Thursday, March 17th, 2011

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

1st Gear: Given you're probably not in the target demographic, you may have missed last night's episode of the Rachel Maddow Show. If you did, then you missed Rachel Maddow casually mention her in-the-closet obsession with everyone's favorite site obsessed with the cult of cars, Jalopnik. It even turns out she's like a lot of Jalopnik commenters — she loves the site, but isn't a huge fan of the redesign. Who knew? All I know is this was the first time I've been this geeked about a media mention since Stephen Colbert gave me a hummer on The Colbert Report three years ago. Maddow also has us working on a new catchphrase. Maybe something like "Jalopnik: Not as bad as a nuclear meltdown." We like it — it's kinda catchy.

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2nd Gear: Moving on to real news this morning, deep-in-debt Porsche is preparing to draw up a strategy to attract investors as a stand-alone entity now that the merger with Volkswagen AG looks increasingly unlikely. There's now a higher likelihood that Volkswagen will simply exercise an option to take control of the shares in Porsche it doesn't already own without combining with Porsche first. VW Group has a 49.9% stake in Porsche. Wow, it's amazing how this went from Porsche buying Volkswagen to Volkswagen buying Porsche, isn't it?


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3rd Gear: And speaking of Porsche-uh, the German automaker who's about to become Volkswagen's bitch, will enter the Nürburgring 24 hour race on June 25, 2011, with a more advanced version of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The "advancements" include optimization of the flywheel hybrid components, which resulted in a 20% weight reduction. Version 2.0 of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid is intended to achieve the same lap times as its predecessor but with less fuel consumption.


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4th Gear: Land Rover's rolling out the Range Rover Sport Luxury edition in Europe to slot in between the HSE and Autobiography editions. So what sets it apart from the apparently less-luxurious versions of the Ranger Rover Sport? Glad you asked — a sun roof, heated steering wheel, contrast-stitching leather trim and a Harman/Kardon audio system. Seriously. That, apparently, is the definition of luxury in Europe. Who knew?


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5th Gear: Toyota Motor Corp. has asked its employees at its Tokyo office located in the city's Bunkyo section to go home to cooperate in saving electricity, spokesman Paul Nolasco told Bloomberg's Masatsugu Horie earlier this morning by phone. Well, we're all doing our part.


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6th Gear: Toyota won a judicial ruling granting access to insurance and financial data about plaintiffs suing the automaker over economic losses they claim to have suffered from sudden acceleration defects. Yes, but now that plaintiffs showed you theirs, maybe it's time for you to show yours, Toyota. Maybe give up some of that proprietary black box data, eh?


Reverse:

⏎ Mahindra's Pawan Goenka named new Chairman of Ssangyong Motor. [Indian Express]

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⏎ MotoGP Japan's been postponed and the Tokyo Motorcycle Show's been cancelled. [Hell For Leather]

⏎ Ford will taunt other small car automakers today at a ceremony at the Wayne Assembly Plant for the new 2012 Ford Focus. [Detroit News]

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⏎ The next generation Renault Clio supermini will be "dramatic." Whatever the hell that means. [Autocar]

⏎ A "living nightmare" for Motor Trend's Peter Lyons includes "manufacturers not taking any new press car bookings." [Motor Trend]

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Scott Burgess may have resigned from The Detroit News, but that isn't stopping them from running his Kia Optima review. Someone please hire him soon. [Detroit News]

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Today in Automotive History:

Gottlieb Daimler, who in 1890 founded an engine and car company bearing his name, is born in Schorndorf, Germany, on this day in 1834. [History]

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