Automotive News Digest; Week Ending November 17, 2018; Executive Producer Larry Nutson
China Tariffs; Big Time Limitations For Autonomous Vehicles; Only 50% Of Young Adults Enjoy Time Driving; VW Of Dieselgate Ruling Fame Plans On Spending $50 Billion On EV's (Cause The wanna or cause they have ta?). Porsche Tops Owner Satisfaction; Vehicle Magazine Truck-SUV Finalists Named; Toyota Swims Upstream Reveals New Corolla (See Video)But Slows Production Of Camry; New Tesla Sedan In China; Ford Recalls; NASCAR 2018 Champion Crowned In Homestead; 51 Year Baja 1000 David Hall Driving Streak Ends; RIP NASCAR's David Pearson, Malibu Fire Claims Gary Cerveny Classic 30 Car Collection, RIP Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, RIP Larsen Motorsport's Jet Driver 24 Year-old Katarina Mollerrer (Witness's Sought), RIP Kitty O'Neil Veteran Stunt Driver-Movie Double
AUTO CENTRAL, CHICAGO - November 18, 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 17, 2018
Executive Producer Larry Nutson
* Good news, at least for now. The Trump administration is holding off on imposing new tariffs on car imports as government leaders consider revisions to a report on the national security implications, according to a Bloomberg report. President Donald Trump has threatened a 25-percent tax on imported cars and car parts that automakers and industry analysts have said would be costly to automakers and consumers. The National Automobile Dealers Association has said a 25-percent tariff would boost the price of a U.S.‐assembled vehicle by about $2,270, and for imported vehicles, the price would rise by $6,875 per vehicle. Experts say tariffs would reduce sales by 2 million per year.
* Waymo CEO John Krafcik says autonomous cars won't ever be able to drive in all conditions. And, it will be decades before self-driving cars are all over the roads. John Krafcik, head of the self-driving car unit of Google parent company Alphabet, said that though driverless cars are "truly here," they're not yet ubiquitous. And he doesn't think the industry will ever achieve the highest driving rating of being able to drive at any time of year in any weather and any condition. This comes from a report by CNET.
* According to a new national survey conducted by Arity, a Chicago-based transportation and data company created by Allstate Insurance, almost half of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed do not enjoy most of the time they spend driving. More than half the adults between the ages of 22 and 37 say a car is not worth the money it costs to keep it. Arity reports that drivers of all ages spend about 335 hours a year in their cars.
* Volkswagen announced this week a plan to spend around $50 billion through 2023 (up about $10 billion from what last year's plans entailed) to compete in the world’s shift to electric and self-driving vehicles. Planning includes producing as many as 50 full-electric models by 2025. Automotive News Europe calls it the most radical strategy shift since VW’s diesel cheating scandal. The I.D. Neo hatchback, the first of the I.D. mainstream family of vehicles, begins production in 2019.
* New car customers rated Porsche as the top brand in J.D. Power's annual Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. The SSI Study provides an analysis of the purchase experience from a customer perspective. Porsche topped luxury brands followed by Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac. Mainstream brands were led by MINI, followed by GMC, Buick, Chevrolet and Ford.
* MOTORTREND announced the top three finalists in contention for its MotorTrend Awards “Golden Calipers” for Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, and SUV of the Year. The award winners will be announced at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles on Monday, November 26. The 2019 MOTORTREND Car of the Year finalists include: Genesis G70, Honda Insight and Volvo S60/V60. The 2019 MOTORTREND Truck of the Year finalists include: Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. The 2019 MOTORTREND SUV of the Year finalists include: Jaguar I-Pace, Jeep Wrangler and Volvo XC40.
* Even as the light vehicle markets move away from cars to light trucks, mostly crossovers, Toyota revealed its newest version of the compact Corolla, one of its top selling vehicles around the world. The new 2020 Corolla is built around a new global platform and takes on much more dramatic styling evolved, it appears, from the last Scion sedan. Year-to-date sales of Corolla are down 11%, but that still leaves about a quarter million sales in the U.S.
