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Nutson's Automotive News Summary August 21-27, 2017: VW id Buzz EV Bus; Pebble Beach; Hyundai PU; Cars For Teens; VW Diesel Consequences; Ferrari;


AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, August 27, 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 easily "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 27, 2017

* Volkswagen announced that it will build the I.D. BUZZ, a new electric van based on the Microbus, an icon of the Hippie era. It will feature variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving. Volkswagen has also set a launch date for the I.D. BUZZ, which will arrive at dealerships after the compact four-door I.D. model in 2022. Along with a minibus version, we'll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ Cargo variant for zero-emission delivery operations in a Level 3 vehicle that boasts a high degree of automated driving capability. The new ID Buzz will have a 111-kWh lithium-ion battery under the floor and will be capable of rapid charge.

* The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance likely will be remembered as the Year of the McCaw Brothers. A 1939 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer owned by Bruce McCaw won Best of Show at the world’s most prestigious classic and collector car show Sunday, beating out the other two finalists, one of them a 1957 Ferrari 315 S Scaglietti Spider owned by his brother, John, and sister-in-law, Gwen. The other finalist for the world’s most prestigious best-of-show acclaim was a 1932 Packard 906 Twin Six Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by William “Chip” Connor.

* Classic reports that after four days, six auctions and 1,277 vehicles across the block, the final hammer has fallen on the 2017 collector car auctions on the Monterey Peninsula and the total tote stands at $317 million according to Hagerty, the classic car insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company that provides daily updates from major auction venues. Hagerty reports that while that $317 million figure is better than was expected by its marketplace experts, it falls 6 percent short of 2016 results for Monterey auctions. Overall, the sell-through rate last week was 57 percent, average price was $438,107 and median price was $90,200.

* Automotive News reports that Hyundai Motor Co. plans to launch a pickup in the United States as part of a broader plan to catch up by shifting away from sedans in one of the Korean automaker's most important markets, a senior company executive told Reuters. Michael J. O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai's U.S. unit, told Reuters that Hyundai's top management has given the green light for development of a pickup similar to a show vehicle called the Santa Cruz that U.S. Hyundai executives unveiled in 2015.

* U.S. News & World Report unveiled the Best New Cars for Teens. The eight models have the best combination of reliability, crash protection, accident avoidance features and critic recommendations. All 2017 Best New Cars for Teens have forward collision warning and automatic braking, which can slow or stop a car when a potential collision is detected and lane departure warning, which alerts the driver if the car strays out of its lane. The vehicles and price range are: 2017 Toyota Corolla - $20,000 and under, 2017 Chevrolet Cruze - $20,000 to $25,000, 2017 Hyundai Elantra - $25,000 to $30,000, 2018 Chevrolet Malibu - $30,000 to $35,000, 2017 Toyota Avalon - $35,000 to $40,000, 2017 Honda CR-V - $25,000 to $30,000, 2017 Subaru Outback - $30,000 to $35,000 and 2017 Kia Sorento - $35,000 to $40,000.

* Owning and operating a new vehicle in 2017 will cost a driver an average of $8,469 annually, or $706 each month, according to a new study from AAA. The annual evaluation of driving costs reveals that small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to drive at $6,354 annually, however small SUVs ($7,606), hybrids ($7,687) and electric vehicles ($8,439) all offer lower-than-average driving costs to U.S. drivers. Conversely, of the nine categories included in the evaluation, pickup trucks are the most expensive vehicles to drive at $10,054 annually.

* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed studies this week confirming that lane departure warning and blind spot detection systems play a significant role in preventing an often-fatal type of highway accident. The report says that single-vehicle sideswipe accident rates are lowered by 11% and injuries lowered by 21%. IIHS VP for research, Jessica Cicchino, says, “This is the first evidence that lane departure warning is working to prevent crashes of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads,” and added that these systems have “the potential to save a lot of lives."

* Speculation continues about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans to spin off some of its brands including Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep. Last week China’s largest maker of SUVs, Great Wall, indicated interest in Jeep but later told the Shanghai stock market it saw “great uncertainties” in the quest for that deal. Other Chinese companies thought to be interested in the brand have backed off as well. Jeep is the strongest and most profitable brand within the former Chrysler Corporation. Meanwhile, FCA and VW are reported to be partnering to build light-utility vehicles.

* We don’t often think of Ferrari having an “entry-level” model in its lineup, but that’s what they are calling the new 584-horsepower V8-powered Portofino that replaces the California T. The Portofino, named for a lovely village on the Italian coast, has a retractable hardtop and dramatic, modernized styling. Cost will be in the neighborhood of just 200,000 euros and it will have an up-to-date infotainment system, a new air conditioning system and a variety of amenities related to comfort. The Portofino will be capable of nearly 200 mph.

* While President Trump is threatening to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement altogether his Canadian and Mexican counterparts are dismissing the threat calling it an opening bid to get the upper hand in talks to update the agreement. Initial talks wrapped up this past weekend with large intense disagreement on many key issues. Auto industry executives are watching the negotiations closely as the deal is expected to have significant impacts on the auto business that has become thoroughly integrated between the three countries.

* VW engineer James Liang’s 40-month sentence and $200,000 fine for his role in a worldwide diesel scandal that defrauded American consumers could foreshadow tough treatment for seven other executives charged in the scandal, including one awaiting sentencing in December. The sentence was surprising considering that prosecutors recommended Liang spend three years in federal prison and pay a $20,000 fine. The judge was clearly delivering a message to ALL corporate executives.

* Fill your tank now. Gas prices are going to jump in some parts of the country as Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast. A gallon of gas is a penny more expensive than it was a day ago, but it will ultimately cost between five and 15 cents more, according to experts. Prices should be back down by next week.

* We drove the all-new 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee TrackHawk this week at the soon-to-be open Club Motorsports facility in New Hampshire's White Mountains. The 707 horsepower Jeep hauls in more ways than one. Look for a complete review here soon. We'll also have a write-up on the all-new 2018 GMC Terrain coming soon.