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: Could Volkswagen Join F1 in 2015?
Autoblog reports Volkswagen has changed course and is deciding whether to jump into Formula One. It cites a report in Sport Bild (although there's no link on the German site) that says VW, which decided as recently as 2010 that it wanted no part of F1, is now looking at joining forces with Sauber. Longer term, VW could rely on a chassis that's designed by Porsche at the same place that Porsche is working on its LeMans entry. Says Autoblog, "The 2015 timing is odd, but the mentioned team might not be. Sauber is doing amazingly well this year with hardly any sponsorship at all, much less manufacturer backing: both its drivers are in the top ten, and it is the sixth in the constructor standings behind the manufacturers and Red Bull Racing." F1 can be a mean place for German constructors, so we'll wait to see the first car on the track before we know this is for real.
2nd Gear: Honda Flips The Switch On The 2013 Accord
Reuters says production of the 2013 Honda Accord is officially underway, and not a moment too soon for Honda. The newest version of the Toyota Camry has been on sale for months while a fresh Nissan Altima is hitting the market, too. Other competition comes from the Chevy Malibu, the Hyundai Sonata and the Ford Fusion. This Accord marks the 30th anniversary of production at Honda's big plant in Marysville, Ohio, and it will be reaching showrooms next month. It's built 9 million Accords thus far. The new Accord hits the market as Honda is coming back from the impact of last year's Japanese earthquake and tsunami. It remains the country's second-best selling car, behind the Camry.
3rd Gear: Here's Your Look At What Could Be The New Matrix
Toyota released footage and photos of the Auris hybrid, which is sold in Europe and is based on their Corolla. It plans to unveil it Sept. 27 at the Paris Motor Show. Toyota has lowered the car's height, lengthened the body, tightened up its handling, and added the "keen look" which we've seen on Camry and Avalon. As is happening with a lot of cars these days, the Auris/Corolla has sculpted body lines and contoured fenders. There are new arches over the back wheels that are supposed to reduce the gap between the body and the tires. You can read a lot more details about the car in Toyota's European blog. The Auris is a hatchback, and we haven't gotten it in the U.S. because it would overlap with Matrix. But, Toyota is increasingly going to a global look on its vehicles, and this is definitely more aggressive than we've seen from Toyota in the past.
4th Gear: Isaac Mizrahi Is Malibu's Secret Weapon, Darling
Getting back to Malibu, Adweek reports that General Motors has hired designer Isaac Mizrahi in an effort to make the car appeal to women buyers. (We knew those pictures that GM distributed showing him with a Malibu were more than just a coincidence.) He's created a clothing line, Malibu Style, that will be available exclusively on Living Social, the Groupon-style daily deals site. Adweek says the line was inspired by things Mizrahi noticed about the Malibu. " "One of the things I was inspired by was a blue light that emanates from the dashboard. It's just sexy," he says.
According to Adweek, Mizrahi will promote the car in 50 videos that will be streamed on Time Warner sites over the next few months. He will be seen tooling around Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York in a Chevy Malibu, meeting up with fashion-savvy "muses" and dishing out advice on dressing and accessorizing, plus talking about the car. He'll also appear on Extra and in a slew of Time Inc. titles. We like Isaac, and still have the cutest black skirt with a net lining from his Target line, so we'll see how this works out.
Reverse: In My Merry Oldsmobile
If Oldsmobile had survived, today would be its 115th birthday. The company that became Oldsmobile was founded today in 1897 by Ransom E. Olds. He founded the company in Lansing, Mich., moved to Detroit and moved back to Lansing, where Olds was the centerpiece of the automotive community until it shut down in 2004. Over the years, Oldsmobile was GM's solid mid-market brand. The Cutlass was the country's best-selling car in the 1970s and early 1980s, until Japanese carmakers began building vehicles in the U.S. Olds died a long, slow death: it was clear in the early 1990s that GM planned to kill it, but it took another decade for the company to pull the plug. [History]
In keeping with our new discussion system, here's a place for you to own the floor. We're asking each day what you think about an issue that comes up in TMS.
Today, we'd like to hear what you think of all that competition among mid-sized sedans. What's your favorite? Which one are you looking forward to driving? Or, do you avoid them like the plague except when you have to rent a car? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.