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 parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: The Cruze Gets Better Mileage Than We Thought
We called the Chevy Cruze Diesel a "42 MPG oil-sipper you can afford" when it debuted officially. We were wrong. It's a 46 MPG (highway) oil-sipper you can afford.
GM announced yesterday you can pick one of these babies up and get a remarkable 46 mpg highway which, according to the Detroit News, is the highest mileage for any non-hybrid. It'll also go roughly 700 miles on a tank of fuel when equipped with the six-speed automatic.
The price of the Cruze is just $25,695, which is a little pricey for a Cruze, but about what you'd get from an automatic-equipped VW TDI (which gets 42 mpg highway) similarly spec'd. We're still waiting to see what the city mileage will be.
2nd Gear: Chrysler Museum Open For One Last Day To Public
Sadly, the Walter P. Chrysler museum closed earlier this year because of lack of funding. Despite being closed, the public is welcome to come visit what may be the last exhibit on June 8th when the museum has their annual Chrysler Employee Motorsport Association car show.
3rd Gear: Chrysler Names New Maserati North America Head
Maserati's new North American CEO is Robert Graczyk, who is getting a big promotion from Director of Sales for Chrysler Group's Asia Pacific region. He's been with the company since 1985 according to Automotive News.
And what of outgoing CEO Mark McNabb? He "left the company to pursue other opportunities."
4th Gear: The Self-Driving Cars Are Coming… In 2025
Self-driving cars are coming. We all know this. Google says they want those cars on the road in five years, but the engineers at Car Geek Comicon say it'll be until 2020 or 2025 until we see large numbers according to The Wall Street Journal.
There's already been one crash but apparently that occurred with the human driver.
5th Gear: We've Been Raised
Since we’re big Jalopnik fans here at TTAC, we’re going to put our money where their mouth is. Plus a little.
I’ve been riding BMX and mountain bikes with my pal “El Jefe” since 1998 or thereabouts. In those years, I’ve driven him all over the Midwest in conveyances ranging from an ’82 Quantum Coupe to a Range Rover 4.0S. It’s time for him to return the favor, so he’s placed an order for the car you see above — a 328i M Sport in Estoril Blue. We’ll be doing all the stuff you aren’t supposed to do in a press car, like bouncing it off the speed limiter and jumping it off curbs and who knows what else. And when all that’s over we’ll give you, the TTAC reader, a chance to buy it.
It's a great challenge and I hope they go through with it. That being said, they're adding $8K to the price of our stripper BMW and at least $2K of that is for paint and leather, which sort of defeats the point.
If our money wasn't wrapped up in Merkur parts and Beetle repairs, we think we could probably get a 320i and squeeze as much performance out of their F30 for about $4K and still save on the weight.
Reverse: The Old Man's Still Got It
On this day in 2009, driver Mark Martin wins the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona, and becomes the first 50-year-old to claim victory at a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Sprint Cup race since Morgan Shepherd did so at a race in Atlanta in 1993. Besides Martin and Shepherd, only two other drivers age 50 or older have won Sprint Cup events.
Neutral: When do you think we'll see autonomous cars in large numbers? It may be 50 years before we turnover our entire fleet to autonomous cars, but we've already got vehicles that can park and cruise for us. How long before 5% of the market is made up of cars that can go full auto?
Photo Credit: Getty Images