Automotive News Digest; Week Ending November 10, 2018; Executive Producer Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - November 11, 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.
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The Auto Channel Automotive News In Digest Format - Week Ending November 10, 2018
Executive Producer Larry Nutson
* Ford is buying the the electric scooter startup Spin for more than $40 million. This is all about Ford being a provider of transportation solutions and options. Ford, which refers to the Spin scooters as “micro-mobility” because they provide travel for an average distance of less than 3 miles, is targeting college campuses and urban areas. Many transportation alternatives focus on the first-mile and last-mile of a commute.
* One of the major complaints in cities that have e-Scooter programs is that they are parked all over the place. Santa Monica, CA has come up with the idea of scooter in-street parking corrals as a recommended solution for dockless device clutter. Seattle pioneered early dockless parking areas on sidewalks. Santa Monica appears to be the first city to implement in-street corrals for e-scooters and e-bikes.
* Unique chimes, informing drivers of everything from an open fuel door to an unlatched seat belt, are now symphonic in the all-new Lincoln Aviator. The notes are precise, crystalline and rich with detail, recorded by heralded musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Three levels of informational chimes – non-critical, soft-warning chimes and hard-warning chimes – will provide distinct musical alerts for about 25 features in the vehicle.
* USA Today reported that gas prices slide down quickly ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday, falling from a national average of $2.78 per gallon to as low as $2.50 by November 6, according to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). In October, gas prices reached a national average of $2.90 per gallon. AAA reported gas prices at 6 cents lower than last week, but still 27 cents higher than a year ago. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported the average retail gas price at $2.75 per gallon on November 5. At least 1,500 stations would post prices of less than $2.25 per gallon on Election Day, November 6 said OPIS analyst Tom Kloza. Kloza said the sharp decline is a “colossal collapse. … There’s the possibility you could see some prices flirt with $2 a gallon in the next 10 days or so in some of the low-tax areas. … For now it's going to be a great break.”
* The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005), with 2.5 million more people taking to the nation's roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. For the 48.5 million Americans planning a Thanksgiving road trip, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could see much heavier than normal congestion.
* Two German companies, Daimler AG and supplier Robert Bosch GmbH, have chosen San Jose in Silicon Valley as its pilot city for an autonomous ride-hailing service that's set to launch in the second half of 2019. A fleet of Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans will be offered to a "selected user community" in a corridor between downtown and west San Jose. Don't expect anyone to open the door for you.
* Australian telecommunications executive Robyn Denholm is the new chairwoman of Tesla. Denholm, who has been a Tesla board member for nearly five years, was named to the post, replacing Elon Musk as part of a securities fraud settlement with U.S. government regulators. Wish her luck in controlling Elan Musk.
* Another Tesla challenger is coming. Volkswagen plans to add a subcompact crossover costing about $21,000 to its all-electric I.D. range, expanding its lineup of zero-emissions vehicles. The entry level vehicle may be built at VW’s factory in Emden, Germany. Sales could start sometime after 2020, and the company expects to sell about 200,000 per year.
*Subaru is recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix two problems that can cause them to stall. About 229,000 Outback and Legacy vehicles from the 2018 model year have a software problem that can stop the low-fuel warning light from illuminating and make the miles-to-empty display inaccurate. The problem can cause drivers to run out of fuel and stall. And, 2012 to 2014 Impreza, and the 2013 BRZ, XV Crosstrek and Toyota Scion FR-S have engine valve springs in about 166,000 of the vehicles that can fracture, causing the engines to malfunction or stall.
* Mary “Mari” Hulman George, matriarch of the Hulman George racing family and Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Hulman & Company, which owns and operates the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, passed away last week. She was 83. Hulman George oversaw stewardship of IMS – known as the Racing Capital of the World – as its chairman for nearly 30 years, from 1988 until her retirement from active involvement in day-to-day operations in 2016.