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: The F&M Evantra Is A Slower, Sexier Zonda
This is the new production-ready version of the F&M by Mazzanti Evantra. The name for this two-seater coupe comes from the ancient Etruscan language for an object that's unique and exclusive — and this five-example vehicle is certainly both of those adjectives. What it also is — at just over 2,600 lbs. — is fairly lightweight; it's also — with the optional twin-turbo setup for the flat-six under the hood — very fast. The manufacturer's claimed 0-to-60 time is 3.7 seconds. On the outside, it's got some rearward-folding gullwing doors and a style that screams Zonda. F&M claims they'll have the first example available in mid-2012. We'll have to see it — and the price tag — to believe it.
2nd Gear: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 380 GT Gets A Walkaround
Will the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe be unveiled at next month's Detroit Auto Show? Or how about Chicago? Or New York — where the first Genesis Coupe was unveiled? We're still not sure. But for the moment, there's now video straight outta South Korea, likely in celebration of the death of the guy up North nobody seemed to like, of the 2013 Genesis Coupe 380 GT. The little two-door special edition gets the new direct-injection 3.8-liter V6 that gets an awesome 345 HP. Sadly, it's a KDM-only model. No kimchi for you!
3rd Gear: Ford Adds 1967 Mustang Convertible Body To Restoration Fleet
Ford's added an all-new licensed restoration steel body to its team of just-like-old bodies-for-sale. The latest to get a new lease on life is the 1967 convertible — now stronger than the original model and set to handle any of Ford's big-block engines. The latest resto body is now available to order starting at $15,995, joining the '65 convertible, the '67 fastback and the '69 fastback.
4th Gear: Honda Extends Warranty For 80,000 Civic Hybrids Over No Risk Of Fiery Death
Honda is extending the warranty for 80,000 owners of 2006-11 Civic Hybrids due to small cracks that may develop in the gas tanks, allowing some gas to leak. Although usually gas leaks result in recalls — because of, you know, the risk of fiery death — Honda claims that it's confident that this is not a safety problem. "The potential fuel leakage is very small from the top area of the tank where the fuel filler meets the tank," Honda Spokesman Chris Martin wrote to the New York Times, adding that it was not in an area "with a likely ignition source nearby." But if it were? Fiery death — you better believe it.
5th Gear: Romney Attacks President Over Automaker Job Losses... Wait, What?
Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took a strange tack on Fox News Sunday — the Detroit News reports he argued "the president has had one experience overseeing an enterprise - a couple of enterprises, General Motors and Chrysler. What did he do? He closed factories. He laid off people. He didn't do it personally, but his people did. Why did he do that? Because he wanted to save the enterprise, and he wants to make it profitable so it can survive." That's true. But then to rail on him for being a failure for doing that? How does that make sense? Especially considering he originally opposed the rescue loan that President Obama extended to Chrysler and GM to allow them to avoid liquidation, making clear he would have let the two automakers go bankrupt. Countless economic studies I've seen claim that the job losses that resulted due to the bailout — while no minor event, mind you — were significantly less than what we would have seen had the bailout not been provided. Romney, your attack has failed, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. Failing that, I hope that any spooky Mormon hell dreams you may have aren't too spooky.
6th Gear: Saab Was Dying Long Before GM Screwed Them Up
Speaking of messed up messages, let's take a look at Danny Howes' screed at the Detroit News this morning, railing against GM's 20-year ownership of Saab. Look, we're the first to agree that GM did no favors to Trollhättan's once-proud automaker — they absolutely parts binned the hell out of the brand. But the death of Saab wasn't GM's fault. The brand's been dying since it first experienced the taste of platform prostitution in the 80s with the horseshit abortion that was the Saab-Lancia 600. And for him to claim that Volvo was "more separable" from Ford thanks to "looser development and production ties" shows a clear lack of understanding of the platforms — and costs structures — that lay underneath that now Chinese-owned brand. Every single Volvo vehicle is built atop a Ford platform. Or, rather, it's more like those Ford vehicles are built atop Volvo platforms. It's just it's that they're now older, dying platforms — not newer platforms with long-term potential profits. That was the GM problem — they can't surrender the platform that is basically going to be their bread-and-butter for the next three-to-five years to a Chinese automaker for a song and a dance. Frankly, unless Volvo can do a hurry up R&D plan for their next-generation platform, they'll have the same problem Saab found itself in — in just two years.
⏎ Will the force be with VW again at Super Bowl time? [Automotive News]
⏎ COP: Drill, Baby, Drill in Alaska. [CNBC]
⏎ Saab Bankruptcy: Long Before the Fall, Innovations Aplenty. [New York Times]
⏎ OnStar & Cadillac to demonstrate in-vehicle entertainment future. [World Car Fans]
⏎ Mercedes Bringing E400 Hybrid And E300 Bluetec Hybrid To Detroit Auto Show. [Motor Authority]
⏎ Audi to replace R8 in 2014. [Car]
Today in Automotive History:
On December 20, 1989, the provocative filmmaker Michael Moore's satirical documentary "Roger & Me" opens in theaters across the United States. (It had made a brief tour of film festivals earlier that year, before it had a distributor.) The film chronicled Moore's unsuccessful attempts to meet Roger B. Smith, the chairman and chief executive of General Motors, who had presided over the closing of 11 factories in Flint, Michigan, during the 1970s and 80s. As a result, nearly 40,000 people lost their jobs, and Moore wanted to interview Smith about the city's subsequent decline; Smith, perhaps understandably, chose to avoid that conversation, and his dodges and evasions provided plenty of grist for the filmmaker's mill. "Roger & Me" earned a great deal of critical praise, and put its director into the public eye. His subsequent movies—the Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine" (2002), "Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004) and "Sicko" (2007) became some of the top-grossing documentary features in history. [History]
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