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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest - April 28 - May 4, 2019

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All Real News

RIP Dear Henny; April US Sales; Tesla Twitter Troubles; Buh-Bye DSRC; California C8 Reveal; ForTwo EV Gone From NA; Trunk Key For Amazon; Lemming-Like GM To Follow Ford And Build EV PU (Even without $500 Million Investment In Start-up EV Platform Rivian)

AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - May 5, 2019; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Executive Producer and Chicago Car Guy along with 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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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest - "Don't Miss" Car and Truck News Made April 28-May 4, 2019

* It is with great sadness the we report that Henny Hemmes our friend, colleague, mentor, teacher and creative partner has passed away after a brave battle with ALS disease. For more than 25 years Henny had a successful career in motorsport with two Dutch FIA Championship titles, as well as top results in 24-hour racing in Europe. From early 2010, she was a member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) and represented the Dutch ASN as National Coordinator. Since the early eighties, she worked as a test driver and automotive writer for Dutch and American publications such as AutoWeek, Top Time - Netherlands, The Auto Channel, The Detroit Bureau, Roundel, as well as other international outlets. Henny was president of the Automotive Press Club in The Netherland. Henny was a World Car juror.

* April was a largely disappointing month for U.S. auto sales. Car prices are rising and buyers are tightening their purse strings. Sales overall were down 2.6%. The average price of a new car was roughly $36,720 in April, according to Edmunds. That's the highest level so far this year as interest rates remain above 6%. VW, Subaru and Nissan were up; Honda was flat; Toyota down; Hyundai/Kia slightly up. As record-breaking sales fades further into the rearview mirror and monthly results are more mixed, Detroit's Big Three are bowing out of monthly sales reporting. FCA said Wednesday it is switching to quarterly sales reports, joining GM and Ford.

* From Reuters we hear that Elon Musk and the regulatory agency he has called the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" agreed, again, that Musk should have lawyers vet his tweets about Tesla's future production and other potentially share moving matters. The deal, if approved, would calm the row between Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission touched off by tweets about a go-private deal that never materialized. Separately, Tesla confirmed in its first quarter 10-Q that it is considering "alternative financing sources" to bolster its cash reserves.

* Toyota delivered a setback to backers of a form of wifi known as Dedicated Short-Range Communications, saying it will abandon plans to use the technology in the U.S. For years, DSRC has been touted as the best way to allow cars to talk to each other and to the infrastructure, but the idea has gone nowhere. Now, high-speed 5G mobile networks threaten to make DSRC obsolete. Silicon Valley will help dig DSRC's grave, because it wants the spectrum that was set aside for connected car networks.

* You haven't heard of Hemi Day? FCA says it's "the annual celebration of all things Hemi," held on April 26 to honor the debut of the more than 50-year-old 426 Hemi engine. Mopar celebrated Hemi Day with 1,000-horsepower 'Hellephant' engine. The Mopar "Hellephant" 426 Supercharged Crate Hemi engine will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $29,995.

* More news on the reveal of the all-new, long-awaited, mid-engine C8 Corvette. It's still on for July 18 and now we know it will be in Orange County, California.

* Say farewell to the Smart car, the tiny two-seater Americans never really understood. Daimler Benz said it will stop selling the battery-operated Fortwo model in the United States and Canada after this model year. The decision was spurred by “a declining micro-car market,” said Robert Moran, director of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz USA.

* Ford Motor Company joins General Motors and Volvo Cars offering Key by Amazon deliveries to your vehicle. With all new Ford and Lincoln vehicles having standard connectivity by the end of this year, more services are coming including mobile carwashes and detailing. Now the Amazon delivery truck can put your order in your car while parked at your home or office.

* From the Detroit News we hear it's official: General Motors Co. is planning to build an electric pickup truck. CEO Mary Barra confirmed the Detroit automaker's electrification plans on a conference call with investors Tuesday following first-quarter earnings results."GM has an industry-leading truck franchise and industry-leading electrification capabilities. I assure you we will not cede our leadership on either front," Barra said. "We intend to create an all-electric future that includes a complete range of EVs — including full-size pickups." Barra said GM would share more on the electric pickup "when competitively appropriate." A GM spokesman declined to provide details on the new electric vehicle or the timing of its launch.