Monday, April 18th, 2011

The Morning ShiftAll your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn't your time more important?


1st Gear: While we're warily anticipating this week's New York Auto Show, much of the big industry news (is that an oxymoron?) has been exported to the Shanghai Motor Show, where General Motors said today it plans to double its China sales to five million vehicles a year with partner/government-required home team Shanghai Automotive. That will require 60 new models, including 12 Buicks and 15 Chevrolets. China's welcome to have GM's EN-V pod thing — just as long as it doesn't get an El Camino before us.

2nd Gear: Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said he's told bankers pushing him to pursue an initial public offering of Ferrari that the division may be worth more than the five billion euros ($7.3 billion) they claim it is. "I've always viewed Ferrari as a sacred brand, and sacred brands are peculiar," Marchionne said in an interview at Fiat's headquarters in Turin, Italy. "I know I can float Ferrari any time, but there's nothing on my desk."


3rd Gear: Bloomberg reports this morning that Nissan will recall 5,300 Leaf electric cars sold worldwide, after "a very small proportion" of the vehicles failed to restart once turned off. Nissan will contact customers next week to bring their cars in for a reprogramming to fix the problem, the company said in an e-mailed statement dated yesterday. The problem doesn't present any safety issue as vehicles will not stop running while being driven, Nissan said. Except when it won't stop right after your ailing grandmother's had a heart attack while the two of you were out picking up kale and celeriac at the local food co-op. We're not saying that did happen, but, you know, it could, right?


4th Gear: Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that its new compact crossover SUV will be called the Mazda CX-5. It is the production model derived from the Mazda Minagi concept car, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year and will be shown at the New York International Auto Show that opens on April 20, 2011. See, if it were coming out on April 1st, 2011, we'd have totally thought this was an April Fools' Day joke. Totally.


5th Gear: We know, it's Monday, the last thing you want to hear is yet another story about how gas prices keep climbing. So just pretend you didn't see this link reporting $5 a gallon fuel in San Diego. Schadenfreude from the European commenters in 3...2...1...


6th Gear: The impact of last month's earthquake in Japan on the supply of components for the auto industry remains "unclear," Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said today at the Shanghai Motor Show. And as we all know, the other word you can spell with those seven letters is "nuclear."


⏎ GM's looking to trademark "Crossvolt." [Car and Driver]

⏎ Lewis Hamilton wins non-boring China Grand Prix. [Sky Sports]

⏎ What, did the Soleil Anadi and Maserati GranCabrio Sport both arrive at the same dock? [Autoblog]


⏎ Nissan builds a carbon-fiber racing version of the Leaf that has no racing series. Why? Because... [CNET]

⏎ Zotye Lang Yue electric car commits self-immolation in Hangzhou. [China Car Times]


Today in Automotive History:

The Ford Mustang, a two-seat sports car, is officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, on April 17, 1964. That same day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers. Named for a World War II fighter plane, the Mustang was the first of a type of vehicle that came to be known as a "pony car." Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs within its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations. [History]


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