Nutson's Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending August 3, 2019
July US Auto Sales; New Car Destination Charges RISING; NACTOY Candidates For Car Of The Year; Europe Dis's Diesel Loves Electric; Audi Exec Off To Jail; USMCA On Idle; Automotive Heritage Awards; Buh-Bye VW Best Warrantee; Survey Shows: Autonomous Cars Lagging; CAFE Alive In Some States; Historic Vehicle Register Display; Tesla Lawsuit; Garlits Is EV Fast; 50th Street Rod Nationals Heat Up Louisville
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - August 4, 2019; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Executive Producer and Chicago Car Guy 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 summaries.
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending August 3, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* July 2019 new vehicle sales were relatively the same as a year ago. Gainers include Mercedes, Subaru and Hyundai. Nissan was down. Toyota and Honda were flat. GM, Ford and FCA no longer report monthly sales, but analysts predicted they were up a bit. Forecasts show this year ending at 16.8 million total. Autotrader.com is seeing some resurgence in shopping for cars, particularly compacts like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda3. That suggests some consumers are looking for affordability and finding it in small cars, a market largely abandoned by Detroitâ€™s automakers. Transaction prices for new vehicles continued to rise in July. According to Kelley Blue Book estimates, average transaction price for a new vehicle in the U.S. was $37,169, which is down from last month but up 3.5% from year-ago levels.
* The AIADA reported that if you haven't shopped for a new car lately, you might balk at an item near the bottom of the window sticker: the destination charge. Once a digestible fee of around $500, charges have ballooned in recent years, according to USA Today. Destination charges on the top three best-selling cars through May 2019 â€“ the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-Series, and Ram pickup â€“ are more than $1,500 apiece. Consider the 10 best-selling cars each year from 2013 through 2019, by Automotive Newsâ€™ tally. Sales-weighted destination charges averaged $899 for the group in 2013, but theyâ€™re up to $1,289 today. Over six years, thatâ€™s up nearly 45%.
* The list of NACTOY 2020 candidates for North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year has been released. The list is comprised of 19 cars, 22 SUVs and crossovers, and 5 pickups. In spite of the 2020 NAIAS Detroit auto show moving its date and now taking place in June, the NACTOY jurors have decided to announce the winners at the traditional January timeframe, on January 13, 2020, at Cobo Center in Detroit.
* Ever since the VW Dieselgate fiasco, municipalities in Europe have been pushing to get diesel cars out of inner cities. Come 2024, a diesel car wonâ€™t get you around Paris or Madrid as the capitals ban all passenger vehicles running on the fuel.Â A few years later, both gasoline and diesel powered cars in and around Barcelona, London and Rome will lose access. All told, some 24 European cities accounting for 62 million people are banning diesels over the next decade, including 13 cities that will strike off all combustion cars in a bid to stop failing emissions limits. In the U.S., Seattle plans to ban sales of new combustion cars by 2030. California introduced draft legislation in late 2018 to scratch sales of new fossil-fuel burning vehicles by 2040 statewide.Â
* And this reported by our friends at The Detroit Bureau. Rupert Stadler, the former CEO of Audi, has become the latest executive to be charged for his alleged role in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Stadler and three other defendants will face charges that include fraud, false certification and criminal advertising practices, according to German authorities. In April, prosecutors in the city of Braunschweig charged former Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn with fraud for his role in attempting to rig diesel emissions tests. So far, more than a dozen people have been indicted in the United States and Germany in connection with the scandal that was first revealed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015. VW has also spent about 30 billion euros, or more than $30 billion, in fines, settlements, vehicle buybacks and repair costs.
* Joe White writing for Reuters reports the USMCA trade agreement that is supposed to replace the politically out of fashion North American Free Trade agreement is a long way from a done deal. Democrats in Congress are telling the Trump administration they want revisions to the deal before they vote on whether to approve it. Congress could act on the agreement when lawmakers come back from summer vacation in September. Or not. For automakers, uncertainty over North American free trade joins tensions with China and the potential disruptions of a disorderly Brexit to create one big headache.
* The AIADA reported that Volkswagen will scale back its industry-best 6-year/72,000-mile bumper- to-bumper warranty program to 4 years/50,000 miles, but throw in two years of factory-covered maintenance beginning with its 2020 model-year vehicles.
* More than 20 automotive writers were recognized for outstanding journalism at an Automotive Heritage Awards ceremony during the recent Concours d'Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan.Â Sponsored by Kiekert AG, the annual journalism awards program recognizes work in a variety of automotive heritage categories, including best book, best personality profile and best motorsports article. Best-in-category award winners included Graham Kozak for "The Man and His Cars," a profile of Ralph Lauren in AutoWeek; Karl Ludvigsen for his two-volume book "Reid Railton: Man and Speed"; Lyn Woodward for an article about the women-only Rebelle Rallye on TheDrive.com, and Gary Horstkorta, for a motorsports story published on the Mercedes-Benz of America website.
* As reported by Automotive News, a new J.D. Power/SurveyMonkey study suggests the industry has its work cut out for it in terms of consumer confidence. The first J.D. Power Mobility Confidence Index Study found consumers have a low level of comfort about the future of self-driving vehicles, posting a confidence index of 36 on a 100-point scale, and middling confidence in battery-electric vehicles, with an index of 55. Consumer confidence was lowest when it came to comfort riding in self-driving vehicles, scoring 34, and comfort being on the road with others using self-driving vehicles, scoring 35. Â two-thirds of consumers have no experience with EVs, and only 25 percent say they are likely to lease or buy one, J.D. Power said.
* Colorado and major automakers said they have reached a deal on the state's plan to adopt California's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) requirements after earlier talks had ended without a deal. The state, which plans to join the California program starting in the 2023 model year, has agreed to allow automakers to earn credits for selling electric vehicles in the two model years prior and use other transitional credits available in other states.
* Tesla is facing a new lawsuit over Autopilot. The family of a man killed after a Tesla he was operating on Autopilot slammed into a truck has sued the electric car maker. The victim, Florida resident Jeremy Banner, had switched on Autopilot about 10 seconds before a truck crossed his Model 3's path.
* Legendary drag-racer Don Garlits set two new speed records in an electric dragster in the quarter mile, one for a time of 7.235 seconds, and the other for a trap speed of 189.04 mph at the end of the quarter mile, Hot Rod Magazine reports.Â While those results, on two subsequent runs at Palm Beach International Raceway, each set records, the team missed their ultimate goal of hitting 200 mph in the quarter mile after the car broke an axle in a third attempt.Â
* Two more cars have been selected for inclusion on the National Historic Vehicle Register. From September 12-19, the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray formerly owned by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean will be displayed between the National Gallery of Art and the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. From September 20-26, the HVAâ€™s glass display case will contain the 1966 Volkswagen Deluxe microbus formerly owned and used during the Civil Rights Movement by Esau and Janie B. Jenkins. The Historic Vehicle Register was established in 2013 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Interior to permanently archive significant historic vehicles within the Library of Congress. So far, 26 vehicles have been selected and documented.Â
*Louisville area residents may have noticed more antique, hot rod and just plain fancy cars on Louisville’s roadways this week. That’s because the 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals is taking place at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, August 1, through the 4th.