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: Hola! BMW Looks To Build A Plant In Mexico
Automotive News {sub. required] says BMW is getting close to a decision on building its second North American plant. It says the factory would most likely be built in Mexico, where a raft of car companies have plants, and would produce the 3-series. BMW is considering up to four locations, and is talking to different Mexican government entities about the deal it could get. The company will decide next year, and if it goes ahead, Automotive News said the new factory would open in 2016 or 2017. BMW also might use its Mexican plant to produce the front-wheel drive 1-series that we told you is on the drawing board.

2nd Gear: Unsafe At Any Stride
The Detroit News reports that pedestrian deaths rose in 2010 for the first time in five years. (That's the most recent year for which NHTSA has information available.) Pedestrian deaths are still down from their peak year in 2001, but there's clearly something going in the wrong direction. The News says it's least safe to walk in big cities, probably no surprise. It says 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting, up from 72 percent in 2009. But crosswalks are not the problem: 79 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at places other than intersections, up from 75 percent in 2009. Now, there's a lot of talk about people getting distracted by texting or talking on the phone. But night life might be a bigger threat: more than two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities took place after dark. Older people and very young pedestrians are most at risk, according to the data from NHTSA.

3rd Gear: This Is The New Aston Martin Vanquish
We've shown you photos of the Aston Martin Vanquish, but now we have confirmed details on the British carmaker's almost flagship. Based on a revised version of the company's single platform, the Vanquish is lighter than the DBS and features a revised 6.0-liter V12 with 565 horsepower. Aesthetically, the carbon fiber body is a restrained evolution of AM's masculine style with the addition of LED lights a la the One-77 but with a more reasonable starting price of $279,995. It'll debut at Monterey next week, where we'll be doing our best not to abscond with it, James Bond-style.

4th Gear: Ford's Idea To Get Big In China: Cheap Cars
Bloomberg says Ford, which is way behind its competitors in pushing into the Chinese car market, is heading for the countryside with inexpensive cars. It's gambling that the Chinese hinterland can be a source of customers it hasn't attracted thus far with pricier models. Bloomberg reports some fascinating numbers. VW got to China in 1985 and GM got there a decade later, through a partnership. Ford didn't make a serious push until 2002. This year, VW accounted for five of the 10 top-selling passenger models, while GM had three of the top 10, and Ford one top-seller, the Focus. Ford had a 2.4% share of the country's light-vehicle market, compared with 19% for VW and 10% for GM — not counting sales of GM's microvan, according to LMC Automotive.

Reverse: Volkswagen Halts Beetle Production Because Of WWII
Production of the VW Beetle was stopped early on account of the war, leading Volkswagen's facility to pump out the Beetle-based Type 62 Kubelwagen for German soldiers. When the Kdf-stadt factory (known today as Wolfsburg) factory came under Allied bombing they put a halt to all production on this day in 1944. When Hitler's regime fell, Wolfsburg was lucky enough to come under British control and the country soon began reproducing the Beetle, eventually making it the best-selling car in history. [History]

In keeping with our new discussion system, here's a place for you to own the floor. We're asking each day what you think about an issue that comes up in TMS.

Today, we're going to talk about pedestrians. I live in a college town, and hardly a day goes by when somebody doesn't completely ignore a stoplight, wander off the curb, or walk across the street on their phone. What bugs you most about pedestrians? And pedestrians, if we have any, what bugs you most about drivers? This ought to be fun. Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.

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