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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Nuggets February 26-March 4, 2018; Detroit Auto Show Moving?; Road Taxes Driverless EVs; Europe Sans Diesels (Well Not Quite); Recalls BMW, Hyundai; Trump Steel Tariff "Back To The Future" Cars From Europe MORE Expensive For American Buyers Once Again; Richard Petty Lifetime Archive FSBO


AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - March 4, 2018; 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 Auto News Nuggets February 26-March 4, 2018

* February U.S. light-vehicle sales are down a bit over 2 percent to 1.3 million units. The SAAR came in above a historically strong 17 million for a sixth straight month. GM, Ford, FCA, Nissan and Honda were down. Toyota, VW and Subaru are up. Some brands saw truck and SUV sales declines as the market softens. Veteran analyst Michelle Krebs noted that trucks were on the losing end in spite of substantial incentives but cautions that January and February are seldom strong sales months and March and April sales typically show stronger results. Auto sales are predicted by most observes to wane a bit in 2018.

* The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is considering moving from its typical January run dates to October, a person familiar with the discussions who requested anonymity confirmed to Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News. In recent years, product debuts and media attention have been siphoned from Detroit by international auto shows in New York, Los Angeles and overseas, as well as technology showcases -- most notably CES, held in January just before the Detroit show. If the show moves, it wouldn't happen until 2020.

* The U.S. DoT finalized rules that will require “quiet cars” like electric vehicles and hybrids to emit alert sounds to warn pedestrians of their approach, extending to 2020 the deadline for full compliance. The long-delayed rules, which were first demanded by Congress in 2010, will require automakers like Tesla, Nissan and GM to add sounds to vehicles when they are moving at speeds of up to 18.6 miles per hour (30 km per hour) to help prevent injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and the blind.

* Ford is using Miami to demonstrate ways to generate revenue from self-driving cars. Ford said it launched a fleet of about a dozen fully self-driving test vehicles in Miami-Dade County to deliver pizzas and packages. Along with partners Domino’s and Postmates, they are launching a pilot project to not only make the deliveries without drivers, but they’re also working on how to manage fleets in terms of maintenance, service and deployment. Another Ford partner, Argo, is already engaged in making the detailed maps needed for the service. Some of the vehicles look like they’re robotic but are piloted by humans — that’s because Ford wants to study how users will interact with self-driving delivery vehicles.

* California’s Office of Administrative Law finalized regulations for driverless and autonomous vehicles clearing the way for their operation, with proper permits, on public roads beginning April 2nd. A “Testing Permit” will be required and must be renewed at two year intervals. Criteria for getting the permit are extensive. We do not yet know which companies will be applying.

* Speaking before a gathering of steel industry executives President Trump announced this week plans to impose stiff tariffs - 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. He said he will sign the order sometime next week. Auto industry executives have been lobbying the administration against such an action anticipating the disruption and extra costs that move would cause. The Department of Commerce said the U.S. imports about 4 times as much steel as it exports. GM’s Mark Reuss said his company sources 90% of its steel domestically.

* After acquiring GM’s money-losing German and British brands, Opel and Vauxhall, in a controversial move last year PCA Group announce record sales, profit and operating margins this week saying they have limited their losses from the acquisition. PSA brands, Peugeot and Citroen, had to seek financial assistance from the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motor in a 2014 bailout. The PSA financial results offer some encouragement to European markets that are expected to be flat for 2018.

* A German court ruled that Stuttgart, one of the country’s most polluted cities, can ban diesel cars from driving in downtown areas to improve air quality. The ruling could ultimately lead to bans in a host of cities in Germany, a country with millions of diesel cars on the streets. Unlike in the United States, where diesel cars are the exception, in Germany roughly one in three passenger vehicles runs on diesel. The cities plan to restrict only older, more heavily polluting diesel models, as least for now. One German industry analyst called it “the creeping death of diesel.”

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will end diesel passenger car production by 2022. Diesel car sales continue to collapse in Europe. Although FCA does not sell any diesel cars in the United States or Canada, it is expected to continue to offer diesel options in some vehicles in the U.S., including the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 pickup.

* Last week we reported that Porsche is done with diesels. Now Porsche says it expects to launch a diesel version of the new-generation Cayenne this year and may offer the powertrain in the smaller Macan crossover as well, according to a top executive, denying reports that the automaker plans to abandon the technology.

* Hyundai is recalling 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport vehicles that are at risk for the steering wheel breaking away from the steering column. Roughly 43,900 vehicles are included in Hyundai’s recall.

* BMW is recalling 11,700 cars to fix their engine management software after it discovered that the wrong programming had been installed on its 5- and 7-series models made between 2012 and 2017 containing high-performance diesel engines and three turbo chargers.

* NASCAR legend Richard Petty says after "accumulating stuff" for 80 years, it's time to sell some of his most famous cars, trophies and other items. Petty's iconic day-glow red and Petty blue 1974 Dodge Charger is going on sale at an auction on May 12 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas along with many other items. The auction will be conducted live and online by Julien's Auctions.

* Gasoline prices are on the rise and may top an average of $3.00 per gallon this summer. Bent crude prices are around $68 a barrel. The last big rise in prices was in 2014.