Nutson's Automotive News Digest - Week Ending October 19, 2019
Crain Pulls Plug On Iconic Autoweek Magazine (Dear Keith Yes We Are Still Here!); GM Strike Continues; Harley Electric Bike Problems; Korean Batter Maker Smiling; FCA Fined $79 Million; Ford Doubles Down On Electric; SEMA Sues; F1 Report; IMSA Gets New President
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending October 19, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* Despite reaching a tentative agreement, United Auto Workers members employed by GM will stay on strike for another week after local union leaders voted to keep picket lines going until a new contract is ratified. The UAW’s month-long strike against GM is the longest since 1970. The proposed contract would give 3% base-wage increases in the second and fourth years of the contract and would pay 4% lump-sum bonuses in the first and third years, according to a union contract summary. A ratification bonus of $11,000 -- which the UAW called a "record" amount -- would be paid to permanent employees, while temporary workers who have worked at least 90 days would receive a bonus of $4,500 for ratification. The agreement also confirms the wind-down of three plants for closure. Those plants include Lordstown Assembly in northeast Ohio, Baltimore Operations in Maryland and Warren Transmission in southeast Michigan. Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly would continue to operate, building a new electric truck.
* Harley-Davidson stopped building its first-ever battery-electric motorcycle, LiveWire, due to a production problem. Harley discovered a “non-standard condition” with LiveWire, that requires additional testing and analysis. LiveWire started arriving at dealer showrooms earlier this month. The $29,799 motorcycle is designed to attract new younger buyers to the brand. Early sales have missed internal targets. No date was given for the resumption of production.
* South Korean battery maker LG Chem issued a bullish forecast that electric vehicles could account for 15% of new vehicles by 2024, up five fold from today's levels. Battery costs could fall to $100 per kilowatt-hour by 2025, a top LG, executive said.
* Fiat Chrysler paid $79 million in fines to the U.S. government for falling short of 2017 model year domestic passenger car fleet fuel efficiency standards. Of 18 major automakers in the U.S. market, 13 fell short of the government's CO2/fuel economy standards for MY 2017.
* From Automotive News. Ford said buyers of its forthcoming "Mustang inspired" electric vehicle and electric pickup will be able to recharge at 12,000 stations, including those operated by Volkswagen's Electrify America recharging subsidiary. Ford has also hooked up with Amazon to offer installation of home recharging hardware. Ford EV customers can access charging using the FordPass app. Volkswagen and Ford have a broader alliance to share EV technology.
* Auto enthusiasts' jaws dropped with the announcement that the bi-weekly Autoweek print magazine will cease to be published by Crain's and that Hearst Magazines will operate Autoweek under license agreement. Under the agreement, Hearst Autos will produce the digital publication on Autoweek.com, and the website will be hosted on Hearst's proprietary content platform MediaOS. Good night to a legendary print publication in the auto enthusiast world. (a href="https://autoweek.com/subscribe"> Despite Discontinuing Publication They Are Still Selling Subscriptions - Huh?
* The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) says it has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation for failing to implement a Congressional mandate for replica vehicle regulations. Passed by Congress as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015 was a provision that would allow low-volume automakers to produce as many as 325 replica cars on an annual basis. Such cars would be new versions of vehicles last manufactured at least 25 years earlier. Congress gave the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration until December 4, 2016, to issue any necessary regulations to implement such a law.
* In Formula 1 news, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport won the FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship for the sixth time in a row. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are the only two drivers who can still win the Drivers’ Championship, securing the sixth consecutive Drivers’ Title for the team as well – making Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport the first team in Formula One history to win both titles six times in a row. Valtteri claimed his sixth victory in Formula One, his third of the 2019 season and first at the Japanese Grand Prix.
* The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced that John Doonan has been named the next president of the sanctioning body effective January 1, 2020 with his first day on the job scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21. Doonan was previously the director of motorsports for Mazda North America Operations where he developed the overall strategy and managed Mazda’s motorsports programs in North America. Doonan, who joined Mazda in 2003 as the regional advertising manager in the Midwest region and was promoted to the director of motorsports position in 2011, succeeds Scott Atherton, who last month announced his retirement as IMSA president at the end of the year.