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: Ford To Send 300,000 Owners A USB Thumb Drive
Ford, which has plunged in initial quality rankings this year — falling to 20th from 10th last month in annual reliability rankings from Consumer Reports magazine — thanks primarily to new buyer confusion over their MyFord Touch and Sync systems, plans to provide a software patch to more than 300,000 vehicle owners next year to fix dashboard touch-screen controls. Bloomberg reports that early next year, Ford will send owners of the Ford Explorer, Edge, Focus and Lincoln MKX a USB flash drive loaded with new software aimed at fixing problems with MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch audio, phone, climate and navigation systems, the company said today in a statement. Ford said the patch will hopefully prevent any Microsoft-like blue screen of death errors, but it probably won't be turning the touch screens into rows of toggle switches, buttons and knobs.
2nd Gear: 2012/2013 Nissan GT-R Is The New Godzilla
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the launch of the 2012 model year Nissan GT-R (called the 2013 Nissan GT-R here in the United States), which goes on sale in Japan on November 24 at Nissan dealers across Japan — and in North America, Europe and other regions from January 2012 onward. The 2012 model year GT-R has improved maximum engine output by enhancing engine efficiency — output has been significantly improved to 541 HP/6,400rpm with maximum torque of 466 lb-ft of torque from 3,200 to 5,800 rpm. The 2012 model year Godzilla comes equipped with asymmetric suspension as well as custom options, like the Spec V-like "For TRACK PACK" — a custom option for the Pure Edition designed for customers who want to enjoy a more Spartan-feel driving experience in their Nissan GT-R. Jointly developed with NordRing company in Japan, it features a tuned suspension, air guide for brake cooling (front and rear), and aluminum-alloy wheels made by Rays (with black quartz chrome color coating).
3rd Gear: BMW Offers Up 40 Frozen Silver Competition Edition M3 Coupes
BMW has announced a special run of M3 Competition Edition coupes for the North American market to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the BMW M division. So how special is this run? How about a grand total of 40 examples, all finished in Frozen Silver and featuring black hood intakes, dark chrome exterior trim, black 19-inch M3 GTS wheels, and a host of interior upgrades like Novillo leather trim in black, with palladium silver accents, an Alcantara-covered M steering wheel, door sill finishers featuring an M3 checkered flag logo, and a handbrake lever with the M Power logo.
4th Gear: Lamborghini To Unveil Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder
Motor Authority reports that a Lamborghini spokesperson confirmed to them that customers will soon be able to order a Gallardo Spyder LP 550-2 with rear-wheel drive, suggesting we could see the car make an auto show appearance very soon. They even posit that it could come as early as next week's 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show — the same show where, last year, they debuted its Gallardo Spyder Performante LP 570-4. You know, because it's sunny there and stuff.
5th Gear: GM Sales Rise 10% In Stuck-In-The-80s China
Bloomberg reports that GM, the biggest overseas automaker in China, said sales rose 10% in the country last month as the company delivered more Wuling minivans. GM sold 220,412 vehicles in China last month, compared with 199,641 units a year earlier, the Detroit-based company said in a statement today. Sales climbed 15% in September. So, first it was large sedans. Now it's minivans. It feels like China's car-purchase preferences are following the United States — and now they're in their own 80s. I really hope they don't adopt other 'merican 80s choices because I don't think I can watch another country go through Swatch watches, Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, and fucsia leg warmers again.
6th Gear: Everything Else Subaru's Bringing To The Tokyo Motor Show
In addition to the BRZ (which was teased earlier this morning), Subie's bringing the "Advanced Tourer Concept," an all-wheel-drive Boxer-powered "sports wagon" (aka, the new Subaru Legacy), the new 4-Door and 5-Door Imprezas Sport, and some kind of special STI called the S206 to next month's Tokyo Motor Show. Oooh!
⏎ Japan executives, unions demand lower auto taxes. [AP via Houston Chronicle]
⏎ More misery for Toyota, Honda. [Automotive News]
⏎ No longer the beast, Toyota now aims for beauty. [FirstPost]
⏎ Mazda seeks to break out of second tier. Here's how. [Automotive News]
⏎ Pension Trusts Strapped. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Ford Credit launches Lincoln unit as separate brand. [Automotive News]
Today in Automotive History:
On November 7, 1965, a drag racer from Ohio named Art Arfons sets the land-speed record-an average 576.553 miles per hour-at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats. (Record speeds are the average of two runs, one out and one back, across a measured mile.) Arfons drove a jet-powered machine, known as the Green Monster, which he'd built himself out of surplus parts. Between 1964 and 1965-a period that one reporter called "The Bonneville Jet Wars" because so many drivers were competing for the title-Arfons held the land-speed record three different times. He lost it for good on November 15, 1965, when a Californian named Craig Breedlove coaxed his car, the Spirit of America, to an average speed of 600.601 miles per hour. [History]
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