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 parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: Mexico's Mastretta car company, was ridiculed three weeks ago on the BBC's Top Gear as producing cars that are "lazy", "feckless" and "flatulent" — qualities it said paralleled the national character. Now Mastretta hopes to parlay its new-found fame into greater car sales for its MXT super car(above). We'd be lazy comedic writers if we made yet another siesta joke, but we will point out it did take three weeks to get this message out.
2nd Gear: Toho Co., the Japanese film studio best known for producing dozens of Godzilla movies over the past six decades, is out to stomp what it claims is Honda's unauthorized use of Godzilla's lizardly likeness in a "man van" commercial for the Odyssey minivan earlier this year. Yup, Godzilla's suing Honda. Where's Mothra when you need her(him, it?)?
3rd Gear: A new Melbourne-based company, EV Engineering Limited, says it will build seven proof-of-concept full-electric Holden Commodores by the middle of 2012. Well, if you're gonna make it an electric appliance, why not make it out of a brick house while you're at it?
4th Gear: Chinese carmaker BYD, backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Friday it was slashing prices of five models by up to one-fifth in an effort to gain market share. Because, you know, when we think Chinese cars — the first thought that pops into our minds is "too expensive."
5th Gear: The MG TF is likely to be axed this year after 16 years of production. The new Chinese-owned MG company has manufactured a few hundred TFs in Longbridge, but Brits have only bought a handful of TFs since its relaunch in 2008. MG sold 133 of its two-seater roadster in 2008, 374 in 2009 and 282 in 2010. Countless dozens of fans are expected to mourn its passing.
6th Gear: In other news, just days after Pagani announced its new supercar would be coming to the United States, we've learned it will now be available for the Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed video game. We're also told that upon seeing the car for the first time, the in-game avatar will immediately bend over and Huarya on the track.
⏎ Gawk at Detroit Tigers' Victor Martinez' new Rolls Royce Ghost and Justin Verlander's Ferrari 458 Italia. [Business Insider]
⏎ As expected, the U.S. House voted to end the job of "car czar"...one month after the guy stepped down. [Detroit News]
⏎ Holden's looking at a small crossover and a "rugged" 4x4 wagon to slide in alongside the Captiva. [GoAuto]
⏎ Wall Street insiders, business leaders are buying up GM stock. [Detroit News]
⏎ Toyota's opening its first new Japanese manufacturing facility in years. [Reuters]
⏎ Ford's going after Fiat's sloppy seconds in Russia. [Automotive News]
⏎ In mother Russia, 6th largest car market becomes you! [Automotive News]
⏎ Sadly, we've learned Ron Hickman, the man behind the Lotus Elan, has passed away at the age of 78. [Classic and Performance Car]
Today in Automotive History:
On this day in 2001, Dale Earnhardt Sr., dies at the age of 49 in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. [History]
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