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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 every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?

1st Gear: There's A New Lincoln Platform D6. That's the new flexible platform that Lincoln is spending money to develop in order to actually make the company more than a re-seller of glorified Fords, according to Reuters.

Here's the info:

The springboard for the Lincoln revival plan is a new family of vehicles that will be built on a highly flexible premium platform that can be configured for front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive vehicles, according to industry sources familiar with Ford's plans.


The flexible architecture of the D6 will provide the mechanical base for a wide variety of sedans and crossovers starting in 2019, all designed to give Lincoln more differentiation from its Ford-branded siblings, as well as a stronger foundation on which to build more competitive luxury models to pit against the sector leaders.

Before the first of the new D6-based models arrive, Lincoln will update most of its existing products, starting with a redesigned MKX midsize crossover in spring 2015 and a replacement for the MKS large sedan in spring 2016, sources said. The latter model will include a long-wheelbase version with more room inside for Chinese customers, Galhotra said.


They also added that Alan Mulally wanted to sell or close Lincoln, which is something that we've always heard Mark Fields and Jim Farley were against. Here's hoping they can make with the awesome.

2nd Gear: Toyota Grows 2.8% To Edge Volkswagen


VW is still Blitzkrieging ahead towards its goal of becoming the world's largest automaker, but a 2.8% rise keeps a slight lead of about 200,000 vehicles for the first nine months of the year according to Bloomberg.

The tight race between global giants is playing out as automakers, their customers and regulators contend with mounting recalls and rising scrutiny over the safety of vehicles. The industrywide struggle with defective cars poses risk to both Toyota and Volkswagen, which are benefiting from increasing demand in the China and U.S. markets.

“It’s a fantastic race, with their strengths coming in different parts of the world,” James Chao, a Shanghai-based director at IHS Automotive, said by phone. “You see the U.S. coming back quite strongly for Toyota, and then you see the great engine of growth for Volkswagen being China, which is continuing to perform.”


Both Toyota and Volkswagen will likely top 10,000,000 global vehicle sales this year. That's a lot of Daihatsus.

3rd Gear: So, The Wrangler Will Be Body-on-Frame?


Apparently, the all-aluminum Jeep Wrangler that most people are curious about and that people in Toledo are afraid of... maybe isn't happening? Or not happening yet?

Either way, the mere suggestions by Sergio Marchionne has politicians in Ohio scrambling. From The Detroit News:

A group of Ohio delegates, including four from Toledo, traveled to Auburn Hills a week after the comments to sit down with Marchionne and discuss the vehicle’s future. No decision was made at the meeting, but the city’s business case to keep the next generation Wrangler “was discussed at great length” and a future meeting was planned.

Part of that case could be to expand or move Wrangler production within Toledo. The Toledo City Council on Tuesday gave Mayor D. Michael Collins approval to spend nearly $10 million to buy a 58-acre property and more than 32 acres in North Toledo, according to local newspaper The Blade.


Oh yeah, I might move Jalopnik to Austin. YOUR MOVE DE BLASIO.

4th Gear: Who Checks Your Fuel Economy?


There have been a lot of companies having to go back and rectify their fuel economy numbers after being allowed to essentially volunteer that information for years. Now we're seeing more MPG audits and Alisa Priddle has the story of the people who do it.

Basically, a team of 175 engineers use equipment at a massive facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan to test automaker claims. Why so many people?

Like the tax code, the system has become very complicated and full of loopholes, said analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific. The system may be broken, but until the industry can rethink how to achieve better fuel economy, there is no other way to police the testing of 330 different nameplates, all equipped differently.


How about CO2 emissions like the rest of the world?

5th Gear: It's All About Chinese Growth


At some point, growth in the Chinese car market has to level off. How far away are we from it?

The market was supposed to grow 8.9% in 2014 after growing 13.9% in 2013, buuuuuut there's this from Reuters:

"Personally, I think growth this year can reach 7 percent," Dong Yang, secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Shanghai.

"The economy is slowing. The auto industry would reflect that but typically lags the economic cycle by a bit."


We'll see.

Reverse: Wait, Really?

On October 27, 2006, the last Ford Taurus rolls off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia. The keys to the silver car went to 85-year-old Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise, who took it straight to his company's headquarters in Atlanta and added it to an elaborate display that included 19 other cars, including one of the earliest Fords. "I do have this disease of collecting cars," Cathy told a reporter. "I was very sorry [the workers at the Ford plant] lost their jobs," he said, but "since I was gonna get the keys, I was glad for that."



Neutral: What Should The First Three New Lincoln Vehicles Be? Assuming you get to pick the first three new Lincoln products what would they be?


Photo Credit: Getty Images