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Nutsons Automotive Weekly News Digest: Awards, VWEVS, EV Govt Gift, Bernie Out At F1, Recalls Of Course, Happy Holiday


AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, December 24, 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 - December 18-24, 2017

* Ford and Honda each earn two Wards 10 Best Engines trophies for 2018, while Jaguar and Kia land on the list for the first time in a year that sees mainstream brands dominating the winners’ circle. WardsAuto editors evaluated 32 engines and electric propulsion systems during routine commutes in metro Detroit, Michigan. Other notable trends this year: No German automakers are among the winners, and the only luxury brands represented are Infiniti and Jaguar. Also, four electrified powertrains are honored for the first time in a single year.

* Newsweek has again named Toyota one of the world’s greenest companies, scoring in the top 5% of global companies, and was named the “Best in Industry Global” in the automobiles category. Toyota was ranked #16 of the Global 500 greenest companies and #1 in the automobile category.

* Volkswagen AG unit Electrify America said that it plans to install 2,800 electric vehicle charging stations in 17 of the largest U.S. cities by June 2019. The charging stations will be located at roughly 500 sites, with around 75 percent of them at workplaces and the rest at multifamily dwellings such as apartment buildings. Electrify America said it has selected charging station companies SemaConnect, EV Connect and Greenlots to install them.

* The new Congressional tax bill has retained the tax credit for buyers of EVs and Plug-in hybrids. The credit runs from $2500 to $7500 depending on the battery capacity. Gasoline-electric hybrids that don't require charging are not eligible. The credits are limited to the first 200,000 vehicles a manufacturer sells. Tesla, GM and Nissan might hit the in 2018.

* TRUCK TREND magazine has selected the GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali as the winner of its 2018 Pickup Truck of the Year Award. TRUCK TREND’s Pickup Truck of the Year award program is an invitation-only shootout that is only open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year or late-availability models from the current model year. This year’s contenders included: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali, Ram 1500 Harvest Edition, Ram 3500 and Toyota Tundra.

* Ford CEO, Jim Hackett, reacted with indignation as he apologized to victims within the company who have been subjected to sexual harassment and intimidation. In a letter to employees this week he told the harassers, “We don’t want you here” as a three-minute, constant-loop, anti harassment video began showing at 24 manufacturing plants. Ongoing harassment issues at two Chicago area Ford factories came to light recently the result of a detailed New York Times report. The United Auto Workers union, charged with protecting the employees, has been blamed for being unable or unwilling to do so.

* Our friends at The Detroit Bureau reported this week that the European Court of Justice ruled on a controversial case that defines leading ride-hailing company Uber as a “transportation company,” not a “digital platform. That definition will determine what kinds of regulations will apply to the operation and growth of Uber and similar companies. Uber has a well-earned reputation as an outlier with a penchant for challenging both existing business models and government regulations.

* Bernie Ecclestone is officially out of the decision-making sphere of Formula 1 after a 40-year involvement, but that’s not preventing him from offering opinions, however unwelcome by officials at Liberty Media, the racing series’ new owner. The ever-quotable Ecclestone said “Democracy has no place in Formula 1.” The current row is about new engine regulations opposed by Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne and team boss Maurizio Arrivabene who are complaining about development costs.

* In other Formula 1 news, AutoWeek reports that Liberty Media's sporting director, Ross Brawn, said the use of scantily clad women on the grid is “under strong review.” The “Grid Girls” have been a fixture at races for years but the series owners are apparently trying to get ahead of a social trend that is focusing on respect for women, and many see this as exploitation. The AutoWeek story implies there is substantial support among teams to keep the tradition alive.

* We reported last week on the growing list of early adopters of the Tesla electric semi-trucks, just beginning to be produced. The latest company to get in line to buy the long-range haulers is PepsiCo who ordered 100 of them putting down a $2 million deposit. While the market for electric trucks is expected to be tiny in the beginning, actions by entities like the Long Beach Harbor Commission and city of Los Angeles seems to be at least partially making up for the federal government’s waning support of electrification of transportation.

* Audi is recalling more than 52,000 A6 and A7 cars in the U.S. and Canada to fix fuel lines that can leak and increase the risk of a fire. The recall affects 2012 through 2014 model years.

* Drag racer and Pro Stock icon Bob Glidden, one of the most dominant forces in the history of NHRA Drag Racing, has died. He was 73. In a star-studded career that spanned more than 25 years in the class, Glidden won 85 events and 10 season championships.

* National average gasoline prices continue to drop however they are up about 20-cents per gallon over a year ago. Estimates say that 97.4 million Americans will travel by car for the holidays which is up by about 3-percient over last year. Expect longer travel times so stay calm and in the holiday spirit.

* We wish you all safe travels and Happy Holidays.