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Automotive News Digest; Week Ending September 29, 2018 Edited By Larry Nutson


AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - September 29, 2018; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Senior Editor and Chicago Car Guy along with fellow senior editor 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 15, 2018
Executive Editor Larry Nutson

* The Paris Motor Show, which traditionally marks the beginning of Europe's fall new-car sales season, will host the debut of a handful of new luxury vehicles this week. BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Peugeot will be present but many mainstream brands such as VW, Nissan and FCA will not as automakers continue to re-evaluate the value of the traditional auto show.

* Porsche has decided to stop offering diesel engine models. In a statement Porsche said "Our objective is to be a technological pioneer; we are strengthening the core focus of our brand and consistently aligning our company with the mobility concepts of the future." Next year, Porsche will be  bringing out a pure electric sports car, the Taycan. By 2025, half of all new vehicles from Porsche may feature an electric drive – either as part of a hybrid concept or as a purely electric vehicle.

* More and more, drivers are recognizing the value in having vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like blind spot monitoring systems, forward collision warning and lane keeping assist. However, while many of these technologies are rapidly being offered as standard, many drivers are unaware of the safety limitations of ADAS in their vehicles, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety; The training drivers need to properly use the safety technologies in their vehicles is not currently offered" according to the study.

* More trouble at Tesla: Elon Musk has reached a deal over fraud charges that will see him step down as electric automaker Tesla's chairman of the board and pay a $20 million fine but stay on as CEO, US securities regulators said. This after the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the Tesla founder. The agreement eases pressure on Tesla's embattled CEO, who faced potentially being barred from serving as an officer or board member of a publicly traded company as a result of the charges, which stemmed from a tweet by Musk about taking the company private.

* GM is moving its Cadillac headquarters back to Detroit (actually, Warren, MI) nearly four years after relocating the luxury brand's home base to New York City's trendy SoHo neighborhood. Under the leadership of their trendy new leader at that time, Johan de Nysschen, the idea was to separate Cadillac from the influence of the GM bureaucracy in order to allow more creativity in enhancing the brand image. Steve Carlisle, a longtime GM executive who took over Cadillac in April, said in an interview that he wants the brand's leaders to be closer to GM’s vehicle design and engineering hub in suburban Detroit, especially as GM prepares to roll out several new Cadillac models in coming years.

* Summer limits on E15 gasoline may be lifted with new policy changes by the Trump Administration. Current rules block the sale of E15 from June 1 to September 15. This restriction may go away which would encourage more gasoline stations to carry E15. Most gasoline sold nationwide is E10--10 percent ethanol blend. Oil refineries are opposed to E15 because it cuts in to their profits.

* Chairwoman of the powerful California Air Resource Board, Mary Nichols, urged President Trump this week to turn around the plan to abandon existing fuel efficiency standards because that plan “turns its back on cleaning up cars and trucks.�?? Automakers just want the federal and state governments to reach a nationwide agreement without taking a position on emissions levels so they know what cars to make. Ms. Nichols is quoted as saying,"California will take the necessary actions to protect our people and follow the law" Federal regulators will be in Fresno Monday to hear public comments.;

* Trusted European automotive news sources are saying Audi will dust off its historic luxury brand, Horch, in order to compete in image with Maybach and other ultra-luxury brands. The moniker, an old Auto Union nameplate, will likely identify the top model of the A8 and A8L when a midcycle update is made in two or three years.  Horch began making cars before 1900 and dominated the German luxury car market in the mid 1930s. Many will ask whether we pronounce the name with with a hard or soft ‘ch’ sound. One expert told me that either is correct depending on whether you’re from the north or south of Germany.Â

* Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that President Trump's tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum are raising their costs and prices and will cost the company $1 Billion. Ford buys most of its metals from U.S. producers who have raised prices as a result of the tariffs on foreign competitors. Automotive News reports, if Ford earns $1 billion less in North America because of tariffs, even though nearly all of the steel it uses is made in the U.S., its profit-sharing payouts to workers would drop by $1,000.

* President Trump arrived in Manhattan last Sunday to begin meeting with world leaders as the U.N. General Assembly convenes. Trump was picked up at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in a new "Beast�?? Cadillac limousine, marking the first major redesign of the presidential state car since 2009. "On September 17, 2018, a new armored limousine made its debut within the U.S. Secret Service presidential limo fleet.  This vehicle, a 2018 Cadillac, continues the Secret Service’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art technology and performance to its protective mission,�?? according to a U.S. Secret Service spokesman. Built on a truck chassis, reports are that the Cadillac is diesel powered.

* The automotive journalism community lost an icon this week with the passing of veteran auto writer, commentator, racer - Tony Swan. One of his last projects was to oversee the 2018 Automotive Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award at the Concours of America in July. He was a Lifetime Achievement winner himself. In spite of overwhelming health problems he was able to attend the event and speak eloquently about the winner, his friend Peter Egan. Â He parlayed his love of motor sports into a full-time auto gig with Detroit-based AutoWeek in 1970 and went on to write for or edit nearly every major automotive outlet. Tony was 78 and spent his last decade fighting multiple battles with cancer while continuing to race, write and comment with his trademark acerbic wit. Tony was also one of the founding members of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards.

* AutoWeek reports that, just six weeks after Danny Thompson set a record for wheel-driven cars at Bonneville with a mind-blowing 448.757 mph, multigenerational racing family Team Vesco, with driver Dave Spangler, went out on the salt in their Turbinator II and ran 482.646. Team Vesco's Turbinator II, powered by a 5,000-hp Lycoming internal combustion shaft turbine engine, set its 482.646-mph record in T-3 class during the World of Speed time trials hosted by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association last week.

* NASCAR has a new president - Steve Phelps. He will replace Brent Dewar who had been in the job a very short time and will now become an advisor; Mr. Smith began his tenure by acknowledging a variety of headwinds facing the racing series even beyond attendance and sponsorship. Details of any changes were not shared, but everything will be looked at, insists Mr. Phelps. Once the most popular spectator sports in the county, NASCAR has been waning over recent years.

* And this: For the fourth time this year and just two days after the last theft, Fiat Chrysler has been hit by thieves stealing cars from a plant or its adjacent third-party facilities. Friday police responded to a shipping yard near FCA's Jefferson North Assembly Plant on Detroit's east side. They arrested two juveniles at the yard and have recovered a total of eight vehicles from the the theft. The theft is the latest in a series of such incidents. Earlier in the week, thieves made off with a Jeep Cherokee and three Dodge Chargers from the same facility after smashing through the fence with a fifth vehicle.