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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: Europe Is A Sea Of Red Ink For Ford
The second quarter is in, and Ford had an expected sea of red ink in Europe during the second quarter. It lost $404 million there, and is now expecting a Euro-loss of $1 billion for the year. (Thanks for hiding that bombshell deep in the press release, guys.) The company calls the situation in Europe more structural than cyclical, which is corporate speak for "we're not going to be able to fix this soon." Overall, Ford's second-quarter net income fell by $1.4 billion to $1 billion, and it's now saying that it expects its 2012 operating income to be lower than 2011. You can read the release here.

Let's put all this in perspective. Everyone has known that GM had terrible issues in Europe, but Ford's European problems are just coming into focus (no pun intended). In order for Ford to stay on the profit path it's been on, all of its operations around the world have to contribute. A serious setback at Ford in Europe will tarnish the crown that Alan Mulally has been wearing since he got to town, and it also will show that GM is far from alone in its struggles overseas. The last thing these two American auto giants need is for all their hard work here to be wiped out by operations outside the U.S.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that the European situation is gloomy at two other companies. Daimler issued a second quarter profit warning, although it blamed its expected decline mainly on the cost of introducing new small models. Daimler said its operating earnings fell to $2.7 billion from $3.13 billion a year ago, although its sales revenue was actually up 10 percent. "Economic uncertainty and risks exist in nearly all regions," said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. "We therefore remain vigilant." Still, Daimler is sticking to its operating profit goal of 9 billion Euros, even as analysts are cutting forecasts. At Peugeot, operating profit plunged to $4.8 million from $1.4 billion a year ago. (When a company Peugeot's size reports a profit that small, it's practically a rounding error). Volkswagen reports its results tomorrow.


2nd Gear: Ford Gets Aggressive With C-Max, Also Announces MKZ Pricing
In more Ford news, The Los Angeles Times says it has gotten aggressive in pricing the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. It did the math, and says if you include federal tax credits, plus a California rebate on plug-in sales, the C-Max has the lowest price among the industry's three main plug-ins, which also include the Chevy Volt and Toyota's plug-in Prius. For those of us who don't live in California, the C-Max isn't the cheapest choice. It will start at $33,745, before any deals. That compares with $32,795 for the Prius, but $39,999 for the Volt, each before rebates and credits. We're debating it here.


Meanwhile, Ford says the 2013 Lincoln MKZ will start at $35,925, not including destination charges. It says that's $150 less than the Lexus ES 350. Ford also says the hybrid MKZ will not cost any more than the gas-powered version.


3rd Gear: Isaac Mizrahi For Chevrolet, Darling?
Chevrolet released this photo yesterday that seems to spell things to come for a new celebrity endorsement. It shows international fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, star of Project Runway, looking at a Malibu Eco that was parked near his New York studio. It's just Isaac, in a nice suit with a pocket square that matches the car. We know these things don't happen by accident, but when we asked Chevrolet if they had a relationship, they responded, "Watch for more news to come." We like Isaac (who doesn't?) and loved his clothes at Target, as well as his original half hour TV show that took place on a white set. So, if Chevrolet wants to bring back the days of Emilio Pucci, Bill Blass and Givenchy for Lincoln, it's fine with us.


4th Gear: Pip, Pip! Pre-Olympics Lines Snarl London's Main Train Station
The Associated Press reports on what we're likely to hear more of this week: long lines at St. Pancras, the central London station everyone must pass through to get to the Olympic Park. The delays turned what is supposed to be a six to seven minute trip, which Mayor Boris Johnson experienced n a test run, into a 50 minute nightmare. Barricades even had to be put up to control the unruly crowds. (Unruly in London = someone bumping into you and failing to tip their hat.) The route to the park features the new high speed Javelin train that you'll undoubtedly see all over Facebook and Twitter for the next couple of weeks.

The Javelin is supposed to move 25,000 people an hour, running 24 hours a day. There will be 200 extra trains every day during the Olympics, with a total of 6.2 million seats. On top of the problems at St. Pancras, the tube line to the park and an above ground train also temporarily shutdown, when all the volunteers descended to rehearse for Friday's opening ceremonies. Now, London transport nowadays is such a mess that any little hiccup can shut a subway line, so it isn't a surprise to hear that an overload of people caused problems. But at least St. Pancras has all the creature comforts you could want, from pubs and a hotel to Marks and Spencer wine gums. Easy goes. Just have another pint while you wait.


5th Gear: Loonies Flying For Car Companies In Canada
The Globe and Mail reports the loonies are flying out of car company wallets, which is a good thing for the Canadian auto industry. It says General Motors agreed to spend $750 million on research and development in Canada over the next few years, which is part of a $1 billion commitment it made when it got a bailout from the government. Meanwhile, Toyota is going to invest another $100 million at its plant in Cambridge, Ontario, where it makes the Lexus RS. The Toyota investment will create another 400 jobs at the plant, which will become the company's sole global source for the RX in 2014. The Ontario plant also is getting the RX 400h. Once the investment is complete, Toyota will be able to build 500,000 vehicles a year in Canada.


6th Gear: 2013 Audi R8: This Is It And It Is Beautiful

Audi just revealed the new look for their sexy flagship 2013 Audi R8 supercar. While only a refresh, the company has managed to render into metal the best of Ingolstadt's new design language. More »



Daimler Cuts A Deal To Build More A-Classes [Reuters]

BMW Invests In EV Charger Company [Reuters]

GM Will Send Buyout Payments In August {MLive]

A.J. Allmendinger Suspended By NASCAR After Another Positive Drug Test [USA Today]


Will Chrysler Be The CAW's Strike Target? [Windsor Star]

This English Town Could Cut Your Carbon Emissions In Half [Atlantic Cities]

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'd love to know what you think of Europe. Is it going to fall apart and take the American profits with it? Or is this just cyclical and we'll all forget about this downturn in a few years? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.


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