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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Recap - 25 Countries Send Cars To USA; Tariff Moves; Vehicle Satisfaction And Quality Awards; Ford and VW Team-up; 300HP Average; Cars Really Made In The USA; Auto Industry Potholes; Buhbye Audi A1 Diesel; Toyota Wins 2018 LeMans

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Weekly Automotive News Digest

AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - June 24, 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.

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Nutson's Auto Channel News Highlights June 18-23, 2018

* The proposed U.S. tariffs on imported cars and parts that has already drawn the ire of the global auto industry has now attracted the attention of the collector car market, with some observers warning of repercussions ranging from price increases to limited restoration parts availability to the termination of the international collector car trade. Not only would prices increase for those buying a collector car from Canada, Europe, Asia or elsewhere, but the already expensive imported parts needed to restore or even to simply keep an imported classic car running suddenly would cost you an extra 25 percent.

* The European Union is not rolling over for the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs. The EU imposed tariffs on 2.8 billion euros (about $3.3 billion) of American products. Tariff threats and actions have been flying around the world as President Trump attempts to rebalance the U.S. commercial place in world trade by initiating what our partners have considered punitive tariffs. The EU is the U.S. largest trading partner.

* AutoPacific announced its 22nd annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles in the market. Luxury brand Genesis, in its second year in the market, wins top luxury brand, edging out second place Lexus. Five Nissan vehicles win VSAs for their respective segments: the Nissan Titan, Murano, Maxima, LEAF and 370Z. Of the twenty-six winning vehicles, five were redesigned for the 2018 model year, including the top-scoring Chevrolet Traverse, which greatly exceeds the score of its nearest competitor.

* There are no bad cars. Quality is at its best ever. New-vehicle quality has improved for the fourth consecutive year—by 4% from 2017—and has reached its best level ever, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). In results for the IQS, Korean brands Genesis, Kia and Hyundai held the top three spots. Porsche and Ford followed in the next two spots. Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo ranked at the bottom of the list. Most problems are classified as design (62 percent) vs. defect (34 percent) or other (4 percent). Due to automotive globalization vehicles are now made in 25 countries for the U.S. market, which is 11 more than five years ago.

* Ford and Volkswagen may be teaming up in a deal that could include co-developing commercial vehicles. The automakers announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding and are "exploring a strategic alliance designed to strengthen each company's competitiveness." This wouldn't be the first. Ford and VW jointly developed a minivan in the early 1990s for Europe that was built in Portugal. Also, Volkswagen and Ford had a joint venture named AutoLatina in Brazil from 1987 to 1995 that brought the VW Fox to the U.S.

* According to a Bloomberg News story, sometime in the next year or so, the U.S. auto industry will cross a once-unimaginable threshold: Average horsepower for the entire fleet will reach 300. At the moment, it is tuned up to 296. This an outcome of engineers working to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption which also resulted in more efficient engines that developed more power.

* What is the “Most American” vehicle you can drive? has just revealed its 2018 ranking and a traditional nameplate is finally at the top, and numbers two and three are Hondas. In the number one slot is Jeep’s Cherokee, assembled at the Belvidere, Illinois plant, with a domestic content of 72%. Honda Odyssey and Ridgeline, both from an Alabama factory, come in second and third. Honda Pilot made number six. Two Chevies, three Fords and an Acura, fill out the top ten. We'll soon see if there's an impact in this new era of import tariffs and ongoing renegotiations of long-standing trade pacts.

* A nine-state coalition has released a new Zero Emission Vehicle action plan. This is a renewed multi-state effort to speed the nation’s transition to zero tailpipe emission cars and builds on earlier action plan and statewide progress. Automakers are now required to deliver ZEVs to meet specific sales goals in the Northeast ZEV states and Oregon for the first time.

* The Southfield, MI-based global analyst firm, AlexPartners, revealed some of their auto industry projections to a gathering of the Detroit Automotive Press Association this week. Headwinds have begun after some mighty strong years of industry growth. We are now into the biggest disruption in the auto industry in 100 years, they say, partly because manufacturers and suppliers are putting most of their R&D dollars into electrification and autonomous tech, both of which are a long way from mainstream application and acceptance.

* In the next installment of the saga of Ford’s purchase of the historic, dilapidated Michigan Central Station in Detroit, Ford Land Development Company, a separate entity from the Ford Motor Company, announced it would tear down an old brass factory nearby and replace it with a “large new building,” according to reporting by Automotive News this week. Ford is planning, and slowly rolling out, a massive redevelopment of the Corktown neighborhood surrounding the old train station.

* Audi announced the demise of the diesel powertrain in their compact A1 line signaling the continuing slide in popularity of diesels throughout Europe. In recent decades diesels have powered nearly 50% of cars there, mostly because of the cost structure between gasoline and diesel fuel. Because of difficulties managing emissions most industry analysts are predicting the near extinction of the oil-burners over the next decade.

* Remember that fatal Uber crash in Arizona a few months ago? Well, the Tempe Police Department has ruled the collision “entirely avoidable.” It seems the “safety driver” was watching a video on her phone in the minutes before the crash and hit the brakes just 0.5 seconds before impact. The findings have gone to the prosecutor who will determine if charges are filed. The National Traffic Safety Board is doing a separate investigation.

* Toyota predictably took the win in the 2018 Le Mans 24 hours last Sunday as the only major manufacturer competing in the LMP1 category. Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima formed the winning team in the No. 7 Toyota Hybrid, ahead of the No. 8 car driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway. Alonso is a two-time Formula One champion who is chasing motorsports' triple crown. That is, winning Le Mans, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Graham Hill is the only holder of the triple crown.