Nutson's Auto News Digest Week Ending November 30, 2019
US New Car Sales Going Up; Hyundai Veloster N 2020 Road and Track Performance Car Of Year; Nagasaki Popemobile Toyota H2 Mirari; Uber Parked In London; Peugeot Merger On Track With Fiat Chrysler; Tesla Pickup Deposits; Tesla PU Vs Ford PU; Ford Ranger Recall; Fiat 500 Recall; Baja 1000 Results
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - December 1, 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 to digest news Nuggets.
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending November 30, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* U.S. auto sales are expected to rise about 4% in November from a year earlier, driven by strong discounts and higher consumer spending, industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said. They expect average incentive spending per unit to reach $4,538 in the month, up from $4,049 last year. The average new-vehicle retail price is expected to increase by $622 in November to $34,054. North American production is expected to decline nearly 4% to 16.3 million units in 2019 amid U.S.-China trade uncertainty. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said they expect total light-vehicle sales for the year to be about 17.1 million units, a decline of 1.4% from 2018.
* Here's a surprise! Road & Track’s 2020 performance car of the year is the Hyundai Veloster N. So, you don't need to spend big bucks for a mid-engine Corvette, Toyota GR Supra, McLaren 600LT, or a Porsche 911, or a Lamborghini Huracán EVO. The new definition of performance isn't what a car can do, but what it will do on a good road.
* Pope Francis rode in a carbon-free popemobile at his mass in Nagasaki, an appropriate choice in line with his environmental concerns. Francis used a Toyota hydrogen-powered Mirai, customised with a stand and handrails. He will use a similar model while in Tokyo.
* Uber was stripped of its London operating license on Monday for the second time in just over two years after the city's regulator said a "pattern of failures" on safety and security meant the company's taxi app was not fit and proper. A change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts, meaning they could pick up passengers as if they were the booked driver, which happened in at least 14,000 trips, Transport for London said. Other cities are taking a hard look at the business practices of ride-hailing services.
* Reuters reports that Peugeot is forging ahead to cement its merger with Fiat Chrysler by the end of the year, despite General Motors' sensational lawsuit accusing Fiat Chrysler of racketeering and bribery to win favors from the United Auto Workers union. FCA has denied GM's charges and countered that its Detroit rival is just trying to slow down a deal that would make FCA and PSA stronger contenders in the global auto market.
* Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla has received 250,000 reservations for the Cybertruck. Tesla shares bounced back after they slumped following mixed-to-harsh initial reviews for the design of the sci-fi inspired, stainless steel truck and the botched demo of the vehicle's "bullet-proof" glass. That appears to mean that 250,000 people put down $100 to reserve a place in line to get a Cybertruck once production starts in late 2021. How many of those reservations will turn into orders is a question. But, for now Tesla may have picked up a quick $25 million in cash.
* Musk is keeping his truck on the social media front burner, with help from Ford executive Sunny Madra who challenged Musk to an "apples to apples" tug of war between the Cybertruck and a comparably Ford F-150 pickup. Musk showed a video of a Cybertruck pulling an F-150 behind it as the Ford truck's wheels spun helplessly. Ford fans have said the video is misleading because the Ford pictured is a low-spec rear drive model that isn't a fair match for the Tesla prototype. Musk's reply to Madra's challenge: "Bring it on." Ford has taken flak for its own video of an electric F-150 pulling a 1 million pound train. Technology changes, but everybody loves a circus.
* Ford is recalling 78,264 of its 2019 Ranger pickup trucks because an electrical connector may be loose or not properly installed. As a result, the taillights may be inoperative or work intermittently, according to the automaker.
* More than 50,000 Fiat 500 hatchbacks from the 2012 and 2013 model years are being recalled because their automatic transmissions may not properly shift into Park, so the car could roll away and crash into another car or an object.
* The 51st SCORE Baja 1000 ran last weekend with popular action sports TV announcer/desert racer Cameron Steele officially awarded the overall 4-wheel vehicle and SCORE Trophy Truck race victory in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Steele finished the challenging 806.76-mile race in 16 hours, 24 minutes, 02 seconds in his No. 16 Monster Energy Desert Assassins Geiser Bros. built Ford Raptor with an average speed of 49.19 miles per hour. There were a total of 285 starters and 178 official finishers (62.46 percent) racing to Pro and Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, UTVs, motorcycles and quads. There were racers from 41 U.S. States, one U.S. Territory and 19 countries competing.