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Automotive News Digest July 2-8, 2018: US June Sales; Mazda Air Bag Recall; Geneva Sans Ford; EPA Changes; Volvo M; RIP Dee Ann Andretti


AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - July 8, 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 Highlight Digest July 2-8, 2018

* U.S. light-vehicle deliveries, boosted by healthy deals, America's surging appetite for light trucks and an extra weekend of sales, rose 5.2 percent in June as the auto industry closed out the first half of 2018 on a high. The SAAR for June came in at 17.47 million, up sharply from June 2017 and May. GM, Ford, FCA, Honda, Toyota and Nissan were all up. VW, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia also rose. Mercedes took a hit due to a production supplier issue.

* Tesla may finally be hitting its stride. During the last week of June Tesla made 5,031 of its compact Model 3 EVs. The Model 3 with its $35,000 starting price is the key to the long term viability of Tesla and its ability to make money. In order to hit the 5,000 unit production goal Tesla took a very unusual approach in erecting an additional production line under a tent using equipment it already had. Skeptics are not yet convinced. Right now the cheapest Model 3 you a customer can order costs $49,000 and runs up to $70,000.

* Ford will miss the 2019 Geneva auto show. The automaker said the show's timing didn't fit its launch schedule and wouldn't represent good value. Volvo has previously said it would not participate in the Geneva show. Ford is also skipping the October Paris auto show. Thus, it will make no new-vehicle news at a European show for at least 18 months until the Frankfurt show. Nissan, Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler are all expected to skip Paris.

* According to AAA, a record 39.7 million Americans were expected to travel 50 miles or more by automobile for Independence Day—5 percent more than a year ago. Gasoline prices have dropped a bit since Memorial Day however they are at the highest Independence Day prices in four years. Gasoline prices are forecasted to further increase.

* Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned after facing months of allegations over legal and ethical violations. The EPA had begun moving forward with plans to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards which now may be in question. Former Senate staffer and oil lobbyist Andrew Wheeler was named acting EPA administrator. EPA insider say he is expected to continue the Pruitt's agenda.

* Volvo Cars, the premium carmaker, launched M, a new brand that will expand the company’s global mobility operations by providing dependable, on-demand access to cars and services through an intuitive app. M is a bit different from many other mobility services because it includes proprietary technology that helps the brand understand a user's needs, rather than simply supplying a time and place to pick up a car. It will debut in Sweden and the US in the spring of 2019.

* Mazda is recalling nearly 270,000 vehicles with Takata airbags that have the potential to explode. The potentially deadly defect can be found in passenger-side airbags on certain 2003-2008 Mazda6, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6 and 2004 MPV vehicles nationwide. It also involves 2005-2006 MPV models in certain states.

* Toyota Supra is back at the track! Beginning in 2019, the globally-recognized iconic sports car will prove its championship mettle in the hotly contested NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). Supra will make its on-track debut in the NXS race at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Supra is expected to use NASCAR's new flange-fit composite body that has been phased into the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season.

* Dee Ann Andretti, the wife of famed driver Mario Andretti and matriarch of one of the most prominent families in motorsports, has died. She was 76 and from complications during open heart surgery.

* This week was light on auto industry news due to the July 4th holiday. We hope you had a safe Independence Day holiday and that you continue to travel safely on the highway and byways you drive this summer.