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: Yeah, This Ram Special Services Police Truck's Got A Hemi
Starting this month, Ram Truck will be offering a new Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 Special Service package for law enforcement and other emergency agencies through Chrysler Group Fleet sales. The new Ram package features a selection of severe-duty-adapted equipment for the 2012 Ram 1500 — like a Power Distribution Center (PDC) with fusing and relays and two separate 100-amp main fuses and several other features — like, you know, the 390 HP and 401 lb-ft of torque 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine and a 3.92 axle ratio. Because yeah, that police truck's got a Hemi. Sweet.
2nd Gear: GM To Sever Ties With Saab Over Potential Chinese Takeover
Automotive News reports this morning that General Motors said it had decided to sever ties to Saab and its commitment to supply it with vehicle components and the 9-4X model because of the risks posed by the pending sale of the Swedish auto brand to Chinese owners. "Although General Motors is open to the continued supply of powertrains and other components to Saab under appropriate terms and conditions, GM will not agree to the continuation of the existing technology licenses or the continued supply of 9-4X vehicles to Saab following the proposed change in ownership as it would not be in the best interests of GM shareholders," GM spokesman Jim Cain said on Monday.
3rd Gear: 2013 Ford Flex Gets Rounder, Less Blue Oval
Maybe it was because they didn't give it suicide doors, but consumers just haven't warmed up to the Ford Flex. The blue oval-badged brand's only sold 23,000 Flexes in the U.S. in 2011 — that's a drop of 22% from last year, its first they've sold the crossover-wagon-thing. But maybe the big problem with the Flex was that people saw it as a Ford? That could be why the 2013 Ford Flex unveiled this morning ahead of next week's LA Auto Show shows a front end with slightly rounder edges and the word "FLEX" spread across it, in lieu of Ford's blue oval. That'll make it the second product in the brand lineup — after the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor — not to get to the blue oval on the front. So, you know, maybe that and the ginormous bar running the length of the center of the grille might help. At least they're trying something different, right? Ford's got more information here if you want to know more.
4th Gear: GM Throws A Hail Mary On Chevy Volt Sales
General Motors notified dealers yesterday that they're now free to sell their Chevy Volt demo models. The move more than doubles the availability of the plug-in hybrid. But will that release of up to another 2,300 units help get GM from 5,003 units sold to their goal of 10,000 Volt sales by the end of the year?
5th Gear: Will Porsche's 458-Fighter Use The Audi R8's Platform?
Autocar reports that Porsche may use the next-generation Audi R8 platform for its all-new Ferrari 458-fighting supercar — despite supposedly being Volkswagen Group's designated maker of platforms for future sports cars. Development of this all-new architecture is supposedly, according to Autocar sources, already at an advanced stage — even being previewed on the Audi R8 E-tron concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. So this is one platform to rule them all —whether it's the Porsche sub-918, the Lamborghini Gallardo, or the Audi R8.
6th Gear: General Motors Expects Third Quarter Profit
When General Motors reports third-quarter earnings tomorrow, analysts expect revenue to likely be higher than the $34.1 billion it took in the third quarter of 2010, thanks to higher global sales. The General sold just under 1.9 million vehicles in China through September — that's up 7% from a year ago. U.S. sales were up 16% in the same period, to a little more than 1.9 million.
⏎ Will Karl Stracke's New Gig At GM Europe Lead To A New Opel Manta? [Motor Authority]
⏎ Delphi Auto Plans to Sell Up to $578 Million in Shares in IPO. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Auto bailout could cause waves at Mich. GOP debate. [AP via Chicago Tribune]
⏎ European Car Makers Post Rising Sales, But Risks Loom. [Wall Street Journal]
⏎ Toyota Follows Honda in Scrapping Forecasts After Thai Floods. [Bloomberg]
⏎ Toyota quarterly profit drops 18.5% to $1B. [AP via Detroit News]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1962, the famous Ford Rotunda stands in Dearborn, Michigan for the last time: the next day, it is destroyed in a massive fire. Some 1.5 million people visited the Rotunda each year, making it the fifth most popular tourist attraction in the U.S. (behind Niagara Falls, Smokey Mountain National Park, the Smithsonian, and the Lincoln Memorial). [History]
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