Nutsons Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending Auigust 24, 2019
The Week's Auto News Nuggets: Too Many Autonomous Crashes; Ferrari's New Models; Recharge At Shell Stations In Singapore; Bolt Extends Range; California CAFE Scam; Audi 600 HP Avant Wagon Coming; Car Brands In Popular Music; Mergers?; Volkswagen Recall. Pebble Beach 2019; Our Friend Spy Photog Jim Dunne Passes, RIP Jim
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending August 24, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* From Automotive News we read that an exec warns of too much public road AV testing. Robbie Miller says auto and tech companies testing autonomous vehicles are driving too many miles on public roads, causing crashes at rates higher than human drivers and endangering motorists and pedestrians. His warnings come at a critical time. Next month, Congress is expected to push for legislation that paves the way for widespread deployment of self-driving vehicles. Yet there's no government or industry consensus on safety standards.
* Joe White writing for Reuters reports that Ferrari plans to offer more cars that affluent enthusiasts could drive every day - modern reincarnations of the admired GT cars of the 1960s - but it has no aspirations to match the sales volumes rival Porsche has achieved with its move into SUVs. That was the message Ferrari Chairman John Elkann delivered to a group of car enthusiasts gathered at Pebble Beach over the weekend. Porsche now sells more than 250,000 vehicles a year under its brand, most of them luxury sport utilities. Elkann hinted that a new Ferrari GT model could be shown in November. Ferrari has said it also has a product coming soon for people who want an SUV. Ferrari delivered 9,251 vehicles in 2018, and Elkann said Ferrari will stick to a strategy of carefully managed scarcity.
* Shell launched electric vehicle recharging at 10 gas stations in Singapore, with chargers that can top up a battery to 80% capacity within 30 minutes. Shell and other oil companies are betting they can profit even as vehicles migrate away from internal combustion by expanding the definition of "refueling" to include electrons, not just hydrocarbons. While pure EV recharging companies hunt for real estate and capital, oil companies are well endowed with both.
* Every little bit counts. The Chevrolet Bolt EV will now take customers even farther. Starting with model year 2020, the Bolt EV will offer an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range on a full charge, a 21-mile increase over previous model years.
* Mercedes-Benz and at least one other major automaker (either Toyota, Fiat Chrysler or GM) are preparing to join four others (Honda, Ford, VW and BMW) that struck a deal with California last month to reduce automobile emissions, according to published reports. The Trump administration wants to all but eliminate Obama-era regulations designed to reduce vehicle emissions that cause global warming. That proposal could be rendered irrelevant if enough automakers agree to stick with the current, stricter standards before the rollback can be put into effect. The Obama-era rules, which require automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new vehicles by 2025, remain the single largest U.S. policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Car companies fear that the proposed changes could mean building two separate vehicle lineups.
* And as some might anticipate, President Donald Trump stepped up a series of attacks on automakers for not backing his administration's plan to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency rules, singling out Ford Motor Co. in particular for backing a deal with California for stricter fuel economy standards. Trump tweeted that the founders of Ford and GM "are 'rolling over' at the weakness of current car company executives" over the fuel rules, adding: "Crazy!"
* Save the long roofs! In this world of new SUV after new SUV, Audi is thinking a bit retro and very sporty. Audi of America announced the all-new high-performance wagon, the RS 6 Avant, is coming to the U.S. market. With around 590-HP coming from its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, sprints from 0-100 km/h (62.1 mph) will be in 3.6 seconds. Expect to see it in 2020.
* According to our friends at ClassicCars.com there's an answer to the question "What car brand is mentioned in the most music lyrics?" LyricFind, a company that works with more than 5,000 music publishers and specializes in licensed lyrics, has found that Mercedes or Benz is the most-mentioned car brand, included in 4,952 lyrics. Cadillac is second with 2,022 mentions, followed by Bentley (1,852), Chevrolet/Chevy (1,807), Ferrari/Rari (1,673) and then comes Porsche (1,455), just ahead of Lamborghini/Lambo (1,451). What happened to "Hey little Cobra" or "Little GTO?"
* This week VW denied denied a report that it is interested in taking a stake in Tesla. This after has set up a partnership with Ford. And a report out of Italy that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault were holding talks again about a possible merger drove up stock prices for both companies.
* Volkswagen is expanding a recall from 2018 to prevent drivers from removing the ignition key if their vehicles are not in park. A total of 679,027 cars are affected in the U.S, including the 2011–2018 Jetta, 2012–2019 Beetle, 2015–2019 GTI, 2015–2016 and 2018–2019 Golf, and 2017–2019 Golf SportWagen. Only models with automatic transmission, a manual-crank hand brake, and a flip-out metal ignition key—remember, the ones you used to stick in the steering column?—have the problem.
* The Best of Show honors at Pebble Beach 2019 went to a 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting Sports Tourer owned by Michael Kadoorie, who is known back in Hong Kong as the Honorable Sir Kadoorie, billionaire chairman of electrical power provider CLP Group and head of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (aka Peninsula Hotels) group. Kadoorie’s Bentley was part of the Bentley Centennial 8 Litre class at Pebble Beach, where Bentley’s 100th anniversary was celebrated with six classes showcasing the historic British vehicles.
* A personal friend to many an automotive journalist, legendary automotive spy photographer and journalist Jim Dunne has died. Jim was 88 years of age. Rightfully called the father of automotive spy photography Dunne made a business out of his craft. Here's a bit more about Jim from our friends at Autoweek. https://autoweek.com/article/car-news/jim-dunne-father-automotive-spy-photography-1932-2019