1st Gear: Porsche is officially announcing this morning that they'll be building the fabulously gorgeous 918 Hybrid first shown at last year's Geneva Motor Show. The supercar gets a 500-plus horsepower V8 engine and a plug-in electric powertrain consisting of two electric motors totaling another 218 horsepower. Porsche will produce no more than 918 units with start of production beginning on September 18th, 2013 (9/18). Suggested retail price is $845,000 (excluding destination and handling charges) and they're taking customer orders right now. Act now and Porsche will also throw in a special-edition 911 Turbo S Coupe or Cabriolet for just $160,000 and $172,100 respectively. Operators are standing by.
2nd Gear: From the New York Times story on AT&T's $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile: "To keep word of the deal from leaking, the AT&T team devised a complicated list of code names, known as "Project Auto." AT&T was called "Tesla"; Deutsche Telekom was "Daimler" and T-Mobile was "Mercury." When asked why T-Mobile was named Mercury - not exactly known for high-performance vehicles - Randall Stephenson, the chief executive of AT&T, chuckled: "We needed an ‘M.' Nothing more."
3rd Gear: Bloomberg reports this morning that Nissan may ship engines from Tennessee to Japan after March 11th's massive earthquake damaged a plant in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, according to Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa. The Iwaki plant makes engines for models including Infiniti sedans and Elgrand minivans, he said.
4th Gear: Last Thursday, after being ill for quite some time with lung cancer, German tuner and former driver Richard Hamman passed away at the age of 53. Hamann founded the self-named Hamann Motorsport GmbH, a tuning shop for every European car under the sun, in 1986, after spending almost two decades as a driver.
5th Gear: U.S. automakers may seek to start providing as much as 15% of union workers' compensation in performance bonuses and lump-sum payments, emulating how their Japanese counterparts and salaried employees are paid. Bloomberg's Tim Higgins and Keith Naughton reportthat Sean McAlinden, the chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research says GM, Ford and Chrysler may try to avoid granting annual raises to their 107,000 hourly employees as they negotiate new contracts with the United Auto Workers this year. Instead, the companies may offer annual bonuses totaling as much as $10,000 that would partially depend on meeting productivity and quality goals. Hey, if it works for writers and Michael Keaton in "Gung Ho", why not auto workers?
6th Gear: The new C-Class coupe, first shown earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show, received its inevitable AMG upgrades ahead of next month's New York Auto Show. The C63 AMG Coupe's dressings include the always-welcome 451 horsepower 6.2-liter V8 with a a seven-speed Speedshift MCT gearbox that should take the two-door AMG hotness from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 155 MPH. Or, when you tick the AMG Development pack check box, you'll get 481 horses, a 4.3 second 0-to-60 time and a 174 MPH top speed. Although the press shots are in white, we'll take one in black, please.
⏎ Double parking in Brooklyn is punishable by taser. [Gawker]
⏎ Collectors look for the O'doul's of gasoline. [New York Times]
⏎ The next-generation Holden Commodore VF will get styling cues from the Chevy Volt? Eeeww. [GoAuto]
⏎ Prices of vehicles from Japan are expected to climb. [Detroit News]
⏎ GM's halting "nonessential" spending due to Japanese disaster. [CNBC]
Today in Automotive History:
Ayrton Senna da Silva, the three-time Formula One (F1) world champion, is born on this day in 1960, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Senna's celebrated career was cut short in 1994 when he died at the age of 34 following a crash at a Grand Prix race in Italy. At the time of his death, he was considered by many to be the world's best F1 driver. [History]
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