Nutson's Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending December 14, 2019 - NYC to California 27 hours, 25 minutes and seven seconds
New York To California Cannonball Run Record Speed; Fiat and UAW Settle; Car Mags Black Flagged; Chevy Suburban Hollywood Starred; China's Car Buyers Say 没有 To New Cars, Especially EV and Hybrids; Bad Boy Trump's Good For America NAFTA Agreements Make Even Never Trumpers Agreeable; Shared Electric Scooters Pain In The Head; Electric Ferrari?; Electric Only Cadillac's; Europe Forces EV's On Mercedes; Tesla Pickup's Great PR; VW Dieselgate continues, Big Ford and Subaru Recalls
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending DECEMBER 14, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* Early one recent Sunday morning three men set off from a garage in Midtown Manhattan in a nondescript Mercedes C63, heading for the George Washington Bridge. Exactly 27 hours, 25 minutes and seven seconds later they pulled up outside the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California, after a hectic drive in which they dodged police cars, speed traps and deer carcasses. The average speed was 103mph; the top speed, at one point, 193mph. They had used up just 22 minutes for fuel stops. Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt and Berkeley Chadwick had set a record in the legendary, highly illegal but persistently popular coast-to-coast dash known as the Cannonball Run. The previous record for the 2,285 mile run was 28 hours and 50 minutes set in October 2013.
* Fiat Chrysler's roughly 47,000 hourly UAW workers overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year labor contract, ending the most contentious set of Detroit 3 negotiations in years. Roughly 71 percent of workers voted in favor of the deal, the union said.
* TEN Publishing will shutter 19 of its 22 automotive magazines by the end of the year, leaving MotorTrend, Hot Rod, and Four Wheeler as the only three titles that will continue to be published in print in 2020. Titles going out of print include Automobile, Car Craft, Super Chevy, Lowrider, Truck Trend and Vette, among several others. While TEN Publishing will no longer print these magazines MotorTrend Group will continue to offer digital coverage for these discontinued print titles online.
* Chevrolet Suburban got a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Chevrolet Suburban became the first vehicle ever awarded an Award of Excellence star at Hollywood & Highland. Presented by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and unveiled at a ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, the award recognizes Suburban for its 67-year career in Hollywood film and television. The iconic vehicle starred in more than 1,750 films and television series since 1952.
* Joe White for Reuters writes: So much for the idea that Chinese consumers are embracing electrified cars. Not without bigger government subsidies they aren't. Sales of "new energy vehicles," the Chinese government's term for hybrid and battery electric vehicles, fell nearly 44% in November, after a 46% year over year plunge in October following cuts in subsidies. Overall vehicle sales in the world's largest market fell for the 17th month in a row.
* China light vehicle sales to fall for third year in 2020, forecasters say. Sales will fall 2 percent to 25.3 million units in 2020, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicted. That follows a drop of about 3 percent last year -- the first decline in decades -- and about 8 percent this year.
* Reuters' Joe White says Washington (and Detroit) are celebrating what appears to be the real deal to secure a new North American free trade agreement, now renamed the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement. Unions and Democrats in Congress have now signed on after revisions aimed at better protecting U.S. workers. Participants in the negotiations said it was rough going, with shouting matches and abruptly hung up phone calls. For the auto industry, with supply chains that criss-cross the borders, the devil will be in the details of how new regional and U.S. content rules are applied and enforced. To qualify for zero tariffs under the new deal, a car or truck must have 75% of its components manufactured in Canada, Mexico or the United States. That’s a considerable jump from the current 62.5% mandate.
* Public health researchers are sounding alarms about riders of shared electric bikes and scooters showing up in emergency rooms with head and other injuries after falling off their app-enabled rides. E-bike sharing startup Wheels is proposing to attack the problem by connecting a helmet with a peel-away liner to its bikes, and offering a 20% discount if riders unlock the helmet.
* Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri told reporters the Italian super car maker plans a battery electric model, but not until "post-2025" when he hopes battery technology will be improved. "The battery technology is not where it should be yet," he said. Camilleri is saying what many auto industry executives say, but the stakes are especially high for the super premium brands. Porsche was embarrassed this week when the EPA gave the all-electric Taycan an estimated range of just 201 miles. Porsche has hired its own testing consultants to argue for a do-over.
* Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said the General Motors luxury brand could be all electric by 2030, including an electric large SUV that might just be called Escalade. Cadillac's future electric vehicles will have real names, not alphanumeric codes, Cadillac officials said. How rapidly Cadillac transitions from its current internal combustion lineup to an all-electric showroom will be up to its customers, who are primarily in the U.S. and China, Carlisle said. The first new generation electric Cadillac is expected to launch in about two years. GM plans to have 20 electric nameplates by 2023.
* Mercedes will delay the U.S. sales of its all-electric EQC by a year. Strong demand in Europe and tougher emissions rules across the European Union are forcing Mercedes-Benz to postpone the U.S. sales launch of its first electric vehicle, the EQC, to 2021, stymying the American unit's plans to compete with EVs from Tesla, Audi, BMW and Jaguar. This story from Automotive News.
* VW dieselgate continues. Charged with violating Canada's vehicle emission standards, VW had 60 counts against it for breaching the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by importing vehicles that did not conform to prescribed emission standards. The automaker is accused of importing 128,000 vehicles that don't meet requirements.
* A study by Piplsay Research says that a whopping 68% of Americans know about the Tesla Cybertruck. But only 44% of them have seen the mean machine. After polling over 21,143 Americans about their views on the Cybertruck, among those who are not impressed, about 22% of them say that they can’t relate to its looks or everyday utility. Only 20% of Americans think the mean machine looks quite futuristic, while another 9% feel that this will usher in a new era in automobile design. We'll just have to wait and see.
* Ford issued a recall for nearly 550,000 Super Duty pickups in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The action, which covers 547,538 trucks in the 2017 through 2019 model year, covers carpet flooring that could catch fire after a crash, the company said.
* Subaru is recalling nearly 300,000 cars that could lose power. The recall affects multiple Subaru Crosstreks, Imprezas, Foresters, Ascents, and Crosstrek Hybrids manufactured between 2017 and 2019.