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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News - June 20-26, 2016 : King Kia; VW TDI Payments; Viper@25; Recalls of Course


By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

AUTO CENTRAL Chicago, June 27, 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 mega-tweet sized 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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The Past Week's Automotive News Highlights In Easy To Digest Chunks
June 20-26,2016

* Kia is the new king. The revered 2016 JD Power Initial Quality Survey results were presented to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit this week with some surprising results. The annual survey measures the number of problems experienced by owners per 100 new vehicles within the first 90 days or service. For the first time in many years a mainstream brand took top honors. Kia ranks highest in initial quality with a score of 83 PP100, the first time in 27 years that a non-premium brand has topped the rankings. Porsche (84 PP100) ranks second among nameplates, followed by Hyundai (92 PP100), Toyota (93 PP100) and BMW (94 PP100). The industry average is 105 problems. Noteworthy is that the U.S. domestic brands scored better than the non-U.S, so called imports.

* Great Britain is Europe’s second largest automobile market. With British voters deciding to exit the European Union the auto industry will have to scramble to deal with the impacts of the change. Companies like Mini and Rolls-Royce, now both German owned, build cars in the UK and parent company BMW predicts a “period of uncertainty,” as quoted in an AutoWeek story this week. Ford said it has not changed its investment plans yet. Indian-owned Jaguar and Land Rover along with other automaker are asking the government to pursue tarriff-free agreements as a first priority.

* A $10 billion tentative agreement regarding compensation for owners of Volkswagens with the 2.0-liter turbo diesel was reached this week between Volkswagen and the U.S. government: the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice. The deal also includes fines and donations to an environmental fund. Owners will be able to choose to have their VW diesels fixed with a disclaimer that it may effect performance or sell the cars back to VW for between $1,000 and $7,000. Details are expected to be officially announced on June 28th.

* VW has claimed that top managers didn't know about the cheating on diesel emissions. But now prosecutors in Germany are investigating former chairman Martin Winterkorn and Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess for a possible role in market manipulation for delaying to announce to shareholders the cheating scandal that would have a financial impact.

* SUVs get their own place to shine. The North American Car and Truck of the Year Award will henceforth be known as The North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year (NACTOY). The 2017 prizes for outstanding car, truck and SUV will be announced Jan. 9 at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. Previously, SUVs had been lumped together with pickups for truck of the year.

* The Dodge brand is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper with five limited-edition models that commemorate the final year of Viper production and highlight several of the most iconic special edition Vipers of the past. Beginning on June 24 and new for 2017 model year, customers can order their special snake in five exclusive special edition configurations. Since 1992, Dodge and SRT have built approximately 30,000 Vipers.

* For those who think drag racing on famed Woodward Avenue is no longer possible because of speed enforcement and constantly heavy traffic, there is hope. The new M1 Concours, a country club with a race track and garages instead of a golf course, will host full-on drag racing on August 19th beginning at 10 am. This is just the day before the official Woodward Dream Cruise. M1 is located on Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, MI at the site of an old GM plant. The famous Woodward Dream Cruise is the largest one-day car event in the country and it has become a week-long series of events. Dodge will sponsor the drag races and offer special awards to top performing Dodge cars, or Dodge-powered cars.

* Of all the Father’s Day old car shows every June, perhaps the most respected is EyesOn Design at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI. It is focused on the aesthetics and function of design for automobiles and all other things vehicular. Among the features this year were travel trailers and bicycles along with the BMW brand, Power Wagons (going back to WWII), Chrysler letter cars and a class of “Speedsters.” The winning car came from that latter class - an authentic recreation of a lost 1931 Cord L-29 “LeGrande” Speedster featured on the show’s fine-art poster created by Automotive Fine Art Society member Jay Koka.

* Classic and collector car insurance company Hagerty released its list of the top 10 collector cars for summer 2016 this week. The list is headed by the ’86 to ’89 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL. Hagerty keeps close track of both auction and private sales and develops the list based on what values of particular cars have done in the past 12 months. Others on the list include: ’73 to ’87 Jeep CJ-7, ’73 to '87 Chevy C/K pickups, ’86 to ’92 BMW M3, ’82 to ’91 Porsche 944, ’97 to ’02 Plymouth Prowler, ’66 to ’77 Ford Bronco, ’94 to ’99 Ferrari F355 Spider, ’70 to ’74 Dodge Challenger and ’68 to ’76 BMW 2002.

* Do it right the first time. Kia is recalling about 98,000 minivans in cold-weather states for a second time because some suspension parts can rust. The recall covers 2006 through 2012 Sedonas that were recalled in 2013 for the same problem.

* The 24 Hours of Le Mans ended in a somewhat cruel fashion as Porsche defended its title in a dramatic win after Toyota relinquished the lead minutes from the end of the race. For 23 hours and 57 minutes, this year's race belonged to Toyota Gazoo Racing, which put on a fine show with its pair of TS050 hybrid race cars. The Toyota was poised to clinch its first Le Mans victory only to lose power and halt on the pit straight with minutes left in the race.

* History repeated itself for Ford Motor Co. on the 50th anniversary of its podium sweep at Le Mans. The Blue Oval’s No. 68 GT won the GTE Pro class, beating long-time rival Ferrari in Ford’s first victory at the French endurance race since 1980. The No. 69 Ford GT rounded out the podium in third place, and the No. 66 GT finished fourth.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Maserati unit is recalling 13,092 2014 Quattroporte and Ghibli luxury cars in the United States because they may roll away after drivers mistakenly believe they have engaged the vehicles in 'park' mode. They use the same automatic shifter mechanism as some Chrysler and Jeep vehicles and are under investigation in the death of the actor Anton Yelchin, killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward down a driveway and crushed him against a mailbox pillar last weekend.