Nutson's Weekly Auto News Digest - January 25-31, 2016: Recalls, F-150 Diesel?, GM Transportation?, Dart and 200 Buh Bye? Fiat Popemobile Sells
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
AUTO CENTRAL Chicago, January 31, 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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Automotive News January 25-31, 2016
* The 2016 World Car of the Year will be selected from ten finalists and announced at the NY International Auto Show in March. The finalists are: Audi A4 Sedan / Audi A4 Avant, BMW X1, Hyundai Tucson, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mazda CX-3, Mazda MX-5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius.
* January car sales will take a hit. Car shopping on the east coast was on hold for awhile. The blizzard that dropped 18 to 42 inches of snow from West Virginia to the New York City area eventually moved way out into the North Atlantic. An interesting factoid is that in New York City alone, just over 105 billion pounds of snow came down.
* Toyota has kept the global sales crown for another year. The Japanese giant delivered 10.151 million vehicles in 2015, giving it the lead for the fourth year in a row. Volkswagen AG, in spite of its problems, is second narrowly ahead of General Motors.
* Ford announced it will withdraw from Japan and Indonesia due to a weak profit outlook in the two Asian markets. The number-two US automaker after General Motors plans to cease operations in Japan and Indonesia in the second half of 2016. It will close its Ford dealerships and stop importing Ford vehicles into the countries.
* FCA released a revised business plan suggesting that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart sedans may go away in favor of the more profitable Jeep and Ram products. Company CEO Sergio Marchione suggested a partnership with another automaker could keep the sedans alive. Production schedules for new products - a full-size sedan, two CUVs and two specialty vehicles and a hatchback - have been moved back incrementally. FCA CFO Richard Palmer said Jeep is the “bedrock” brand and they expect to nearly double worldwide Jeep sales in the next few years.
* Automotive News reports that Ford appears likely to introduced a diesel version of the popular F-150 pickup as early as next year in an effort to take the top fuel efficiency designation from the Ram 1500. While Ford has not made any official announcement analysts at AutoPacific say Ford is planning to use their in-house 3.0-liter diesel mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission engineered in partnership with GM. The F-150 went to an aluminium body two years ago for lighter weight but that was not enough to gain the fuel economy advantage.
* GM did a little reorganizing and announced this week it created a dedicated Autonomous and Technology Vehicle Development Team, according to a report from The Detroit Bureau. This new team will be led by Doug Parks, formerly head of Global Product Programs and he will report to GM VP Mark Reuss. Earlier this year GM announced a $500 million investment in ride-sharing service Lyft. Like rivals Ford, Toyota and others, GM hopes to make a transition to being a broadly focused mobility, or transportation company rather than just an automaker.
* Looks like you’ll soon be able to buy a brand new DeLorean motorcar because of a new low-volume manufacturing bill that was approved by the federal government. Since replicas of vintage cars are exempt from safety standards the company that has been supplying parts for existing DeLorean enthusiasts to keep their cars on the road is poised to begin producing new cars from new old stock (NOS) parts. Powertrain details are still being determined but we can be sure it will not be powered by the inadequate Peugeot/Renault engine used in the original gull-wing car. The price is expected to be around $100,000.
* Takata said another 5.1 million U.S. vehicles are defective as the company disclosed an 11th death could be linked to a faulty airbag. Most of the vehicles covered in numerous previous recalls involving Takata airbags have been older models, but the new recalls include at least one 2014 model.
* Ford will recall nearly 400,000 mid-size pickup trucks to replace defective air bags involved in the Takata scandal. The automaker said it would replace the air bags in 391,394 units of the 2004 through 2006 model-year Ford Ranger.
* The third time is a charm. Nissan is recalling thousands of Altima midsize cars for a third time to fix a latch problem that could let the hood fly open while the cars are moving. The latest recall covers 846,000 cars from 2013 to 2015.
* Volkswagen finished one-two at the “Monte”. It's the third in a row for driver, co-driver and team of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia at the Rally Monte Carlo. Their teammates Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jćger finished runner-up to complete a Volkswagen one-two and round off a dream start to the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The latest victory marked the 35th triumph in 40 rallies for the Polo R WRC the 33rd career win for Ogier/Ingrassia, while Mikkelsen racked up his 15th podium finish.
* It's 2016 Motorsports time with this weekend's running of the Rolex 24. Ford Motor Co.’s fabled GT supercar will return to the racetrack for the first time since 1969 this weekend, when it competes in the Rolex 24 at the Daytona International Speedway.
* The East Coast’s busiest port system ground to a halt on Friday as thousands of longshoremen in New York and New Jersey walked off the job, threatening to disrupt the delivery of goods throughout the region. So if you are expecting a new car that might be coming by ship from an overseas manufacturing plant, don't hold your breath.
* The National Automotive History Collection, a special collection within the Detroit Public Library and one of the most extensive collections of automotive history in the world, announced its annual Collectible Car of the Future Award this week. For the second time in three years the Dodge Viper took the honors. Vehicles must be made in the U.S., cost less than $100,000 and be substantially new. The members and supporters of the NAHC get to vote and the criteria is based on what car might be most popular at a Woodward Dream Cruise 25 years hence.
* While a half dozen classic and collector car auctions happen in the Phoenix area this time of year, the third Arizona Concours d’Elegance also celebrated these high-end cars. One of the features was a tribute to 100 Years of the Indianapolis 500 that included six winning drivers including Arie Luyendyk. Andrea Zagato, third of his family to lead one of the premier design houses of Europe, and J Mays, former Ford design VP led a design forum. The Concours Best of Show was the striking 1935 Duesenberg SJ Special known as the Mormon Meteor that set speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in its day.
* The official awards ceremony of the 31st Festival Automobile International (FAI) in Paris, was a big night for Renault, bringing home three major awards including the 'Most Beautiful Car of the Year - 2015' award for the Renault Talisman. The Mazda RX-VISION, a stunning rotary-powered sports car concept, captured the “Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year” award.
* A 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille has been selected as the winner of the second annual Classiccars.com Award at the 2016 Arizona Concours d’Elegance.
* The black Fiat 500L that carried Pope Francis around Philadelphia sold for $82,000 at auction at the Philadelphia Auto Show's Black Tie Tailgate at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.