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Auto News Digest, Week Ending September 1, 2018; Edited By Larry Nutson


AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - September 2, 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 September 1, 2018
Executive Editor Larry Nutson

* AutoPacific announced the 2018 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), recognizing vehicles that best meet owners' expectations for the product. U.S. brands receive fourteen IVA vehicle wins, up from eleven last year, plus the top overall vehicle and top popular and premium brands. European brands receive eight vehicle wins, up from six in 2017. Asian brands receive five wins, down from six in 2017. The 2018 Overall Winner is Chevrolet Suburban, the 2018 Most Ideal Brand Overall is Tesla and the 2018 Most Ideal Popular Brand is Ford.

* Lowering the speed limit by 5 mph on city streets can improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike by reducing speeding, new research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates. Effective January 9, 2017, the default speed limit on City of Boston streets was reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph. The current practice of setting speed limits according to the 85th percentile free-flow speeds, without consideration of other characteristics of the roadway, can be a hurdle for local communities looking to lower speed limits.

* Ford stock suffered a hit from Moody’s Investors Service this week as the respected credit agency downgraded the company's stock to one click above junk bond status, ostensibly the result of “erosion in the company’s global business position.” Ford stock fell 0.4% on the news. A Ford spokesman said they will “capitalize on our strengths” and “bolster underperforming products and regions.“ Ford is currently involved in a major reorganization of their North American business.

* Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli was sentenced to 5.5 years in federal prison for tax evasion and his role in a wide-ranging conspiracy to win favorable treatment from the UAW for FCA. He is the highest-ranking person to have worked at the automaker convicted in the scandal to date.

* Aston Martin, the British automaker best known for being James Bond’s car brand of choice, said that it planned to go public. The potential offering would mark a turnaround for the once-troubled company, which has filed for bankruptcy seven times over its century-long history and passed from owner to owner, including Ford Motor Company. According to Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, the company will launch an initial public offering, expected to value the company at around $6.4 billion on the London Stock Exchange by the end of the year having recently become profitable with new models and improved volumes. The company expects to produce up to 7,300 cars next year and up to 9,800 cars in 2020. Aston Martin has only one British plant currently but will launch another in 2019. About 25% of Aston Martin production is sold in the UK.

* The U.S. and Mexico reached a tentative agreement this past week to allow automakers to import vehicles without tariffs if 75% of the vehicles’ content is from the two countries, representing an increase from the previous NAFTA-required 62.5%. The deal also requires that 45% of the parts be made by workers making at least $16/hour. In order to meet the new rules Canadian content needs to be included and Canada has not signed onto the deal. Trump said he will cancel the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States and both its neighbors in favor of what he called the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. And for consumers, new car prices will rise, along with demand for used cars. Happy motoring.

* Tesla continues to face an impending cash shortage after founder and CEO, Elon Musk, backed off his suggestion of taking the company private. Continued problems ramping up production of the high-volume, mainstream Model 3 has tapped both cash and confidence in the electric car company. The Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation about whether Musk misled investors when he recently tweeted about taking the company private.

* The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline on August 27, 2018, was $2.83 per gallon (gal), the highest price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2014, when it was $3.45/gal, and 43 cents/gal higher than the same time last year. A higher North Sea Brent crude oil price—nearly $23 per barrel higher than what it was heading into the Labor Day weekend last year and its highest level for this time of year since 2014—is the main driver of the increase in the gasoline price.

* VW is recalling 8,400 crossover SUVs and mid-size sedans built at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant to tighten brake system components that may not have been tightened correctly at the factory. The recall covers certain 2017-2018 Passat sedans and 2018 Atlas SUVs that VW said had already been "reworked at the factory" to rectify improperly coated brake caliper pistons.

* Nissan is recalling about 166,000 vehicles in North America because a defective ignition switch can affect the safe operation of airbag systems due to the engine shutting off while driving. The automaker said 153,000 vehicles are in a U.S. and 13,000 are in Canada. The recall covers certain 2017-2018 Juke, Frontier, Sentra, Versa, Versa Note, NV, NV200 and taxicab models, and in Canada the recall has to do with 2017-2018 Frontier, Micra and Versa Note models and 2017 Sentra, NV200, NV1500, NV2500 and NV3500 models.

* Chery, one of the largest Chinese automakers, is planning to launch electrified vehicles in Europe “no sooner than 2020” said the company’s CEO, Chen Anning, to a German newspaper, according to reporting by Reuters. Chery showed the Exceed compact SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric versions. Chery is looking to raise the company’s overseas sales from a quarter to a third, said Chen.

* The world-renowned Monterey Car Week wrapped up last Sunday with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the most prestigious classic and collector car show in the U.S. Winning Best of Show honors was the 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta owned by David and Ginny Sydorick of Beverly Hills, CA. This Alfa has won other honors at Pebble Beach in the past but recently underwent a fresh restoration. Sydorick is known in the collector car community for his post war Zagato-bodied Astons, and he has entered a number of cars like that at Pebble Beach. But it wasn’t until he entered a pre-war Touring-bodied Alfa that he finally won. Runners up were a 1948 Talbot Lago T26 Coupe and a Duesenberg J Limousine.

* Here's wishing you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Happy Driving.