Nutson's Automotive News Digest, Week of June 11-17, 2018: Dieselgate Lives; MB Diesel No-no; Tariff Troubles and Triumphs; Ford Working On The Railroad (Station); Ford Taxi's Revealed; Toyota Ride Sharing Investment; Ford Recall; RIP Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen
AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - June 17, 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 The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, in easy to "catch up" with 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.
TV viewers, you can now enjoy The Auto Channel TV Network On Amazon TV, Google TV, HULU, ROKU and "Free and Clear" on WHDT in Boston and South Florida as well as local cable systems.
Nutson's Auto Channel News Highlights June 11-17, 2018
* Dieselgate, the diesel cheating scandal that started two years ago, continues at Volkswagen. Volkswagen is being fined 1 billion euros ($1.18 billion) by German authorities in connection with the diesel emissions scandal. Prosecutors concluded that Volkswagen failed to properly oversee the activity of its engine development department, resulting in some 10.7 million diesel vehicles with illegal emissions-controlling software being sold worldwide. Additionally, Munich, Germany prosecutors have opened a fraud investigation into Rupert Stadler, the leader of the carmaker’s highly profitable Audi division and a member of the Volkswagen management board.
* Meanwhile at Daimler-Benz, the German Transport Ministry ordered Daimler to recall 774,000 vehicles in Europe because of “inadmissible” software that shut down or reduced the effectiveness of equipment designed to control diesel emissions.
* The NADA newsletter reported that if President Donald Trump slaps a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles, it may cost the U.S. auto industry 1 million annual vehicle sales -- and that’s just the low end of the estimated damage. The projection by researcher LMC Automotive assumes automakers would absorb at least half the cost of a tax on imported vehicles, said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting. If companies pass the full 25 percent cost on to consumers, it could snuff out about 2 million sales, or more than 10 percent of annual U.S. deliveries, he said.
* And in the same regard, just as Chinese-built vehicles begin breaking into U.S. markets the Trump administration may be throwing a monkey wrench into these imports. Buick’s new mid-size crossover Envision is a good example. Competitively priced starting at $32,990 including shipping, the announced 25% import duty would bring that just over $40,000 putting its cost into the full-luxury category. GM sold about 40,000 Envisions in its first year. Another affected vehicle would be the Volvo S60 as well as the Cadillac CT6 Hybrid. The U.S. imported 58,437 passenger vehicle from China in calendar 2017.
* In the wake of a scandal involving United Auto Workers and FCA over misappropriation of training funds, the union installed a new president this week during its quadrennial Constitutional Convention. The new boss is Gary Jones who has experience on the unions financial staff and most recently managed the western region while serving on the executive board. First order of business was to raise dues from the equivalent of 2 hours pay to 2.5 hours.
* General Motors announced this week the appointment of Dhivya Suryadevara to the post of chief financial officer, succeeding Chuck Stevens, effective September 1st. The 39-year-old Harvard Business School graduate and native of India is currently VP of corporate finance. This makes GM the only automaker with female CEO and CFO and one of only two Fortune 500 companies with such a distinction. Suryadevara has been with GM since 2005 and worked on the sale of Opel to PSA Group.
* Most Detroiters were elated this week to learn of Ford Motor Company's purchase of the iconic, old Michigan Central Station, the ornate, massive train station that has become an eyesore since being abandoned in 1988. The train station is in the same neighborhood - Corktown - where Ford moved some of its technology researchers into an adaptively reused factory last year. It appears Ford intends to develop a large campus of company offices around the Michigan Central Station and promised more announcements on that next week.
* The next stage in Elon Musk’s Hyper-loop system was announced in Chicago this week by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Musk Boring company will build and operate a closed-loop transportation system to get passengers from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport in 12 minutes using autonomous, pod-like vehicles that would accommodate 16 passengers and their luggage. Musk said at the press conference that the system would “ultimately transition to the Hyperloop system” for long distances.
* Ford introduced two new taxis: the new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi which will be available with a diesel engine and a 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi projected to offer an EPA-estimated Combined rating of 38 mpg. Noteworthy in the taxi world is that the NYC Taxi Commission has reversed its order that all new taxis must be the Nissan NV200. Now NYC taxi operators can choose from 30 different vehicles. A rationalization of the car hire business may be in the future as more and more studies say that Uber and Lyft have created too much road congestion due to all the vehicles they put on the road. We may see a limit set for the number of for-hire vehicles in a city.
* Not to be outdone by its competitors Toyota is making big investments in the development of ride-sharing services. The company will invest $1 billion in Grab Taxi Holdings, Inc., a Southeast Asian technology company based in Singapore that recently acquired that region’s Uber operations. Toyota has been cautious in entering this rapidly developing mode of transportation. Toyota did not announce intentions to develop or sell its vehicles to Grab.
* Ford is issuing a safety recall in North America for approximately 7,500 2018 Ford F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles equipped with a 3.5-liter GTDI V6 engine for high-pressure fuel pumps with misaligned welds. Ford is also issuing a safety recall in North America for approximately 1,500 2018 Ford F-650 and F-750 vehicles with hydraulic brake systems for missing brake hose corrosion protection plating.
* The 24 Hours of Le Mans got underway from the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe on Saturday. Four classes are contested in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, namely: LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am. There are 10 cars and seven teams in the premiere LMP1 field with many of the entires featuring a hybrid powertrain. The Toyota TS050 HYBRID was the pole position starter and are highly favored with Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso part of the driving team.
* Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen, one of the iconic figures in drag racing history, died June 10. He was 81. McEwen, voted No. 16 on NHRA's Top 50 Drivers lists in 2001, competed in both Funny Car and Top Fuel, and although he wasn't one of drag racing's most prolific winners, he certainly was one of its most colorful. Nicknamed "the Mongoose" in 1964, largely as a device to entice Don "the Snake" Prudhomme into a high-exposure match race, McEwen won only five NHRA national events during his 35-plus-year career, but his gift for gab and promotional ability made him one of the sport's most influential and controversial figures.