Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes DirtS

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: The Ad That Turned The Corner For Chrysler
USA Today says Chrysler officials surprisingly don't think the Imported From Detroit campaign or Halftime In America commercial turned the tide for the company. They believe it was a 2010 ad for the Jeep Grand Cherokee. You might remember the ad for its minor key and rhythmic clapping (that came from a Johnny Cash song, "God's Gonna Cut You Down" from one of his last albums with Rick Rubin). John Jay, the global creative director for Wieden + Kennedy, Chrysler's ad agency, said in Columbus, Ohio that his team kept hearing from Chrysler executives how important it was to stress vehicle quality.

According to USA Today, Jay said the ad was designed not just to introduce the Grand Cherokee, but also to lay the groundwork for the automaker's future marketing campaigns. Chrysler's Super Bowl commercial with Eminem in 2011 and Clint Eastwood this year were built on that foundation, Jay said. The agency, which handles Dodge and Chrysler, also created "Just Do It" for Nike.


Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt

2nd Gear: BMW Lets Lease Holders Skip Payments
Bloomberg says BMW, which is falling behind Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. luxury race, is going to let lease holders skip payments if they sign a fresh deal. The offer affects mostly owners vehicles in BMW's 2010 model year lineup as their leases are likely running out. People who lease a 2013 BMW can skip up to three monthly payments on a new model or a certified used vehicle. The program runs to the end of the month. BMW has done this before, but this year's deal comes as it is trying to gain ground on Mercedes. One of the reasons why Mercedes is ahead of BMW is that it is spending more money on incentives. But BMW executives say they're confident BMW will retake the lead as it introduces the X1 and gets help from the all-wheel drive version of the 3-series.


Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt

3rd Gear: Mercedes Mulling A Baby G-Wagon for 2015
Car says Mercedes, which is stretching its platforms every which way it can, is thinking about building a small version of the G-wagon. The GLG (or "glug") could reach the market in 2015, and it would take on a sub-Evoque crossover planned by Land Rover. Mercedes is thinking that the GLG would be a more-rugged sister vehicle to the GLA, which is supposed to arrive in 2014. The GLG would be built from the A-class platform, which means A-class would be getting two crossovers. Mercedes might do the GLG in front-wheel drive, and there might be an AMG version, too. If nothing else, the GLG would update the G-wagon family, which looks like it comes out of a 1950s Tarzan movie... in a good way.


Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt

4th Gear: Former GM CEO Dishes Dirt In New Memoir
The Detroit News says former GM CEO Ed Whitacre, who served for nine months in the top job, dishes lots of dirt in a new memoir. Among the revelations: Whitacre says current CEO Dan Akerson thought GM was one of the worst managed companies he'd ever seen. Whitacre also said he put the brakes on a plan to move almost everybody out of GM's Renaissance Center headquarters just a few weeks after the Obama administration bailed out the company.

Whitacre says he "felt like a traitor" when he left GM so quickly, but he couldn't agree to the administration's request to stay at GM for two or three more years. That's hardly an endorsement of the company and its prospects. The book is called, "American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and The Way We Do Business In The USA." But it might be hard for Whitacre to explain why he'd put GM in his book title and wouldn't stick around longer to help it actually turn around.


Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt

5th Gear: Come Back At 6:00 PM EST For 12 Spider Review
Like the 12C Spider? Maybe we do. Maybe we don't. Come back at 6:00 PM EST (assuming we did the math on the embargo correctly) and we'll share our review with you. We've signed an agreement saying we won't give you our impressions of it until then. In the meantime, here's an impression of Jimmy Stewart in the car.

"Whaa... it's... I don't know how to operate the top. I'ts... ahhh... fast. Oh, well hello there... ahhh... what's a McLaren? Why have you reanimated me for this... ahhh... I don't have your money."


Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt

Reverse: Sinking Before It Could Swim
On this day in 1863, the C.S.S. Hunley sank during testing in Charleston harbor. Eventually, it went on to be the first successful combat submarine, but it had trouble finding its sea legs. Once it it, the Hunley made history by sinking the U.S.S. Housatanic. That was about all it accomplished, since it sank yet again on the way back to Charleston. The Hunley was raised in 2000 and is on display in Charleston, if you want to relive Civil War naval history. {History]

Neutral
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 which of Chrysler's ads you think were the most effective. Was it Grand Cherokee? Eminem? Clint? Or do you like the little Fiats that go diving into the Mediterranean? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.

Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt
Got tips for our editors? Want to anonymously dish some dirt on a competitor? Know something about a secret car? Email us at tips@jalopnik.com.
Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt
Click here for the Opposite Lock or Tips forums. Want a more "blog-like" look? Click the button up top next to "Top Stories."
Mercedes Plans A Baby G-Wagon, BMW Will Cut You A Lease Deal, And Ex-GM CEO Dishes Dirt
Want even more Jalopnik? Want to know which of your friends read us? "Like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.