Auto News Digest, Week Ending August 12, 2018 Edited By Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - August 12, 2018; Each 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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The Auto Channel Automotive News Digest Week Ending August 12, 2018
Executive Editor Larry Nutson
* Ford officially celebrated production of the 10,000,000th - yes, that’s ten millionth - Mustang at the Flat Rock, MI plant just southwest of Detroit this week. A car representing each model year drove from Ford’s Dearborn headquarters to the nearby plant where two white Mustangs posed for photos upon a red carpet - one, the very first production car and the other, you guessed it, the 10 millionth. Our friends at Hemmings Motor News report the first generation Mustang was the most popular, selling 3 million units in its 10-year run. Of note, Gail Wise, of Park Ridge, Il., is the owner of the very first Mustang sold by Ford and still owns it today.
* The U.S/China trade conflict continues as a number (unknown at this time) of Alabama-built, G-Class Mercedes-Benz SUVs are being held up by customs officials as they are headed to the Chinese market. M-B officials said they were notified by the Chinese government of a “safety issue” with the rear brakes, calling them “insufficient.” Skeptics speculate this has more to do with the trade war.
* Elon Musk stirred the financial world’s pot this week when he tweeted thoughts about taking Tesla private at $420/share, and claiming he already had the $72 billion on financing arranged. Musk has often bristled at Wall Street’s demands of him. According to reporting by Automotive News Europe, investment bankers and analysts are skeptical noting Musk’s net worth and business equity would be insufficient for that much financing. Tesla shares are down about 7% on the news.
* A deal involving how to deal with import and export of cars and car parts with Mexico may be near according to a statement by the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. in an interview this week. Once that happens, he said, then all three parties can get back to the other issues plaguing the deal. Among issues still to be negotiated are regional content requirements for vehicles and a sunset clause that Canada opposes.
* Chinese automaker Geeley is working on a plan to acquire and revitalize Lotus to the tune of around $2 billion initially. Lotus sports cars, race cars and engineering services are legendary, and Geeley, owner of Volvo, believes they can use that nameplate to challenge the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, according to a story in AutoWeek. The initial plan would see an expansion of the Hethel plant in England with another British plant to follow, then even more production in China.
* Mazda, Suzuki and Yamaha have come under fire from the Japanese government over fuel economy and emissions testing resulting in compliance failures. Unlike the VW diesel emissions scandal that involved intentional cheating, this revelation in Japan involves improper testing procedures that may have resulted in little, if any, problems with actual emissions or fuel economy. No recalls are involved and this affects only vehicles destined for the Japanese market.
* Cummins has agreed to recall about 500,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the United States to correct a faulty emissions control system in the engines it made for the trucks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. The EPA said the Cummins recall of vehicles produced between 2010 and 2015 was the largest ever voluntary recall of trucks due to emissions problems. The catalytic reduction systems were found to be less durable than required and will be replaced, it said.
* Toyota took the next great leap towards the future of zero-emission trucking, unveiling the second iteration of its hydrogen fuel cell electric Class 8 truck before a crowd of media and industry leaders during the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Northern Michigan. The new "Beta" truck expands on the capabilities of Toyota’s first Project Portal test vehicle by increasing the estimated range to more than 300 miles per fill, the addition of a sleeper cab and a unique fuel cabinet combination that further increases cab space without increasing wheelbase for a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 lbs.
* Cars and trucks with electronic driver assistance safety systems may not see stopped vehicles and could even steer you into a crash if you are not paying attention. This according to a recent study by the IIHS. The warning came after testing five systems in a Tesla Model 3 and Model S, Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series and Volvo S-90/. While the systems may save your life that also can fail under many circumstances. The bottom line is that the drive must always pay attention.
* Mopar power was strong last weekend at the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle as Funny Car racer Ron Capps took his Dodge Charger R/T all the way to victory for a milestone 60th career win. Matt Hagan collected the first No. 1 qualifier for the new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body this weekend, as well as his first at Pacific Raceways and fourth of the season. Leah Pritchett, the No. 6 Top Fuel qualifier faced DSR teammate Antron Brown for her 12th final round. Pritchett had starting line advantage, but Brown had the lead when they went by the Christmas tree and went on for the win. The final-round appearance was Pritchett’s second in the last three races, including her victory in Denver at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar
* NASCAR CEO Brian France was arrested for drunken driving and drug possession. France, 56, announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence. His uncle, Jim France, will take over his responsibilities. NASCAR has a substance abuse policy but it is not sure how this will apply to executives. Rumors floated a while back of the France family selling off part of their ownership in NASCAR. The age of the average NASCAR viewer is 58, and the fan base is skewing older faster than that of any other sport.
* Dodge Roadkill Nights in Pontiac, Michigan kicked off the week leading up to the Woodward Dream Cruise. In a series of match races in 717 horsepower Hemi Dodge Challenger Hellcats, Gas Monkey Garage's Richard Rawlings crashed onto the concrete barrier has he attempted a bit too much showboating in a tire smoking run. Don Shumacher Racing's Leah Pritchett in her Mopar top fuel dragster and Matt Hagan in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat funny car thrilled the crowd with thunderous runs down the Woodward Avenue 1/8 mile from their 11,000 horsepower nitro burning Hemi powered race cars.