Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest - August 7-13, 2017; International Car Brand Sales; Cadillac Sedans Buh-Bye; Ford Dieselgate?; GM Pickup Recall; Nissan Recall; Chevy SS Is History
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, August 13, 2017; 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 easyeasily "catch up" or put these stories in context by searching the past 25 year's millions of (Indexed By Google) pages of automotive news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, archived news, video, audio, rants and raves accessible from The Auto Channel's Automotive News Archive to digest mega-tweet sized nuggets. When you wish to "learn more" just click on the article subject link which will take you to the full story as published here on The Auto Channel.
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Nutson's Nuggets: August 13, 2017
* Despite the slow-down in overall sales for the month, international brands increased their share of the U.S. market in July, finishing the month with 58.6 percent – up from the 55.4 percent share they captured in June. Although they held the biggest share of the U.S. market with 49.6 percent of the market and sales of 702,615 vehicles, Asian brands were down 2.7 percent from last July and 1.6 percent for the year overall. European brands were down 7.2 percent from July 2016, but are still up 1.2 percent for the year. In July, they captured 8.9 percent of the market. Domestic brands finished July with 41.4 percent of the U.S. market. Americans continued to flock to trucks and SUVs in July; seven of the month’s top-ten selling vehicles fell into the category, with cars occupying only three slots.
* The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute's latest report from Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle says the average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in July was 25.4 mpg—up 0.3 mpg from June. This increase likely reflects the decreased proportion of light trucks in the sales mix in July compared to June. The value for July is up 5.3 mpg since October 2007 (the first month of their monitoring), but still down 0.1 mpg from the peak of 25.5 mpg reached in August 2014.
* The EPA officially announced this week that the mid-term evaluation of emissions standards set in 2012 and culminating, at least for this round, in 2025 will be reopened and expanded. The EPA did an assessment earlier this year determining the existing standards could be met by the auto industry and at a lower cost than originally projected, according to a statement by Consumers Union. CU said that consumers’ main concern is fuel economy, particularly for the larger SUVs and CUVs that dominate the family car market.
* GM’s Cadillac boss, Johan deNysschen, said in an interview with Reuters this week the brand will ditch most of their sedan portfolio in 2019. The ATS small car, CTS mid-size and the full-size XTS are slated to go away leaving only the larger CT6 competing its sedan segment. Questions about the future of specialty cars - V-series performance sedans - went unanswered. While the regular sedans will not be replaced, deNyssche said they will introduce at least one new sedan called CT5 with maybe a CT3 or 4 to follow. No commitments on the latter.
* Recent trends in Spain my be a hint of what’s to come in many urban areas. A new electric car sharing service, Emov, enlisted more than 100,000 users in its first 5 months quickly catching up with Car2Go’s 166,000 subscribers who have access to 500 electric Smart city cars around the city. Emov uses electric Citroen C-Zero cars that customers rent by the minute. The popularity of these services may be due in part to the city’s policies allowing these cars into otherwise restricted areas and providing free parking around the city.
* Oliver Schmidt, a former VW manager who worked for the German automaker in Auburn Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit to charges of conspiracy and violating the Clean Air Act in Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating scandal. He is to be sentenced Dec. 6 and could face a seven-year prison sentence, according to his plea agreement. That agreement with the government also calls for a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000. Schmidt is not the only VW official to face charges. He was one of six employees indicted in January, and James Robert Liang, an engineer, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
* Ford is next in the European chapter of the diesel cheating scandals that plagued Volkwagen and some others. German government officials are investigation the mid-size Mondeo diesel sedans' emissions under suspicion of the engines being equipped with cheating devices. Ford insists that is not the case and said they are fully cooperating with investigators. Government officials have not commented. BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, the three biggest automakers in Germany, this week offered incentives to customers who trade in older diesel models.
* The return of French automaker PSA to the U.S. market was reconfirmed again last week at the Michigan CARS Conference. We once had Peugeot and Citroen products but neither made a go of it. Both are now as high quality and mainstream as any brands in the world. PSA recently bought GM’s European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, and is the second largest automaker in Europe next to VW. No Peugeot or Citroen products are sold here yet and PSA did not hint at what their product strategy might be.
* No more smartphone zombies strolling in the middle of a crosswalk. A new law in Honolulu, Hawaii, makes it illegal for pedestrians to cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device. The statute, dubbed the “distracted pedestrian” law, was passed last week but doesn’t go into effect until October. It covers video games, laptops, and, of course, smartphones.
* Cars will soon be connected with each other and the infrastructure around them at an exponentially increasing rate over the next few years. In fact, according to a story this week in Automotive News, the data volume required will be 10,000 times greater than today reaching a monthly total of around 10 exabytes per month by 2025. Toyota, Intel, Denso and a few other companies formed a new consortium called Automotive Edge Computing Consortium to tackle this mind-boggling need.
* Nissan workers at its Canton Mississippi Vehicle Assembly Plant voted “no” by a nearly 2-to-1 margin against the UAW. It's a major defeat for the UAW against joining the labor union. Nissan said 2,244 of its Canton workers voted no, while 1,307 cast ballots in favor of joining the UAW. The defeat marks the third time in nearly 20 years that Nissan workers in the South have voted against joining the UAW. Workers at Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant voted against joining the UAW by 2-to-1 margins in 1989 and 2001.
* Problems with the electric power steering control system is the subject of the recall of around 800,000 GM full-size pickups worldwide. NHTSA says the problem is linked to power steering loss particularly during low speed turns that demand more electrical current that higher speed conditions. Silverado and Sierra trucks from 2013 and 2014 are involved. GM says the problem will be solved with updated software. No injuries or fatalities are known to be the result of this problem.
* Nissan is recalling 52,016 Titan pickup trucks because their rear seat belts might not adequately protect passengers. The recall affects the 2016-2017 Nissan Titan Crew Cab and Titan XD Crew Cab pickups.
* And, Nissan is also recalling some 14,192 Infiniti Q50 and Q60 vehicles from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 model years. Due to a fuel pump software glitch, those vehicles may be at risk of stalling.
* The Chevrolet SS is going out of production. So, beginning next season, race teams driving a Chevrolet will be behind the wheel of the Camaro ZL1 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Camaro ZLI will make its debut in February during Daytona Speedweeks, which starts the 2018 NASCAR season. The new Camaro replaces the Chevrolet SS which Chevy has used in NASCAR since 2013.