Auto News Digest, Week Ending August 25, 2018 Edited By Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - August 25, 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 25, 2018
Executive Editor Larry Nutson
* U.S. News and World Report compiled its annual list of “Best Cars for Teens” so parents can choose affordable vehicles with the latest safety technologies and those with high rankings in crash tests. Recommendations are: 2019 Honda Fit - Best New Car for Teens Under $20k, 2018 Hyundai Ioniq - Best New Car for Teens $20k to $25k, 2018 Toyota Camry - Best New Car for Teens $25k to $30k, 2018 Kia Sportage - Best New SUV for Teens $25k to $30k, 2018 Hyundai Tucson - Best New SUV for Teens $30k to $35k, 2018 Toyota Prius Prime - Best New Car for Teens $30k to $35k, 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid - Best New Car for Teens $35k to $40k, and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan - Best New SUV for Teens $35K to $40K.
* Self-driving cars may not be able to correctly identify pedestrians who are jaywalking. Recent news stories now suggest that AI researchers might be backing off from earlier claims. It could indeed occur that self-driving cars may only be able to operate in controlled environments and not be able to mix with human-driven cars on the same road. Um, we are not surprised at this at all. Human behavior is tough to change. Andrew Ng, a well know researcher, says today's technology cannot deliver the self driving car we envisioned.
* Cars and trucks are not alone in being developed for autonomous use. Michigan Technological University announced this week the formation of a coalition focused on freshwater testing of autonomous watercraft. Michigan Tech in Houghton is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and surrounded by Lake Superior, an ideal location for testing such systems, they say, including Arctic-like conditions. The large coalition includes government, academia, business and international organizations.
* Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo, is setting up a new business unit in Shanghai that will work on design and testing of the components that go into these vehicles. Google has not been a player in the Chinese business arena in nearly a decade. The investment is quite small and details are scarce but it is an indication of the company’s desire to return to the world’s second largest market.
* We drove the all-new 2019 GMC Sierra this week in beautiful Newfoundland. In Denali, SLT and AT4 trims the new Sierra features segment exclusive features namely, head-up display(HUD), six-function multiple configuration MultiPro tailgate, adaptive ride control suspension, Rear Camera Mirror, CarbonPro carbon-fiber box and a ProGrade Trailering System with an in-vehicle trailering app. Look for a full review here soon.
* Kalashnikov, the maker of the AK-47 assault rifle, now wants to build an electric car. The most recent EV entry, shown in a cute baby-blue and dubbed the CV-1, comes with a retro design that echoes the Soviet Union’s Izh-Kombi, a car popular in the 1970s. Kalashnikov showed off the car, with a broad front grille and a 217-mile driving range, at an arms fair in Moscow.
* Last week we reported that Tesla's Elon Musk may have gotten himself into hot water with the SEC due to a tweet he made. Musk has backed off his speculation about taking Tesla private. After stirring up a hornet’s nest with talk about buying back the company’s shares with financing from the Middle East, shareholders and the Tesla Board of Directors balked. The Board issued a statement this week saying that after “considering all factors, he [Musk] believes the better path is to no longer pursue a transaction for taking Tesla private.” The Board also reiterated support for Musk’s leadership.
* The Woodward Dream Cruise, born in 1995 from an effort to fund a local ball field by a few people in Ferndale, north of Detroit at Woodward and 9-Mile Road, again clogged Woodward Avenue now for the 24th year. With Ford as the presenting sponsor, thousands of cars and people spent much of last week reliving the past.
* It's Monterey Car Week this week, one that is full of exciting events, auto shows, rallies, concours and car auctions that ends on Sunday at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Usually on the same schedule as the Woodward Dream Cruise, this year auto enthusiasts can have back-to-back immersion in car culture.
* Bugatti’s new Divo supercar, costing close to $6 million, sold out the entire expected production of 40 cars as soon as it was first shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Friday. While based on the existing Chiron it is faster and more agile, according to Bugatti, a part of the Volkswagen Group. Divo continues the Chiron’s 8.0-liter W-16 engine now rated at 1,480 horsepower with top speed limited to 236 mph.
* America’s Automotive Trust announced this week the prestigious Nicola Bulgari Award for Lifelong Commitment to America’s Automotive Heritage will go to Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Warner’s history includes racing and journalism as well. The Bulgari Award is presented annually by ATT for an individual’s lifelong efforts to promote automotive heritage through education, car restoration and/or collecting classic cars.
* Jaguar Land Rover approved a plan this week to produce an electric E-Type sports car. The automaker's UK-based Jaguar Classic unit restores and updates the famous E-Type sports cars of the 1960s. Now customers will be able to buy an electric version. The company says the conversion is completely reversible. Prices were not announced. The electric E-Type made a debut in September 2017 when Prince Harry and his new bride drove off in one after the royal wedding.
* Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 209,000 minivans, SUVs and crossovers worldwide to inspect and fix a brake problem that can cause longer stopping distances. The recall covers the 2018 Dodge Journey, 2019 Jeep Cherokee and the 2018 and 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan and Jeep Compass.
* Ford is recalling the charging cords for more than 50,000 plug-in hybrid and electric cars in North America because they could cause fires in electrical outlets. The company says the 120-volt cords came with certain 2012 through 2015 Focus electrics and some 2013 through 2015 Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids.
* AutoWeek reports that a couple NASCAR execs are in Australia taking in the Supercars OTR SuperSprint at the Bend Motorsports Park. AutoWeek says "the duo met with Supercars execs and management and several team owners looking to share ideas across the two series and forge a relationship with Supercars." What will this lead to here in the U.S.? We'll just have to wait and see.