Post]
1st production Dodge Dart rolls off assembly line. [Detroit Free Press]
Two more businesses moving to Chrysler House in downtown Detroit. [Detroit News]
Teenage Driver Study Reconfirms Link Between Young Passengers and Chances of a Fatal Crash. [New York Times]
Ford settles lawsuit over 2003 crash in Montana. [Detroit Free Press]
As Car Owners Downsize, the Market Is Strong for Their Used S.U.V.'s. [New York Times]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 1956, Henry Ford II, the namesake and grandson of the legendary automobile pioneer, resigns as chairman of his family's charitable organization, the Ford Foundation. [History]