Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

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: Yaris, It's A Fucking Fast Car

Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

The stock Yaris isn't particularly exciting. I mean, it's not terrible. It's just basic transportation and I think any of us here would rather have a Fiesta ST or a Sonic Turbo.

How shall Toyota combat this indifference? This year's Frankfurt Motor Show will bring the Toyota Hybrid-R Concept (teased above, the topshot is a modified Vitz/Yaris), which is a Toyota Yaris-type hatchback powered by a 400-horsepower engine mated to electric motors a la the Toyota TS030 Le Mans hybrid.

I'm guessing the Yaris isn't going to come with a 3.4-liter V8 but, rather, a smaller engine. I hope I'm wrong.

We'll know for sure on September 10th when it debuts, or earlier when it leaks.

2nd Gear: U.S. Offloads $877 Million In GM Stock

Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

Government Motors continues to be less government-y as the U.S. Treasury offloaded about $900 million in stock it was holding on to, reports David Shepardson.

This, he says, means we'll probably no longer own GM as of early 2014. The price we got was between $34 and $37 a share so, yeah, we're still going to lose money on this.

3rd Gear: Those Darn Asian Car Companies With Their Fleet Sales

Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

In a weird reversal of recent history, all of the The Big Three had a drop in fleet sales while Nissan, Hyundai-Kia, and Toyota all saw fleet increases.

The biggest drop came from Chrysler, who was down 36% (no more new Chrysler 200s at the Hertz counter?) and the biggest gain came from Nissan, who was up 87% (Sentras at Avis!). Ford and GM were down in single-digits and Hyundai-Kia/Toyota were both up double-digits.

Overall fleet sales were down 1% for the biggest automakers according to Automotive News.

Fleet sales (rental cars, municipalities, corps) are where cars go when normal people won't buy them, because it's generally more profitable to sell to individual buyers.

4th Gear: The Brits Are Sort Of Back

Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

Sure, most British car companies aren't actually all that British, but everyone still likes the idea of owning a British luxury car (less so, the idea of owning a British economy car). The often trouble car industry in Britain is seeing a recovery on the backs of Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Jaguars, and Land Rovers.

Even if much of the profit gets sent to India or Germany or Germany or Germany, The Wall Street Journal points out the jobs are often staying in England.

Bentley is expanding in Crewe to build their SUV, for instance and the universally-praised Jaguar F-Type is built at Caste Bromwich.

Overall, the British car industry has added 19,000 new jobs in the last two years.

5th Gear: BMW Making It Rain In China

Toyota's Hybrid-R Concept Is A 400 Horsepower Hot Hatch

China, China, China, China.

BMW's Chinese partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. had a 52% profit rise, thanks to a Chinese thirst for Bimmers that the company estimates will help China overtake the U.S. as its biggest market this year.

From Bloomberg:

Brilliance, which assembles the 3- and 5-series sedans and X1 SUVs, said deliveries increased 31 percent in the first six months of the year to 105,692 units. BMW deliveries in China — including vehicles shipped from Germany — climbed 18 percent to 214,994 vehicles in the first seven months of this year, according to company data.

Reverse: He Was Eating Peanuts And Doritos

The German engineer Felix Wankel, inventor of a rotary engine that will be used in race cars, is born on August 13, 1902, in Lahr, Germany. Wankel reportedly came up with the basic idea for a new type of internal combustion gasoline engine when he was only 17 years old. In 1924, Wankel set up a small laboratory where he began the research and development of his dream engine, which would be able to attain intake, compression, combustion and exhaust, all while rotating. He brought his knowledge of rotary valves to his work with the German Aeronautical Research Establishment during World War II, and to a leading German motorcycle company, NSU Motorenwerk AG, beginning in 1951. Wankel completed his first design of a rotary-piston engine in 1954, and the first unit was tested in 1957.

[HISTORY]

Neutral: Would You Buy A Hybrid Hot Hatch? The CR-Z fell flat, but it's an idea whose time may be coming.

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