Nutsons Auto News Review - Week Ending June 13, 2020
It Happened Last Week: Wuhan Virus STILL Affecting Our Auto Universe; New Model Reveals - Yes and No; 40% Less Traffic; Summer Road Trips Coming?; Lyft and Uber Drivers Ruled Employees (Buh-Bye?); EV Ubiquity-Naht Yet!; Tesla Delivers 11,000 3's in China (Big Whoopie); Over The Web Digital Signatures OK For Buying A VW; Honda Production Hacked; Recalls Last Week: Bentley, Ford, Chrysler; Porsche's Mezger Crosses Finish Line (RIP); NASCAR Bans "Rebel" Flag Not Rebel Drivers; Bonneville Speed Week Happening; July 4-5 IndyCar/NASCAR Doubleheader Sans Fans, 2020 Indy 500 With Fans; F1 Scheduling
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending June 13, 2020; Important or pithy automotive news, Opinion and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
*It wasn't your imagination. There has been a lot less traffic on U.S. roads as people stayed home to avoid COVID-19. Travel on U.S. roads fell by 40% in April. The concurrent clearing of the skies over normally smoggy cities was a silver lining around the very dark economic cloud. But as states reopen, Inrix reports traffic is coming back.
* As shelter in place orders are beginning to lift across the country, vacation planning is becoming a reality for many. According to a recent poll, 24% of Americans say they are planning a vacation and 35% say that their first trip after stay-at-home orders lift will be a day trip or experience of some kind that is close to home.
* California regulators said drivers for Uber and Lyft should be classified as employees, not contractors. Shares in both ride hailing companies fell sharply on the news. Uber and Lyft have so far avoided paying costs that would be associated with classifying drivers as employees, including unemployment insurance and health care.
* Bloomberg reports that GM's top executive expects it will take decades for electric vehicles to take over as the dominant form of transportation but sees driverless cars on the road within five years. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said American drivers will go electric, but it will take a long time for most of the 250 million vehicles on U.S. roads to be battery powered. Barra said it will take more than 20 years.
* Reuters reports that Tesla tripled its sales in China during May compared to April, boosting deliveries of Model 3s to more than 11,000 vehicles, the China Passenger Car Association reported. Sales of premium and luxury brands overall rose by 28% in May compared to a year earlier, outpacing the broader market, which rose by 1.9%. On paper, the Chinese auto market has recovered from the coronavirus shock with a year over year sales improvement.
* Lexus has respectfully postponed the world premiere of the new IS, which was originally scheduled for June 9. The new date is Monday, June 15. Subaru revealed its all-new 2021 Crosstrek Sport this week– on what would have been the first press day of the 2020 North American International Auto Show. Mercedes-Benz USA unveiled the highly exclusive new S 650 Maybach Night Edition featuring unique and distinctive black and carbon fiber elements. Available for the 2020 model year, this stunning special edition is limited to just 15 units and is only available for the U.S. market. BMW launched the 2nd generation X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, the newest addition to the U.S. X5 lineup.
* Volkswagen of America and VW Credit, Inc. announced the availability of remote digital signatures across the Volkswagen dealer network to offer customers and dealers flexibility during the pandemic. Sign Anywhere is remote, digital signature tool powered by CDK Global that allows customers to remotely and securely digitally sign financial documents with their own computer or mobile device without stepping foot in a showroom – providing an online automotive buying experience. While digital signature technology has been in widespread use for some time, it has taken time to adopt this technology to meet the requirements found in the financial services space. Volkswagen is among the first to offer Sign Anywhere at its dealerships through its financial services arm VCI.
* No one is safe. American Honda said some factories were forced to shut down in North America because of a loss of computer connectivity. "Honda has experienced a cyberattack that has affected production operations at some U.S. plants," the company said.
* FCA US is recalling an estimated 27,634 vehicles globally, to address a 12-volt battery connection that may pose fire risk. Twelve-volt battery systems provide power to auxiliary features, such as radios and remote-control garage-door openers. The recall is limited to model-year 2017-2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.
* Ford Motor Co. said it will recall 2.15 million U.S. vehicles with potentially faulty door latches. The automaker said the recall covers many Ford and Lincoln vehicles from the 2011-15 model years. The recalled vehicles may not have had all door latches replaced or correctly replaced when repaired by dealerships under recalls issued in 2015 and 2016. The recall covers some Ford Fiesta, C-Max, Focus, Mustang. Fusion, Escape, Transit Connect, Lincoln MKZ and MKC vehicles.
* Bentley is recalling 6,000 Bentayga SUVs over fuel line leak. The vehicles are Bentayga V8 SUVs built between January 2018 and March 2020, mostly for the U.S. market.
* Renowned Porsche engineer Hans Mezger passed away at the age of 90. Porsche owes much of its success to Hans Mezger, who was instrumental in developing the iconic air-cooled 911 engine, the dominating 917 race car, and the groundbreaking TAG turbocharged Formula 1 engine, among other significant highlights for the brand.
* NASCAR said it would ban the Confederate flag from its events and properties amid a national reckoning over racism after the death of George Floyd. NASCAR made the announcement two days after Darrell Wallace Jr., the first black driver in 50 years to win one of NASCAR’s top three national touring series, called on NASCAR to ban the flags outright. Bubba Wallace piloted a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme on his no, 43 Petty Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
* The Southern California Timing Association has announced plans to stage Bonneville Speed Week 2020 on August 8-14, with the Bonneville World Finals set for September 29-October 2. The decision to proceed, with some changes for social distancing and health concerns, is for Speed Week to happen with record-setting runs are anticipated in a wide variety of categories.
* Fans will now not be allowed to attend the first IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader and Brickyard 400 on July 4-5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As for the Indy 500: “Trust me, we are going to run it (Indianapolis 500) with fans,” said Roger Penske the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series told RACER.
* Formula One races in Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan were canceled because of issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The Formula One governing body still hopes to deliver put to 18 races in the rearranged 2020 season. The first eight races have been confirmed with the first in Austria in early July.
Stay safe. Be Well.