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?
Just five gears today — there's not a whole lot of industry news out there this morning.
1st Gear: GM To Give iPads To Old People Buying Cadillac XTS Sedans With New CUE Infotainment System
It looks like General Motors is learning from the mistakes of its crosstown rivals when it comes to rolling out their new CUE infotainment system with the new full-size Cadillac XTS. The automaker is preparing a customer-service push to instruct buyers to use the XTS sedan's new information and entertainment data system. GM is assigning 25 customer-service representatives in the top U.S. metropolitan markets to help augment Cadillac dealerships in teaching customers to operate the brand's new CUE, or Cadillac User Experience, infotainment system, the Detroit-based automaker said in a statement. Bloomberg tells us that GM's 900 Cadillac dealers have been told to have two people at each outlet handle infotainment questions and additional people in the automaker's call center are being assigned to field inquiries, Mark Harland, manager of customer experience, said in an interview prior to today's announcement. "We're trying to support the CUE, or the XTS launch with the CUE, much in the same way that a lot of consumer electronic stores would support you with a new piece of equipment," Harland said. At least Cadillac knows the buyers of the CUE system will need all the help they can get to use the system. You know, because they'll likely be old. Which might be why every CUE-equipped car will come standard with an Apple iPad loaded with 12 how-to videos about the infotainment system.
2nd Gear: Mitt Romney's Having Car Problems Again
Mitt Romney's gotten himself into a little bit of trouble when he talks about money and dogs, but, as The Atlantic Wire's Elspeth Reeve pointed out yesterday, the real "gaffe trap" for the presidential candidate always revolves around cars. Whether it's his wife's multiple Cadillacs, the "height of Michigan's trees," his dog riding atop his car, or the "car elevator" (which, as we pointed out, was complete B.S., and he never should have been knocked for it) — cars are always at the center of his problems. Now he's doing it to himself again — first being against the government-managed bankruptcy of the U.S. automakers and now saying he should get some credit for it. Maybe Romney should just stop talking about cars.
3rd Gear: Opel's New Minicar Has A Really Silly Name
Automotive News tells us this morning that Opel/Vauxhall's decision to name its new minicar Adam has not been well received. "Straight out of the drawer marked 'silly names,'" was one of the harsher comments on Twitter. "First Renault Zoe. Now Vauxhall Adam. Did someone give car companies a baby names book for Christmas?" was another. Opel is positioning the Adam below the Corsa subcompact and alongside the Agila small minivan, but it will be more upscale than either of them, rivaling the Mini and Fiat 500 — or so the company hopes. Opel announced the car's name to the press in the form of an awkward photo comic strip using real Opel/Vauxhall employees pictured in a casually attired business meeting. One character explains the reasoning behind the name, saying, "We like it because it has something universal. It's good, it's short, it sounds robust and technical. Not too sweet, not cuty. Not 'toyish.'" Sure, but also, kinda silly.
4th Gear: 2012 BMW 3 Series Recall Will Fix Seat Headrests
BMW says it will recall some 2012 3 Series because their front-seat head restraints may not work protect occupants properly in a crash. The German car maker said the recall affects 7,600 vehicles built between Oct. 19, 2011 and March 18, 2012. In these units, the restraints, when placed in the highest, fully extended position, could move downward slightly in a crash, increasing the risk of injury. Under the recall BMW dealers will attach a clamp to the front seat head restraint posts. That should cut the potential risk of fiery death significantly.
5th Gear: Chrysler Critic Takes Down Six-Term Senator In Indiana Senate GOP Primary
The Detroit News reports that the man who fought Chrysler in 2009 and nearly blocked its quick exit from bankruptcy toppled a six-term senator in Indiana, according to the Associated Press. Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in Tuesday's GOP primary. With 45% of precincts reporting, Mourdock had 60% of the vote to 40% for Lugar, according to the AP tally. Mourdock, 60, acknowledges his bid to fight the quick bankruptcy restructuring of Chrysler LLC in May 2009 led to national prominence for him and said he wouldn't have run without his fight with Chrysler. He also won backing of tea party supporters as a result. Although his effort, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, failed, his success came despite the fact Chrysler has four plants in Kokomo, Ind., employing 4,500 workers. Maybe they should have come out and voted, eh?
Toyota Projects Profit to Double in Fiscal Year. [New York Times]
Saving the last Saab 9-3: Mission Accomplished. [SaabsUnited]
Jaguar F-Type Revisits Swinging ‘60s to Challenge Porsche. [Bloomberg]
Ford's gearhead gadfly may skip the annual meeting. [Automotive News]
IndyCar Series' new car slower, but safer. [Chicago Tribune]
How Hyundai's design strategy has paid off. [Smart Planet]
Full by fall: Officials expect Gilbert's Chrysler House in Detroit to fill up fast. [MLive]
Hyundai Auto Plant in China Hit by Fire. [Wall Street Journal]
Today in Automotive History
On this day in 2008, "Speed Racer," the big-budget live-action film version of the 1960s Japanese comic book and television series "MachGoGoGo," makes its debut in U.S. movie theaters. The movie was horrific, but the Mach Five, seen up top, looked amazing. [History]
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