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Nutson's Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending December 21, 2019



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - December 22, 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.

LEARN MORE: Links to full versions of today's news nuggets along with the past 25 year's automotive news, articles, reviews and archived stories residing in The Auto Channel Automotive News Library can be found by just copying and then inserting the main headline into the News Library Search Box.

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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending DECEMBER 21, 2019; Important or Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.

* U.S. light-vehicle sales will fall 1.2 percent to 16.8 million next year as slower job growth, lower consumer spending and affordability weigh on demand, the National Automobile Dealers Association said in a forecast. LMC and J.D. Power also see 2020 U.S. light-vehicle demand falling to 16.8 million from a projected 17.1 million units in 2019. NADA expects light trucks will account for more than 70 percent of overall new-vehicle sales in 2019.

* Many media outlets report that the local content requirements of the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, the new NAFTA, will cost automakers $3 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report. USMCA (new NAFTA) requires that 75% of a vehicle's content come from within North America for the vehicle to qualify for tariff-free border crossings, up from 62.5% in the old NAFTA. A new requirement that 40% to 45% of a vehicle's content be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour will also add to tariff the CBO concluded. So car buying public, guess who ultimately will pick up the tab.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has signed a binding agreement to merge with French automaker Groupe PSA, the companies said. The transatlantic combination valued at roughly $50 billion would create the world's third-largest automaker based on $189 billion revenues in 2018 and fourth-largest based on the production of 8.7 million cars — putting it behind Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen and the Renault-Nissan alliance.

* Toyota executives said the company is focusing on launching autonomous driving technology in commercial vehicles, putting off for now development of self-driving passenger vehicles. It will be easier to apply self-driving technology in taxis and non-passenger vehicles, said James Kuffner, chief of Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development. We hate to say "I told your so," but the handwriting was on the wall that self-driving private passenger cars was a big dream.

* Meanwhile, NHTSA said it is now investigating 12 crashes involving Teslas operating on Autopilot. The disclosure came as the agency said it would look into why a Model 3 rear ended a police car in Connecticut on Dec. 7.Â

* The U.S. Attorney leading the corruption probe of the United Auto Workers warned the union the "deadline is now" to come forward with all the information that UAW officials have about financial and other misconduct. Matthew Schneider, U.S. attorney for Eastern Michigan, said the federal investigation is widening as individuals have come forward with tips. A federal takeover of the UAW remains an option, Schneider said, though he indicated the government's investigations of individual UAW leaders will take priority. Adding fuel to the fire is an investigation as to whether a fire at the UAW headquarters may have even arson, pun intended.

* Joe White reporting for Reuters writes that a year end tax and spending deal going through Congress does not include expansion of the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit, lawmakers said. Tesla and General Motors have been lobbying members of Congress to lift caps that limit the full $7,500 subsidy to the first 200,000 electric vehicles a manufacturer sells, and phases the credit to zero thereafter. The tax break on Teslas expires on Dec. 31. Subsidies for GM EVs end in March - long before GM is ready to roll out its promised wave of next-generation, post-Bolt EVs. The White House opposed expanding the EV credit, and Congress shifted money to aviation safety in response to the fatal crashes of the Boeing 737 Max.

* The Hagerty Group, insurer of collector cars, has shared their list of the cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles they believe will gain the most value over the next year. Hagerty says the list is worth compiling to highlight growing trends and changing tastes among fellow car faithful. Here's the link to this year's list. HERE

* As the 2010s draw to a close in just a few days, CARFAX decided to see which cars, trucks and SUVs got the most love from their owners. Atml">right here the top of their list Subaru and Toyota dominate, taking eight spots in their Top 10 list of the vehicles with the longest ownership from model years 2010 through 2019. Read more on what they have to say HERE

* Electrify America, a leader in ultra-fast charging for electric vehicles (EV), announced that it is teaming up with Bank of America to install electric vehicle charging stations at select financial center locations across the U.S. This marks the first time Electrify America will install EV charging stations at a bank location. Approximately 40 EV charging stations with a total of 140 EV chargers will be available for use by the end of 2020 at select Bank of America financial center locations in California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, and Massachusetts. I'm not sure how this may help with the growing trend to on-line banking.

* The sports-broadcasting industry came together for the 13th-annual Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the New York Hilton Midtown. Industry legends from both in front of and behind the camera were inducted during a memorable, emotional evening hosted by Mary Carillo, a Hall of Famer herself. This year’s ceremony honored 10 sports-broadcasting greats including auto-racing pioneer Roger Penske. With the possible exception of pro and collegiate football, the biggest beneficiary of television and advertising has been the racing industry, and probably no race-car executive did more to make that happen than Roger Penske.  Team Penske made its debut in 1966 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and Roger Penske’s teams have won more than 500 races, including 18 victories at the Indianapolis 500 and 37 national championships.

* Mercedes-Benz USA unit agreed to pay a $20 million civil fine to settle an investigation of its handling of certain recalls in the U.S. market. Regulators had faulted Mercedes-Benz for not launching two recalls in a timely way and failing to properly notify customers.

* Uber is not the only one losing a lot of money on ride Share Now, the vehicle "rent by the minute" business owned by Daimler and BMW said it will quit the North American market and cut back operations in Europe. The retreat is the latest sign that automakers are running out of patience with money-losing "mobility" ventures as bills pile up for electric and connected vehicle technology that will be essential for survival.

* At the recent 2019 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis some details on the Next-Gen 2021 NASCAR Cup Car leaked. Wheels will be 18-inches wide, up from 15-inches. NASCAR will be moving from a solid-axle rear suspension to an independent rear suspension for the first time in history. The traditional H-pattern gear shifter is gone, replaced instead by a tap shifter used for a sequential gearbox most likely packaged as a transaxle in the back of the car. Â Coilover-type dampers will most likely be used front and rear.

* E.J. “Bill�?? Simpson, a pioneer in motorsports safety, a self-made millionaire and a stubborn character that answered to no-one died Monday after suffering a massive stroke last Friday. Simpson did a little bit of everything during his 79 years. He made safety part of the racing vernacular, but lived his life on the edge. He started in drag racing and spread his knowledge to IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula 1. He pissed people off hourly, yet shared a drink with them before the sun went down.

* NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson has died at age 88. Johnson, a bootlegger turned racer, was immortalized in the "Last American Hero." A member of the inaugural Hall of Fame class inducted in 2010, Johnson won 50 races as a driver and 132 races and six championships as a car owner in NASCAR's Cup Series.