* Reflecting the weakness in the sedan market Toyota is slowing production even of the Kentucky-built Camry, best-selling car in the U.S. for the past 16 years. According to Toyota spokesman, Rick Hesterberg, they will idle one of the three assembly lines at the Kentucky plant where the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES sedans are also made. Camry sales are off 6.1% and Toyota’s total car sales are off 11%. It seems buyers of all brands are increasingly opting for crossovers and SUVs.
* Tesla began taking orders for its mainstream small electric sedan in China with $1,153.60 (8,000 yuan) deposits, according to reporting by Reuters. China is the biggest market in the world for electric cars with a mandate of 100% electric vehicles by 2030. Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted deliveries could begin by April of 2019. Tesla is also planning to build a $2 billion factory in Shanghai where they expect to produce around a quarter million vehicles per year.
* Ford issued four safety recalls in North America for the 2018 Ford Explorer, 2019 Ford Super Duty, 2018 Ford Expedition, 2018 Lincoln Navigator and the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. The recall affects 38,000 vehicles and varies by model so check with your Ford or Lincoln dealer.
* Kitty O'Neil, a stunt-woman who was Lynda Carter's stunt double on 1970s TV series Wonder Woman, has died in South Dakota at the age of 72. O'Neil, who lost her hearing when she was five months old, also doubled for Lindsay Wagner on The Bionic Woman. Her other credits included Smokey and the Bandit II and The Blues Brothers. O'Neil's success as a stuntwoman led her into the world of speed racing and she set a land-speed record for women in 1976 - which still stands today. She got into the record books by travelling at an average of 512 mph in a rocket-powered vehicle called The Motivator.
* NASCAR's 2018 Champion will be decided today at Homes tad - Miami Speedway among four finalists--- Kevin Harvick in a Ford, Kyle Busch in a Toyota, Joey Logano in a Ford and Martin Truex Jr. in a Toyota. Chevrolet was shut out of the championship race. And in Formula One, Lewis Hamilton's win at the Brazilian Grand Prix clinched the constructors' title for Mercedes for the fifth straight year. Hamilton already clinched the his fifth career F1 title back on October 28.
* Our friends at ClassicCars.com report that after 50 years, one of the nation’s top performance-driving schools has shuttered. The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving closed its doors this week, slightly more than a month after the school filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The news was confirmed by a spokesman for the school. Court documents showed that the school owed between $1 million and $10 million to more than 50 but fewer than 100 creditors. Bondurant reportedly had between $1 million and $10 million in assets.
* RIP David Pearson, known as the Silver Fox for his cunning behind the wheel. Pearson died this week at age 83. He was a NASCAR pioneer and longtime rival of Richard Petty. Pearson was a three-time Cup champion and had 105 career victories to his name. Pearson made his NASCAR debut in 1960 and was inducted into the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011.
* Gary Cerveny, a noted car collector and enthusiast with a shop in Malibu, California reportedly lost his entire 30-plus car collection in the latest California wildfires. That’s according to friends from the Old Crow Speed Shop on Instagram. Of particular interest is the destruction of the one-of-a-kind Norman Timbs Special streamlined custom. Numerous cars were lost when the entire town of Paradise was wiped out. Photos showed at least one five-window Ford, an early model Thunderbird, and a classic Studebaker burned to the ground.
* Katarina Moller, a young and popular short track and drag racer from Florida, died in a crash while doing a jet dragster demonstration at the Sebring International Raceway this week.The 24-year-old was in her fifth year as a driver for Larsen Motorsports, a four-car jet car team led by veteran jet car racer Elaine Larsen and her husband, Chris.The cause of the crash is being investigated and help is sought from anyone who witnessed the event. “Sebring International Raceway and the entire racing community are heartbroken.” said SIR president and GM Wayne Estes.
* According to reporting by Daniel Stohl at Hemmings Daily, this will be "the first time in its 51-year history the Baja 1000 runs without Rod Hall.” Hall is quoted as saying, “In the beginning, it was just an adventure.” In those days he was racing in used four-wheel drive trucks he modified himself, but in the inaugural race - down the entire length of the Baja Peninsula - with a stock Jeep CJ-5 navigating only with a compass. While winning his class many time he took overall honors only once, in 1969.