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Nutson's Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending October 5, 2019


News Nuggets: UAW strike against GM at 3 Weeks; Detroit-3 automakers report 3rd QTR sales; FCA to pay $40 mill to settle SEC charges; VW rebuffs German on rigged diesel cars; Shanghai to dump up to 120,000 older stinky diesel trucks; 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray features new features; WSJ reports new safety features may not work; Report that Denmark has proposed a ban on diesel- and gas-powered cars by 2040; Inaugural Mille Miglia Green event open only to electric and hybrid vehicles; Exotic cars seized in a money laundering probe of Equatorial Guinea official; NASCAR playoffs transition from the Round of 16 to the Round of 12

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Larry Nutson
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - October 5, 2019; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Executive Producer and Chicago Car Guy with help from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy news summaries.

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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending October 5, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.

* Today is day 21 of the UAW strike against General Motors. Late Friday afternoon the UAW and GM said they have made "good progress" on key issues, which was said by lead negotiators in letters to members and GM employees. Talks resumed on Saturday. The issue of temporary workers being paid significantly less than permanent workers and lacking the benefits has been a huge obstacle. Health care coverage is also a big sticking point. It seems both sides may be close to settling perhaps in this upcoming week.

* The Detroit-3 automakers reported their third quarter sales. GM was up 6.3%, FCA sales were strong and holding steady and Ford was down 4.9%. Toyota, Nissan and Honda reported sales declines in the double-digit range. VW was up and Subaru down, breaking a year long string of increases. Overall industry sales fell 1.4% with the industry annual pace hanging at 17 million. Ram brand stayed in second place among major truck brands, beating GM's Chevrolet Silverado by about 6,000 vehicles for the quarter.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will pay $40 million to settle charges that it misled investors and falsely reported the number of new vehicles sold each month. The SEC said it found antifraud violations from false reports of a 75-month "streak" of uninterrupted monthly year-over-year sales growth between 2012 and 2016. Fiat Chrysler inflated new-vehicle sales by paying dealers to report false vehicles sales and maintained a database of actual sales that had gone unreported during months when the automaker had experienced growth, according to reports.

* Volkswagen rebuffed a call from a German judge to settle a consumer class action suit demanding compensation for rigged diesel cars. The company said lawyers for 470,000 VW diesel owners hadn't made a case. VW's position, in summary, is that the cars are fine. VW is battling to put Dieselgate and its costs in the rearview mirror, but the case keeps coming back. CEO Herbert Diess was charged last week by German prosecutors with market manipulation in connection with the company's handling of the disclosure of the Dieselgate mess in 2015.

* The City of Shanghai has a plan to take as many as 120,000 older diesel trucks off the road by 2022. The older trucks spew 30% of the nitrogen oxides and 46% of the diesel soot that fouls Shanghai's air. The government plans to offer subsidies for the purchases of newer, cleaner vehicles - a potential bonanza for commercial truck makers. Read between the lines: electric trucks are coming.

* The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the mid-engine C8, has another first. It will be the first Corvette with a two-piece retractable hardtop convertible roof. The top can be lowered or raised at speeds up to 30 mph. Chevrolet unveiled the convertible at Cape Canaveral, Florida noting that it has the same storage capacity as the coupe, even with the top down. The power top will set your back an additional $7,500.

* The Wall Street Journal reports, new safety features being rolled out by auto makers to keep drivers from hitting pedestrians don't work at times in some of the most dangerous situations and frequently fail at night, according to a new study by AAA. Testing performed by the association found that pedestrian-detection technology offered in four different models performed inconsistently and didn't activate properly after dark, when many roadway deaths occur. The uneven performance highlights the challenges the auto industry faces as it looks to automate more of the car's driving functions and roll out new crash-avoidance technologies that rely on sensors and software to detect road hazards.

* Our friends at the Detroit Bureau report that Denmark has proposed a ban on diesel- and gas-powered cars within the European Union by 2040. The proposal, made during a meeting the union's environmental ministers in Luxembourg, has the support of 10 other countries. Several European cities have been forcing gas- and diesel-powered vehicles out of city centers, such as Paris and London. The EU wants to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 with the ultimate goal to reduce them to zero by 2050 to help stop global warming. Of note, a group of internal combustion engine researchers have the goal of a zero-emission gasoline engine by 2050. What then?

* Last weekend the inaugural Mille Miglia Green took place. It's a new event based on the famed long-distance race in Italy, but this time open only to electric and hybrid vehicles. Volkswagen has entered its e-up!, an electric vehicle introduced at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, and a pair of electric-powered vintage Beetles, the "Beetles." The event began in Brescia and traveled to Mailand and Lainate. The route each day covered as much as 180 kilometers. VW noted that the distance is well within the 260-kilometer range of its new e-up! The Mille Miglia Green includes seven categories: Pure electrics, including f uel cell vehicles and EVs), hybrids (including full and mild, etc.) and classic cars produced before 1990, either electric or retrofitted with electric-drive systems.

* A collection of exotic cars seized in a money laundering probe of the vice president of Equatorial Guinea was auctioned off over the weekend in Geneva for $27 million. The highest price car was a special edition Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, one of only nine built to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. Proceeds will fund social programs in the west African nation.

* NASCAR playoffs transition from the Round of 16 to the Round of 12 with today's race at Dover International Speedway in Delaware. Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were knocked out last week in Charlotte.