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: Chevy Runs Deep Into Being Imported From Detroit
GM dropped their own "Imported from Detroit"-type commercial to coincide with CEO Dan Akerson's testimony in front of Congress on the Chevy Volt. The ad, shot in Hamtramck, the city-within-the-City-of-Detroit where the Volt is built, features an assembly line running through the streets and a Tim Allen voiceover saying: "For our country, for our future. This isn't just the car we wanted to build, it's the car America had to build. The extended-range electric Chevy Volt. From the heart of Detroit to the health of the country, Chevy runs deep." Simultaneously, Akerson was busy running deep against the use of the Volt as a political punching bag, saying "I will testify in front of the good Lord this administration has never had... any input in operation of the business." Well, except for that whole firing of his predecessor's predecessor. Oh, and his predecessor. But other than that? Nothing.
2nd Gear: Ford May Run Deep Into Profits
Bloomberg reports this morning that Ford, boosted by a one-time tax gain, may report its most profitable year since 1998, while weakness in Europe and Asia cut fourth-quarter earnings. Ford may post 2011 net income tomorrow that tops $20 billion, thanks to a gain of about $14 billion from eliminating a valuation allowance against deferred tax benefits, said Robert Willens, a corporate tax specialist interviewed by Bloomberg.
3rd Gear: Hyundai Profits Did Run Deeper
Speaking of profits, Bloomberg also tells us this morning that Hyundai reported a 38% increase in fourth-quarter profit, fueled by sales of the Elantra in the U.S. Net income climbed to 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 1.45 trillion won a year earlier, the Seoul, South Korea-based carmaker said today in a regulatory filing.
4th Gear: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Design Runs Deep Into "Dave"
Speaking of Hyundai, it looks like the first shots of the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe have leaked out ahead of April's New York Auto Show unveiling. The images, snagged on the assembly line by the Korea-obsessed kids at Hyundai Blog, show a new look front end that appears to be a mash-up of the Veloster and Ford's "Hi, I'm Dave" Gillette-like grille. The rear end, on the other hand, grabs a piece of that Audi A7 ass — and both ends have LED lighting.
5th Gear: Audi Runs Deep Into Sparkle Vampires For Super Bowl Ad
For the past five years Audi's treated us to a new commercial for the Super Bowl. 2012 will be no different. The only question is whether this ad — featuring what appears to be an attack on Twilight-like sparkle vampires — will be more like the horse's head "old luxury on notice" commercial from three years ago (meaning good) or more like last year's "escape" ad (meaning not so good). Guess we'll have to wait until February 5th to find out.
6th Gear: At $1,000,000, The President's Chrysler 300 Runs Deep Into Pockets
The New York Times reports that one eBay seller is auctioning off the 2005 Chrysler 300C that reportedly belonged to Barack Obama for a downright princely sum. The car's owner, who's chosen to remain anonymous, listed the car with the startling starting bid of $1 million.
⏎ Detroit Transit T Shirt: Once Optimistic, Now Just Confusing. [Curbed Detroit]
⏎ Chrysler shows interest in V8 Supercars championship. [Herald Sun]
⏎ Why Ford Should Worry. [Forbes]
⏎ Nissan to invest $2 billion for third plant in Mexico. [Detroit News]
⏎ Chrysler to hire 400 to 500 more workers. [Detroit Free Press]
⏎ Suzuki's Super Bowl Sequel Showcases All-Wheel-Drive Kizashi Sport Sedan. [Marketwatch]
⏎ U.S. Consumers See Fewer Differences Between Car Brands. [Time]
⏎ Gordon Murray Design Forms Partnership With Japan's Toray. [Motor Authority]
⏎ one lousy buck. [Grant Road]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 1979, "The Dukes of Hazzard," a television comedy about two good-old-boy cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS. The show, which originally aired for seven seasons, centered around cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and their ongoing efforts to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner "Boss" Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best). [History]
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