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: Is Ford About To Break A Record?
Analysts suggest that Ford likely earned $2.7 billion pre-tax profit in North America in the first quarter of 2013, reports Craig Trudell. That would be a record.
How is Ford doing it? Product. Product. Product.
The new Focus and Fusion are standouts, as well as the Escape and the ever popular Fiesta. There's no single product in their lineup that isn't at least competitive and quite a few are among the best in their segment. Of course, trucks still rule the day and the F-150 still remains a profit center for the company.
It's here that I should point out that they've done what enthusiasts demanded in bringing over the Fiesta and giving us global/European versions of the Fusion/Escape/Focus. Sometimes we know what we're talking about.
Even better, Ford is taking the smart approach in Europe by sucking up the disruption caused by plant closures there so they can stop future losses, analysts say.
Now if only they can figure out Lincoln...
2nd Gear: Fisker Doesn't Make $10 Million Payment To Government
Troubled Fisker didn't make it's $10 million loan payment to the Energy Department today as it gets closer and closer to bankruptcy, according to David Shepardson.
Fisker was able to take out $192 million of a $529 million loan promised by the Department of Energy, but which the DoE stopped distributing in June 2011 as Fisker failed to meet their conditions.
The DoE also apparently withdrew $21 million from an account it has with Fisker. We'll hear more when the execs testify this week before Congress.
3rd Gear: China Rethinking Electric Car Push?
As a government and a society, China seems to understand that they can't develop the same way other countries have without risking massive environmental damage. Unfortunately, consumers don't seem to give a shit about hybrids.
The conflict comes from a government that's pushing electric vehicles and an industry that's more comfortable with gasoline-electric hybrids, says the Wall Street Journal.
Last year Chinese consumers only bought 11,375 electric cars compared to 19.3 million total car sales, and that's with significant incentives.
4th Gear: Aston Martin Works Going To Bonhams
As part of their 100-year anniversary, Aston Martin Works will host an auction of some of their best creations from the last century in conjunction with Bonhams.
At the high end is the Aston Martin DB4GT nicknamed "The Jet" that was designed with Bertone coachwork by Giorgetto Giugiaro before he was famous. At the lower end is an unrestored 1964 DB5 "Barn Find," which will take in about $200K to $250K if all goes as planned.
If you're in the UK it's happening on Saturday, May 18th and a ticket to have lunch and watch is about $275.
5th Gear: Bell's Brewery Wants A New Plant
One of our favorite manufacturers in Michigan isn't an automaker, but rather Kalamazoo's Bell's Brewery, maker of delightful beers such as the flavorful Oberon and Two-Hearted Ale.
Now we hear from Mlive.com that they want to expand into a new construction facility in Escanaba in the UP.
More beer? Yes please.
Reverse: Chrysler Buys Lamborghini
On this day in 1987, the Chrysler Corporation purchases Nuova Automobili F. Lamborghini, the Bologna, Italy-based maker of high-priced, high-performance cars. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the media reported that Chrysler paid $25 million for Lamborghini, which at the time was experiencing financial difficulties.
Neutral: Is Ford's Streak Going To Last? Is Ford doing so well in North America because they're consistently building better product or is everyone else just behind? How long before they catch up?
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