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: TMS Speeds Up So You Can Get Moving
Today, we're introducing some improvements to TMS designed to speed up your read and help you merge faster into your day. From now on, we'll feature four big stories, sometimes five if there's one more we think you should know about. Reverses are going away. Instead, we're going to have a constant flow of news headlines, which we're calling Blips. Neutral stays, so you keep the floor. Pop in, pop out, pop back. That's the faster, fresher TMS. We're still tweaking it, so let us know what you think in Kinja.
2nd Gear: GM's Big Check To Manchester United
Reuters reports that GM's big deal with Man U is going to cost the company $553 million over seven years. (That's very close to what Reuters reported last week, so kudos to their sourcing.) The details came out in a regulatory filing. The agreement with GM starts in the 2014-2015 season, but the club will start to reap some financial benefits as soon as this year, Reuters reports. It says GM will pay fees of $18.6 million in this year's and next year's season, it said, before paying $70 million in the 2014-2105 season, which is when it can start putting Chevrolet's name on Man U's jerseys. GM's payments will rise 2.1 percent each season thereafter, through the 2020-2021 season, the regulatory filing said. GM's payments are more than double the current bill paid by insurance broker Aon, and that is most likely a reason why Joel Ewanick is no longer GM's chief marketing officer.
3rd Gear: BMW Speeds Up Deliveries of the X1
Auto Spies says that people who ordered the BMW X1 will be getting it sooner than they expected — like, now. And, you can credit the Olympics for BMW's move. Auto Spies says BMW sent out a bulletin this weekend about X1, which you can see in this video. "The 2012 London Olympic Games are underway and BMW's media presence is outstanding and creating a very powerful BMW presence. One commercial in particular features the all new X1. To enhance traffic and support consumer demand generated by the ad, we are pulling forward the September launch date and releasing these vehicles immediately. There's no better way to capture the sales excitement by having a vehicle on-hand." So, call your stock broker from the lake and make sure you have the money in your account.
4th Gear: Fiat Can't Get Its Hands On Chrysler's Cash
USA TODAY reports this interesting detail of the Fiat-Chrysler relationship. It says Fiat, which is struggling in Europe, is not able to tap Chrysler's $13 billion in cash in order to shore up the Italian automaker. "Firewalls are up; (Fiat) can't get to it," Marchionne said during a conference call with analysts last week. You can thank the Treasury Department for those firewalls, which were erected when Fiat came forward in 2009 to take management control of bankrupt Chrysler. Although Fiat can tap into Chrysler's profits, it cannot use Chrysler as an ATM. Right now, it doesn't need to, since Fiat actually has more cash than Chrysler, about $14.9 billion. But when the auto market goes south, it can do so in a hurry. That's why analysts are asking questions about GM's loan to Opel, which Forbes wrote about this weekend.
5th Gear: Southwest Airlines Busts A Bunch Of Debit Cards
The Los Angeles Times writes about the Southwest Airlines offer to its Facebook friends that turned into a nightmare. Maybe you got one of the emails last week that said Southwest was offering half off on a collection of routes. (I tried to book, but ran into problems, and gave up. Now I'm glad I did.) Computer glitches caused people who booked the cheap fares to be charged multiple times, and other customers weren't even able to get on the site. The airline promised to cancel all the extra bookings and refund any overdraft charges that customers encountered. Some of them were cool about it, but the LA Times said there were some angry comments on Southwest's Facebook page. "You wiped out my checking account!" one person posted. "Are you going to pay my bills? Put gas in my car while I wait?"
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 want to know if you've got a car on order for this fall — X1, Dodge Dart, something else? Or do you stay away from ordering the first one of something? What has been your experience with getting your hands on a hot new car? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.
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