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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Nuggets May 14-20, 2018: Trump V. California; Killer Keyless Ignitions; Pickup News; Old German Diesels To Fade Away; No New Diesels At Volvo; smart Recall; Jeep Recall; Gas Prices Rise (of Course); Bumpy 500


AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - May 20 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 Automotive News Nuggets May 14-20, 2018

* The Trump administration’s plan to roll back fuel economy standards continues to meet with resistance from environmentalists and other government officials. A meeting is planned for next week between Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Heidi King, to discuss the issue. President Trump met with auto industry leaders last week and he then told regulators to pursue a deal with California to revise the standards.

* Failing to shut off keyless cars has caused more than two dozen deaths from carbon monoxide seeping into homes, according to a New York Times report. More than two dozen people have been killed by carbon monoxide nationwide since 2006 after a keyless-ignition vehicle was inadvertently left running in a garage. Dozens of others have been injured, some left with brain damage. Half of the new vehicles sold today have keyless ignitions and many of the vehicles provide no warning that you have left the engine running.

* Germany’s top administrative court ruled this week that cities are allowed to entirely ban older diesel vehicles without a grace period in order to meet air pollution standards, a move the could force automakers to provide fixes for existing diesel vehicles. Many German cities like Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg now exceed EU nitrogen oxide limits. Germany, like most European countries, has a large percentage of diesel-powered vehicles.

* Volvo announced this week plans to begin dropping diesel engine availability beginning with the new S60, the first Volvo without a diesel option. “Our future is electric,” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. The company expects fully electric cars to make up 50% of its global sales by 2025 with hybrids taking an increasingly important role in the meantime. The new S60 will be produced exclusively in the company’s new plant near Charleston, SC.

* In the hyper-competitive pickup market the main players have been putting a great deal of effort and resources into the quest for better fuel economy. The Chevy Silverado is redesigned fully for 2019 and will offer six different engines. Among them is the first modern-day 4-cyliner engine to power a full-size pickup and the first ever to be able to run on just two cylinders. Though EPA testing is not complete GM expects to lead the mpg wars with the Ford F-150 and Ram.

* A week after a fire at a supplier shut down Ford F-150 production, the company’s assembly lines at its Michigan truck plant and a sister facility in Missouri are up and running. Since the morning of the fire, the company scrambled to resume parts production. To accomplish this the huge dies were removed from the fire-damaged plant, including one weighing 87,000-pounds. The teams removed 19 dies from Meridian Magnesium Product’s facility. In the case of the 87,000-pound die, it was shipped from Michigan to Nottingham, England inside an Antonov An-124, one of the largest cargo planes in the world, in a mere 30 hours door-to-door. Noteworthy is that the total cost of the stopped production--perhaps in the millions, falls on the supplier and therefore extraordinary efforts are taken to minimize the lost production and the associated costs.

* Mercedes-Benz is recalling nearly 43,000 tiny Smart cars because the engines can catch fire due to a defective insulation mat. The recall covers the Smart for two cabrio and coupe cars in the U.S. from the 2008 and 2009 model years.

* Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 325,000 older Jeep SUVs in North America to fix a suspension problem that could limit a driver’s control of the vehicles. The recall covers Liberty SUVs from the 2004 through 2007 model years.

* Gasoline prices continue to climb with the average price now at $2.87 *Update, over 3 bucks in Most Places) . That's 6-cent jump in a week and 50 cents more than a year ago. The White House’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran is one of the reasons. We may see gasoline at an average of $3.00 per gallon this summer.

* Iconic toy cars from Mattel called Hot Wheels celebrate a 50th anniversary after selling more than 5 billion units over the years. Hot Wheels was launched in 1968 with a variety of models based on hot cars of Southern California car culture like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth customs, muscle cars and hot rods. A commemorative coffee table book will soon be available from niche publisher Assouline with a forward by Mario Andretti.

* It was bump day at Indy. Popular drivers James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann failed to qualify in the field for the Indianapolis 500. The two series stalwarts were "bumped" from the 33-car field in Saturday's qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe is a popular Canadian ranked fifth in the IndyCar standings. The British Mann was to join Danica Patrick as the only females in the field. Mann is an Indy mainstay and was trying to make the race for the sixth time. Some reports say IndyCar will likely internally consider options on how to get them into the race. Patrick is retiring after next Sunday's race and the pioneering driver is the only woman to lead laps in the Indy 500 and Daytona 500.