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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Nuggets October 30-Nov 5, 2017; Auto Sales; SEMA; Tesla Loss; EV Tax Break Going; BMW Recall; RIP Joe Oldam, Peter Schutz, Ferrari F-1; Lots Of Crates


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AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, November 5, 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 easy to "catch up" news nuggets. For More search the past 25 year's millions of (Indexed By Google) pages of automotive news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, archived news residing in The Auto Channel Automotive News Library.

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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Nuggets - October 30-Nov 5, 2017

* With October new car sales in and being scrutinized by analysts, optimism continues as sales exceeded expectations. With sales only down 1% from a strong September the SAARS (seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales) is now expected to top 18 million units, a record performance. Earlier predictions have hovered around 17.5 million. Since the dismal days of the Great Recession SAARS has posted 7 straight years of substantial increases aided by higher discounts and fleet shipments at some automakers, strong truck volume and replacement demand in states battered by hurricanes.

* The biggest event of the year for a variety of automobile enthusiasts happened this week in Las Vegas - the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show that fills just about every venue in Sin City. SEMA represents companies that create and produce every manner of aftermarket, racing and customizing products around the world. One of our favorite display cars is the reproduction, rear-engine Tucker that looks like the real thing but is powered by a Cadillac V8. See your favorite Web or print publication for highlights.

* Tesla is in the news this week, as usual, but not for positive reasons. Posting a $671 million quarterly loss, largest ever for the electric car maker, Tesla boss Elon Musk said it is the result of Model 3 ramp-up costs. The mainstream Model 3 sedan has been plagued with delays including slower-than-expected production of batteries at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. Tesla’s earlier products - Model S luxury sedan and Model X crossover - were built with less automation than the Model 3, and the automation is experiencing problems.

* Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives propose eliminating the $7,500 per vehicle federal income tax credit the industry has relied on to stimulate sales of otherwise unpopular electric cars. As part of the overhaul of the tax code the Ways and Means Committee is trying to wipe out tax advantages that favor one technology over another as the industry reaches toward strict government mandated fuel economy standards. Sales of the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Ford Focus EV and Tesla Model 3 could be most affected whereas a higher-end luxury EV such as the Tesla Model S may not be too much affected.

* A scandal is brewing that involves automakers and the UAW partnering on worker training program. The Federal corruption investigation first focused on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ UAW-Chrysler National Training Center where it is alleged that company and union officials skimmed off around $4.5 million. The Feds are also looking at similar programs at GM and Ford. Both say they are fully cooperating with the investigation.

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* Boston Management Group a consulting firm revealed a study this week predicting that by 2030 half of new vehicles worldwide will be electrified. A combination of hybrid and fully electric powertrains will catch up to more conventional internal combustion because of advances in technology, government mandates, more competitive cost and consumer acceptance. Regional issues will come in to play as costs of electricity and other factors will vary.

* No talking! Failure to communicate may impact autonomous vehicle development. The Trump administration has quietly set aside plans to require new cars to be able to wirelessly talk to each other, auto industry officials said, jeopardizing one of the most promising technologies for preventing traffic deaths. The Obama administration proposed last December that all new cars and light trucks come equipped with technology known as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V. It would enable vehicles to transmit their location, speed, direction and other information 10 times per second. That lets cars detect, for example, when another vehicle is about to run a red light or coming around a blind turn in time to prevent a crash.

* GM has agreed to a $13.9 million settlement with Orange County, California, after prosecutors accused the auto giant of concealing serious safety defects to avoid costly recalls and part replacements. The lawsuit, filed in 2014, accused GM of deceptive business practices and unfair competition. It alleged the automaker marketed its brand as safe and reliable while failing to disclose defects including power steering, air bag and brake problems that resulted in injury and death. Earlier, GM agreed to pay $120 million to resolve claims from 49 states and the District of Columbia over faulty ignition switches. The California Attorney General’s Office received $7 million in the settlement.

* It's Crate Engine time. Mopar brand unleashed a new Mopar 6.2-liter supercharged Crate HEMI Engine Kit — nicknamed the “Hellcrate” — that injects 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque under the hood. The Mopar “Hellcrate” HEMI Engine Kit is the first-ever supercharged, 707-horsepower factory-backed crate engine kit. And, Honda has released the 306-horsepower K20C1 engine that powers the new Civic Type R to be available to U.S. grassroots and professional racers for verified, closed-course racing applications through the HPD Honda Racing Line program.

* Oklahoma City was the first city in the U.S. to install parking meters. That was in 1935 when the streetcar gave way to the automobile. Now today Oklahoma City is phasing out its last coin-operated meters. No longer able to get service for the meters that date back to the 1960s and 1970s, new digital models are taking their place.

* BMW has two recalls in the U.S. due to the risk of fires under the hood. The biggest recall includes over 740,000 1, 3 and 5-Series cars, the Z4 sports car and X3 and X5 SUVs mainly from 2007 through 2011. These vehicles have a heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve that can overheat and cause the valve to melt. The second recall covers nearly 673,000 3-Series cars from 2006 to 2011. Wiring for the heating and air conditioning system can overheat and cause connectors to melt.

* Joe Oldham, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics from 1985-2004 has passed away. Oldham, a renowned muscle-car authority worked from 1965 to 1976 as a writer for Magnum-Royal Publications in New York City, publishers of Hi-Performance CARS, Speed and Supercar, and Supercar Annuals. Oldham also served in 2004 as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Automotive Hall of Fame and the nominating committee for the Motorsports Hall of Fame. He is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and was a founding member of the Environmental Task Force of the Magazine Publishers of America. Since May 2009, he’d been a regular columnist for Hemmings Muscle Machines magazine; his final column appeared in the December 2017 issue.

* Peter Schutz, the American auto executive and former Porsche CEO credited with saving the Porsche 911 from extinction in the 1980s and turning around the Porsche brand in the process, died last weekend. Schutz was 87.

* It's clock changing time. Time to fall back. After you also check your smoke detector batteries NHTSA wants car owners to check there vehicle for outstanding safety recalls. Approximately 25 percent of recalled vehicles haven't been repaired. Use the NHTSA search tool at: www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

* Ferrari could quit Formula One racing if the circuit's new owner, Liberty Media, goes ahead with a plan for substantial changes to engine rules starting in 2021. Ferrari's concerns follow objections from both Mercedes and Renault. Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne likened some of Liberty's ideas to those witnessed in Nascar stock-car racing series, which effectively uses standard cars and employs a number of artificial means to keep racing close.