In Case You Missed It - Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest, March 13-19, 2017; Awards, Lowest Cost To Own, Hyundai Recall, HVA, CAFE 54.5
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, March 19, 2017; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Senior Editor and Chicago Car Guy along with fellow senior editors Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, give you TACH's "take" on this past week's automotive news in easy to digest mega-tweet sized nuggets.
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Nutson's Nuggets: March 19, 2017
* Surrounded by CEOs of GM, Ford, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler, President Trump told autoworkers and car executives in a speech outside Detroit that his administration is reopening an automaker-requested review of a strict fuel economy mandate. The administration plans to spend the next year reviewing data and will set gas mileage standards in 2018 that are technically and economically realistic and would allow automakers to continue growing and adding jobs. This would pull back the EPA's decision in January under the Obama administration to move forward the fuel economy requirement of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But, don't expect big gas guzzlers to return. The car companies will simply be relieved of trying to sell you what you don't want or need. The president also promised more big news for the automakers next week. Some analysts think that may address import taxes.
* Quality of automotive service continues to show significant improvement and is driving an increase in overall customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. The study measures customer satisfaction with service at a franchised dealer or independent service facility for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of 1- to 5-year-old vehicles. Lexus ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands, with a score of 874. Following in the luxury ranking are Audi (869); Lincoln (868); Porsche (867); and Cadillac (865). Buick ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among mass market brands, with a score of 860. Following in mass market brands are MINI (850); GMC (837); Chevrolet (829); and Nissan (822).
* Automobile Magazine named its 2017 Automobile All-Stars. They are: Acura NSX, BMW M2, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Honda Civic Hatchback Sport, Porsche 718 Cayman S and Volvo S90. From a group of 23 All-Star contenders, the winners were announced via Facebook at the Amelia Island Concours.
* Ford and Volvo are the only two auto makers among the 124 companies listed as the world's most ethical. Will that influence your car-buying decision?
* IntelliChoice, a provider of automotive cost and value analysis, announced the winners of the 2017 Best Overall Value of the Year (BOVY) awards. Each year, IntelliChoice compiles and analyzes data on every new vehicle model sold in the United States to identify those that not only have low total ownership costs, but also lower than expected costs over time when compared to similar models. The 2017 BOVYs represent 23 diverse vehicle segments, enabling shoppers to directly compare similar vehicles over time. Toyota leads the way with 5 awards from the Truck, Van, and Utility classes. This year also saw 5 other brands with multiple award winners with Acura, BMW, Honda, Jeep, and Lexus each taking home 2 awards. Cadillac won best overall value among the premium brands and Porsche won for highest retained value among premium brands.
* Hyundai announced a recall this week of close to a million Sonata sedans in the U.S. to check on a seatbelt anchor problem. Only one minor injury related to the potential problem has been reported. Apparently, they suspect some of the anchors were not properly installed during manufacturer. The recall covers 2011 to 2014 Sonata and Sonata Hybrid models.
* Intel Corp. is paying $15 billion to acquire the Israeli firm Mobileye. Israel has moved into the forefront beside Silicon Valley as the place for startups in the autonomous car business. Virtually every major automaker has established a foothold in Israel. GM has opened a research center, while Renault and Daimler are opening facilities as well. Other companies, including Ford, Honda, Toyota, Subaru, BMW, Mazda, Hyundai, Volvo and Audi are all active in the Israeli market.
* The Volkswagen executive who was arrested in January in Florida as he was about to board a plane for Germany is being kept jailed in the U.S. until his trial which will begin in January of 2018. Oliver Schmidt, former chief of VW's Michigan environmental and engineering center, is facing eleven felony counts for which the sentences could add up to 169 years. His family put up $1.6 million for bail which was denied. Schmidt is one of the executives charged in the diesel emissions cheating scandal.
* The Historic Vehicle Association just announced that three “iconic cars representing the American car culture” will be displayed . . . on the National Mall in Washington D.C. from April 12 to May 4th, 2017.” The three cars - a 1964 Impala lowrider, a 1932 Ford hot rod and a 1951 Mercury custom - will support the HVA’s mission of preserving, sharing and documenting historically significant automobiles, some of which are recognized in the Library of Congress through the National Register of Historic Vehicles. The vehicles will be exhibited in the HVA glass case on the walkway between the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and National Gallery of Art.
* Last week’s kickoff for the 2017 classic and collector car season was nearly rained out. The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was moved from its scheduled Sunday date to Saturday after the weather service guaranteed torrential rains for Sunday. The 300-vehicle show came off without a hitch, a testament to organizers led by Bill Warner, the event’s founder. Winning the prestigious honors was: Best in Show Concours d’Elegance was Terrence Adderly’s 1935 Duesengerg SJ-582 with coachwork designed by Gordon Buehrig and Best in Show Concours de Sport to a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider with coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan belonging to the Dano Davis Collection.
* Before the much anticipated Tesla Model 3 compact electric sedan even comes to market rumors appeared this week that the company plans a crossover SUV very soon thereafter based on the same architecture. Currently called Model Y, though that will not be its official name, is expected to have the same top-hinged rear doors as the Current Model X and cost slightly more than the Model 3. Both Model 3 and this speculative Model Y will have the newest Tesla electrical architecture that will accommodate autonomous driving.