Automotive News Digest; Week Ending December 29, 2018; Executive Producer Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL and CHICAGO - December 30, 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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* Entering its fourth year, The Drive Home is an annual vintage vehicle winter road rally that celebrates America’s motoring legacy throughout the country. America’s Automotive Trust (AAT) and the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) have announced that Houston, Texas, will be the starting point for “The Drive Home IV” – a 10-day road rally from January 3 – 12, concluding with the final leg of the trip traveling down iconic Woodward Avenue ending at Cobo Center for the final January NAIAS in Detroit. This year’s convoy will feature vintage trucks. Participating organizations and their vehicles include: America’s Car Museum – 1955 Chevrolet 3600, RPM Foundation – 1965 Ford F100, Club Auto & Hagerty – 1962 International Travelette and Concours Club & The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage – 1957 Ford Ranchero Custom.
* Nissan director Greg Kelly, arrested together with Carlos Ghosn, was released on bail from a Tokyo jail. Ghosn is still being held base on new allegations of breach of trust filed by the Japanese prosecutor. What a tragic downfall.
* VW's ongoing cleanup of its diesel cheating scandal will cost it around 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2019, the automaker's CFO told a German news organization. It makes one stop and think what was going through the heads of those who dreamed up the cheat idea now that they realize the total financial and personal impact.
* BMW AG was fined $10 million by South Korea's transport ministry for its actions in not recalling 22,670 cars prone to catch fire. BMW is also facing a criminal probe after investigators concluded the manufacturer concealed fire hazards and delayed recalls. South Korea’s transport ministry plans to ask prosecutors to investigate the German carmaker, the ministry said in a statement.
* Tesla registered a wholly-owned leasing company in China to pursue selling and making cars in that restrictive country. The Chinese recently changed its requirement that outside companies partner with a local entities to do business there. The $30 million company will also facilitate the pursuit of the $2 billion mega-factory near Shanghai that Tesla has been planning. Chinese government policies favor electric vehicles.
* In other Tesla news, the California-based electric vehicle company added new board members this week to settle an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission entered into earlier in the year as the result of irresponsible Twitter posts by company founder Elon Musk. The company already paid a $20 million fine. The new board members - Larry Ellison of Oracle and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson of Walgreens Boots Alliance - are expected to reign-in Musk’s social media communications. Musk says . . . no way.
* Penske Truck Leasing company received the first battery-electric, medium-duty commercial truck from Daimler this week for testing. The Freightliner van-bodied delivery truck will be in use for local distribution in the Northwest Pacific and California. Penske and Daimler have a long-standing relationship. More electric trucks are destined for Penske and they expect to be using a total of 20 by the end of 2019.
* In support of their promise to produce a plethora of battery-electric vehicles by 2030 Volkswagen is testing new portable charging stations that can accommodate four vehicles at a time for high-speed charging. The charging station will then need to be recharged itself since it will not need to be hooked up to a power supply. The charging station has a capacity of 360 kWh and has both AC and DC connections.
* Bloomington Gold Corvettes announced an addition to the 2019 Event. For the first time in the 45-year history of the Show, Bloomington Gold will invite Camaros to join them at the 3-day event June 20-22, 2019 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Camaros will be offered similar opportunity to enjoy many of the amenities already offered to Corvette owners such as laps on the infamous IMS track, participation in the road tour and Camaro focused vendors, to name a few.
* Subaru Tecnica International announced that it will reveal the limited-edition STI S209 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14th. Subaru Tecnica International Inc. (STI) is a subsidiary of SUBARU CORPORATION (SBR), which was established to undertake the motorsport activities of SUBARU.
* We've navigated through 2018 and now on to new open-roads for 2019. Happy New Year to all and thanks for your time!