Nutson's Auto News Digest Week Ending July 6, 2019
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending July 6, 2019; Important automotive news and back stories in expert created easy to digest nuggets.
* Automotive icon Lee Iacocca, visionary executive, Father of the Ford Mustang, rescuer of Chrysler Corporation, has died. He was 94. He was the only executive in modern times to preside over the operations of two of the Detroit automakers, Ford and Chrysler. At Chrysler Iacocca is credited with creating the K-car and the minivan.
* The first-ever Southeast Michigan Auto Show at The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan is being planned to fill the void left in January by the North American International Auto Show's 2020 move to June. The show is scheduled for Jan. 3-5. The Southeast Michigan Auto Show aims to be a consumer-focused event, much like what the Detroit auto show started as. Some dealerships and automakers have already committed to putting up stands at the January show.
* With June sales results now counted, major automakers saw sales decline for the first half of this year. The decline is expected to extend for the remainder of the year as the U.S. auto industry’s historic sales comes to an end. Rising car prices and higher interest rates are part of the reason. SUV and pickup demand is still strong but sedan sales continue to decline. June sales at Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler were up, while Ford, Honda, Nissan, GM and Toyota dropped. It's the sixth straight monthly decline, and yet the SAAR topped 17 million again.
* Ram sold a bunch of pickup trucks in June. So much so that the former No. 3 pickup brand in the United States is now a solid No. 2, ahead of GM's Chevrolet Silverado. Ram pickups outsold the Silverado line by more than 35,000 vehicles in the second quarter.
* A study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Quaker State, examined the road trip habits and behaviors of 2,000 Americans over the summer. The average American will spend nearly 23 hours on road trips with the family this summer and will experience 11 bathroom breaks for all the road trips taken. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans will travel and have to deal with 19 bouts of hunger, 16 “are we there yets,” 18 “how much longers” and 17 “I’m tireds.” The average American is prepared to drive nearly three hours to reach their vacation destination and they will eat 13 snacks along the way and play 16 car games during their travels.
* The United States and China declared another truce in their trade conflict after U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi met on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Financial markets rallied, but analysts cautioned that a truce is not a durable settlement.
* As reported by ClassicCars.com, with a new and mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette about to be unveiled, the last of the traditional front-engine Corvettes sold for $2.7 million at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast auction in Uncasville, Connecticut. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The final C7 off the assembly line at Bowling Green, Kentucky, was a black Z06 model. The name of the buyer of the last front-engine Corvette was not immediately released, but the Yahoo Finance website reported it was Dan Snyder, chief executive of InLighten and founder of Dan Snyder Motorsports.
* Mazda is recalling about 8,000 2018 Mazda CX-9s for a wire harness defect that may cause electrical disruptions to the front passenger airbag or turn signals. It also is recalling more than 25,000 2019 Mazda3 cars due to the increased risk that wheels could detach and fall off while in use.
* Volkswagen has issued a recall for 662,185 of its 2018-2019 VW Atlas SUV and the 2012-2020 VW Passat sedan. The recall involves installing a missing cap on the headlights that allows for horizontal adjustment, which is not allowed by federal safety regulations after the vehicle leaves the assembly line.
* BMW and Daimler made it official - they will now collaborate on developing self-driving vehicle technology, combining teams with a total of 1,200 developers. The move is a big step in the consolidation of automated vehicle efforts in the auto industry, driven by executives, boards and investors who have concluded that achieving safe, reliable robotic driving will take longer and cost far more than optimists imagined just a few years ago.
* Honda hailed a fresh start in Austria on Sunday after celebrating the Japanese engine maker’s first Formula One race victory since 2006. After three difficult and painful years with McLaren, and a season with Toro Rosso in 2018, the Red Bull partnership bore fruit with Max Verstappen beating Mercedes and Ferrari.The Japanese company’s last win was at Hungary 2006 with now-retired Briton Jenson Button. The result ensured Mercedes didn't win for the first time this season. But its driver, Valtteri Bottas, grabbed the final podium spot while teammate and five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fifth after being overtaken late by longtime Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.
* The Mazda DPI class curse is over and the demons have been driven away. After winning poles and often being the fastest at various tracks on the IMSA WeatherTech circuit over the last two years, often anything that could go wrong in races would go wrong. At the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen in the top-ranked DPI class Mazda Team Joest No. 55 driver Harry Tincknell crossed the finish line first and the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPI driver Oliver Jarvis brought the sister team car home to the checkered flag in second.
* This week the Goodwood Festival of Speed annual event at Goodwood House, West Sussex, England featured demonstrations by F1 drivers and teams, a century of Bentley, 70-years of Aston Martin plus supercars and global debuts from Ferrari, Ford, Lexus, Porsche, as well as the famous timed shootout where the all-electric Volkswagen ID.R aimed for victory for a second year in a row.
* Ford unveiled the GT Mk II at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The new track-only version of the GT supercar is powered by a 700-hp version of the GT's twin-turbo V-6 engine, has a racing-inspired aero package, and a stripped-out interior. Only 45 will be built at a cost of $1.2 million each.
* The world of motorsports suffered a tragedy last Sunday when Ducati motorcycle racer Carlin Dunne died at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Dunne, 36, from Santa Barbara, California, was on the way to setting the new motorcycle speed record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Having just obliterated the first three sector times, less than a quarter of a mile from the finish line at the mountain's summit, he crashed.
Larry Nutson is on the Board of Directors of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, serving as the Treasurer, and a contributing writer to ClassicCars.com and Chicago Tribune/Autos.