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's Akerson Pledges Loyalty To Opel
Reuters reports that GM CEO Daniel Akerson has promised Opel staff that the company won't "cut and run." That's bound to disappoint those who say GM would be better off letting its European money pit go. "Our protracted losses have even prompted some analysts to argue that we should sell Opel or simply close up shop and leave car sales in the region to others — I'm not about to do that," he said in a speech to employees yesterday. "As a global auto company, GM needs a strong design, engineering, manufacturing and sales presence in Europe. There's room for Chevrolet in Europe but Opel fulfils that role." Reuters says it's the first time Akerson has directly promised Opel staff that it's going to keep the European brand.
Akerson said the 23 new and restyled models that GM plans for Opel through 2016 are proof of its seriousness. "If our intention was to simply declare Opel bankrupt, or let it drift until the economy rebounds, we wouldn't be wasting our time and money with these investments," he said. Essentially, now, GM has boxed itself into fixing Opel, which is likely to take two years or longer. So, mark your calendars for fall 2014 and see where Opel is then.
2nd Gear: The New RAV Makes Its Debut Next Week
Toyota says it will show the all-new, fourth-generation RAV4 at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week. The 2013 RAV will be unveiled at noon ET on Wednesday, and you can watch the unveiling here. You can credit or blame the RAV for helping popularize the crossover trend back in 1994. The fourth-generation RAV is based on the Camry platform, and it's about time this one hit the market, since the current RAV has been around since 2006. The new RAV is expected to pick up some of the styling cues of the most recent Camry, and there will be some interior updates as well.
3rd Gear: Lambo To Decide Soon Whether To Build Its SUV
The Associated Press reports that Lamborghini will decide in the next few months whether it's actually going to build the Urus SUV Concept that it's been trekking around the auto show circuit since April. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann says Lamborghini needs to consider the impact of higher SUV volumes on its facilities and where to invest its resources during an economic crisis. Lambo has been looking at a 2017 launch, the AP says. If it went ahead, the carmaker expects to produce 3,000 SUVs a year, beyond the 2,000 super sports cars it already builds. Winkelmann said the SUV's natural markets would be North America, the Middle East and Asia as well as Britain, Germany and Russia.
4th Gear: Ford Wants You To Know Cars Can't Fly...
Mashable reports on what has to be the funniest disclaimer out there. In the new ad for the Ford Fusion, there are teeny tiny letters that tell the viewer, "Fictionalization. Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt. Cars cannot fly." There's some nifty video at Mashable showing how Ford actually made the car look like it was flying — basically, a ramp, cardboard boxes, some blue fabric, an overhead camera, and slow mo. Oh, those crazy car commercial kids.
The Mercedes G-Class has been around in the same basic form for about 78 years now. Ok, the number is actually closer to 33, but it is getting long in the tooth.
Unfortunately, we can't expect it to be around forever. More »
Reverse: Except In Harry Potter Movies
On this day in 2001, the first Harry Potter movie made its debut. (Feel free to do a face palm and declare, "God, I feel old.") You might think of this as a kids' film, but it brought to life one of the movies' most iconic cars: the flying Ford Anglia. It was a light blue car that Arthur Weasley modified to be able to fly, as well as become invisible. It could fit eight people, six trunks, two owls and a rat, and it doesn't seem to run on any fuel that we know of. It also was stolen once. [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 know: do you want to see a Lambo SUV? Is it a smart competitive move, or just stupid? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.
Got tips for our editors? Want to anonymously dish some dirt on a competitor? Know something about a secret car? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.