Nutson's Weekly Auto News Digest - December 28 - January 3, 2016; Drive Home, Gorilla Glass, Truck of Year, Genesis Breaks
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
AUTO CENTRAL Chicago, January 3, 2016; 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 nuggets. If you wish to know more just click on the link that will take you to the full story as published here on The Auto Channel.
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* Drive Home With Steve Purdy;Three vintage cars are on the road this week driving a 2,900-mile route from Tacoma, WA to Detroit to help open the North American International Auto Show. The project, called “A Drive Home" is the brainchild of David Madeira, CEO of The LeMay, America’s Car Museum and Rod Alberts, executive director of the NAIAS. The ’57 Chevy Nomad, ’61 Chrysler 300G and the ’66 Mustang are running fine at midpoint having just crossed the famous 12,000-foot Loveland Pass west of Denver. They arrive in Detroit late this week, with a stop along the route in Chicago.
* The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, beginning this week, has become a major venue for automotive technology. BMW will show their “Vision Car” demonstrating interior and user interfaces of the future. One is what they call AirTouch using simple hand gestures made with a flat hand - like a touch screen without the touch requirement. Many journalists cover the CES show then must head right for the Detroit auto show making this one of the most intense times in the automotive media business. The CEOs from both Ford and GM will be making some news and we'll see the latest in driverless car technology.
* The North American International Auto Show in Detroit media previews start on January 11 and will bring 5,000 journalists from 60 countries to this, one of the five most important motor shows in the world. A few manufactures who have been regulars at the show have opted out this year like Mini and Tesla, but their spaces were quickly soaked up by others. With the auto industry cooking along at a record sales pace we expect an enthusiastic and forward-looking show. Watch for all the details here on The Auto Channel.
* Hot on the heels of the Detroit auto show, February brings the Chicago Auto Show that always provides some big auto industry announcements. Chicago-based auto editors recently shared some of their top car picks that you can see here. http://www.chicagoautoshow.com/auto-show-blog/editors-choice-top-picks-from-2015/
* Did you ever drop your cellphone and find the glass didn't crack? That lightweight glass, called Gorilla Glass, is making its way into cars. BMW was the first to use it on an interior panel in the i8. Now Ford will use it for the front windshield and rear backlite on the new Ford GT. Expect to see the lightweight glass appear on more vehicles as car makers work to reduce weight.
* How would you like to have the wheels of your choice on your new vehicle? Superior Industries International Inc. is a longtime auto supplier with roots dating back to 1957 in southern California. The company, which supplies basic aluminum wheels to most of the world’s major automakers, has a new CEO, a new headquarters and a plan to sell custom wheels directly to automakers. Yes, custom wheels. We'll be watching how this develops.
* GM China has introduced a carpooling pilot program for employees based in Shanghai that enables them to arrange rides together using a self-developed mobile app. The mobile app will enable about 700 employees at GM China’s Shanghai headquarters to share an enjoyable (really?) ride with their colleagues while making an effort to reduce emissions and congestion. Ford is doing something similar in Dearborn. Now we have car companies working to reduce the need for…cars!
* The soon-to-launch Audi A3 Sportback e-tron earned recognition as a leader in sustainable propulsion by qualifying as a finalist for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year awards that will be presented at the Washington Auto Show on January 21. The awards “recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement,” according to Green Car Journal.
* MINI USA announced the official route for the 2016 running of MINI TAKES THE STATES. The legendary biennial cross-country owners rally will kick off at Road Atlanta in northeast Georgia on July 9, 2016 and finish at the Thermal Club in Palm Springs, CA, on July 23, 2016. The route will not take a direct path from point A to point B. The more than 4,000-mile “track-to-track” adventure will travel up the east coast, across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains before arriving in Southern California. The legendary adventure, which attracts thousands of MINI owners and enthusiasts every other year, will pay tribute to the brand’s motorsports heritage by stopping at several professional race tracks to host driving experiences along the way.
* TRUCK TREND, has selected the 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali as the winner of its second annual Pickup Truck of the Year Award. TRUCK TREND’s Pickup Truck of the Year award program is an invitation-only shootout that is only open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2016, the field of vehicles included seven entries from five companies.
* The racing obits this week include 1961 Daytona winner and one of NASCAR’s top 50 drivers of all time, Marvin Panch who started 216 NASCAR races and won 17 of them from 1951 to 1966. Inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1987 he was also in the inaugural class inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002. Panch’s ’61 Daytona win was in a ’60 Pontiac prepared by famous race car builder Smokey Yunick. Panch was 89 years old.
* With only a few weeks to spare Hyundai revealed this week a slate of “world class” directors they have working on upcoming Super Bowl ads. Peter Berg of Pony Show Productions, Fredrik Bond of MJZ Productions and Aaron Stoller and Janusz of Biscuit Filmworks. The goal is “compelling and memorable ads,” according to Dean Evans, Hyundai’s chief marketing officer. One of the ads will feature the new Genesis brand emphasising it’s separation for parent Hyundai, much like Lexus split from Toyota.
* On a light note, AutoWeek reported this week presidential hopeful Donald Trump once tried to get into the booming NASCAR track business in the New York area in the late 1990s. The flamboyant and egotistical real estate and development mogul proposed a series of super speedways in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Rumors are currently circulating that he might like to put his name on a 2016 NASCAR race.
* FCA is recalling more than 476,600 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from the 2011-12 model years. Wiring in the vanity mirror of the impacted vehicles can short-circuit and start a fire. Also, 93,200 2015 Jeep Compass and Patriot vehicles are bring recalled for clamps in some vehicles produced during a five-month period this year that may be out of position.