Automotive News Digest; Week Ending January 26, 2019 - Compiled By Executive Producer Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - January 27, 2019: 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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* Barrett-Jackson raised much-needed funds and awareness on behalf of deserving charities nationwide at its 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction. During the weeklong premier automotive lifestyle event, Barrett-Jackson raised $9.6 million, which includes donations made on the block beyond the hammer prices, and is the largest amount raised at one auction in the company’s 48-year history. A total of 16 vehicles were auctioned to help raise funds and awareness for deserving charities across the country.
* At the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference Ford's CEO Jim Hackett said “We are going to electrifying the F-Series with battery electric and hybrid and we are doing the same for Transit. We launched a PHEV version of Transit and that will be on a journey of electrifying Transit globally.”
* The Detroit News reports that FCA CEO Mike Manly says that the next generation of the Dodge Challenger, and perhaps the Charger, will get a boost with an electric motor. The days of 700 and 800 horsepower supercharged Hemi engines are numbered. The muscle cars from Mopar will continue but in a reimagined way.
* You'll recall the limited production 2019 Lincoln 80th Anniversary Continental Coach Door Edition we reported a few weeks ago. Well, the $110,000 Lincoln Continental sold out in 48 hours. Only 80 units are being built for 2019. A 2020 model is planned.
* A survey of 2,000 motorists conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Toco Warranty found that 56 percent of owners name their vehicle to show their admiration. The survey also found that Americans speak to their cars approximately 13 times a week, on average. For 63 percent of owners, car conversations are primarily encouraging the car to go faster or make it up a hill. The average car owner sleeps two and a half nights in their car, eats six entire meals in it, and has sex in it three times.
* ClassicCars.com reports that 8,000 people turned out to watch the revival of ice racing at Zell am See, Austria, in an event co-created by Porsche scion Ferdinand Porsche. Previously run between 1937 and 1974, now taking to the icy racing circuit were historic, vintage and even modern racing cars driven by the likes of former World Rally champion Walter Rohrl, endurance racing star Hans-Joachim Stuck, Former Formula One racer Mark Webber and even Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the Porsche AG board.
* Carlos Ghosn was once again denied bail by a Japanese court after promising to surrender his passports, wear a monitor and pay to rent an apartment in Japan. Renault SA announced its new leadership team after accepting the resignation of Carlos Ghosn, architect of the company’s two-decade alliance with Nissan Motor Co. Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard, 65, was appointed chairman. He’ll be given full responsibility for managing the alliance with the partners. Thierry Bollore, 55, was named CEO, a role he has held on an interim basis since after Ghosn’s arrest
* Motorcycle riding is good for you. The results of a neurobiological study conducted by a team of three researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior yielded pioneering scientific evidence revealing the potential mental and physical benefits of riding. Funded by Harley-Davidson, the study found that motorcycling increased metrics of focus and attention, and decreased relative levels of cortisol, a hormonal marker of stress.
* A new survey from YouGov found that 11% of Americans who hold a driver's license, equivalent to a market of 21 million people, would consider buying an electric vehicle (EV). Those inclined to purchase an EV are more likely than the general driving population to be in the 25-44 year age group, vote Democratic and consider climate change a serious issue. Nearly half of those interested in EVs said they were influenced by their car’s impact on the environment, versus just 14% of driver's license holders. Likewise, 75% of potential customers were influenced by a car’s gas mileage, compared to 59% of the general population.
* Apple laid off 200 employees from its self-driving car unit, "Project Titan." Sam Abuelsamid of Navigant Research says, "Rather than trying to build a complete vehicle, it seems more likely that Apple will license its automated driving stack to other manufacturers that don’t have the resources or expertise to develop their own. If that happens, it will likely be tied to an Apple-controlled mobility services platform, much as Apple’s mobile devices are locked to its app store."
* The partial U.S. government shutdown has threatened to delay the roll-out of new vehicle models in the United States by stalling required certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency, automakers said. Some 95 percent of EPA staff has been furloughed, including those at the lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, responsible for verifying emissions data for new automotive models to ensure they comply with clean air laws.
* Courtney Force, the winningest female racer in Funny Car history, has announced she is stepping away from the driver’s seat. Force, the daughter of NHRA legend John Force, drove to four wins last year aboard the John Force Racing Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car. While her driving duties will be coming to an end, Force will continue to stay involved in the NHRA by supporting her teammates as well as maintaining off-track partnerships. Courtney Force, age 30, is married to IndyCar driver Graham Rahal. Perhaps it's time for parenthood.