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Nutson's Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending December 28, 2019


America's Love Affair With Car Over?; Replicars OK'd; Ford Recall; GM Recall; 36 Corvette Givaway; IMSA On Track; Happy New Year


AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - December 29, 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 DECEMBER 28, 2019; Important or pithy automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.

* The end of December is usually a slow news week with all the holiday celebrations, anticipation for the new year plus, most all the global automaker's offices closed. We do have a few bits to share. Thanks for visiting with us each Sunday.

* A Wall Street Journal story says around the country, the American love affair with driving is cooling in ways that are changing how cities look and feel. Over the past three years, the average number of miles driven per person has hovered around 9,800 miles a year, roughly 2% fewer than at the 2004 peak. Driving is down in states with urban centers like California and New York and in some rural states such as Wyoming and Vermont. Among the reasons for the national decline are migration to dense urban areas; young adults’ preference to live close to their jobs or to use alternate modes of transportation; more online working, shopping and streaming; and a growing population of retirees who don’t commute to jobs anymore.

* Two months after SEMA sued the U.S. Department of Transportation for failing to issue the regulations required to implement the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done exactly that. The law, which allows production of replica vehicles, has been in limbo since the deadline for the NHTSA to issue the regulations passed on December 4th, 2016. SEMA decided that three years was long enough to wait, and it filed suit in October 2019. According to SEMA, the final regulations will allow low-volume automakers to sell up to 325 cars each year that resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have issued guidelines and regulations covering the engine packages to be installed in these replica vehicles. NHTSA is providing 30 days for public comments on its proposed rules

* Ford is recalling more than 600,000 midsize sedans in the U.S. to fix a problem with the brakes that can increase stopping distance and possibly cause a crash. The recall covers certain 2006 through 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ cars.

* GM is recalling more than 814,000 pickup trucks and cars in the U.S. to fix problems with electronic brake controls and battery cables. The first recall for the brakes covers nearly 464,000 Cadillac CT6 sedans and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks from 2019. The second recall for the battery cable covers over 350,000 2019 and 2020 Silverado and Sierra 1500 pickups.

* Thirty-six Corvettes, hidden for years in a garage, will be given away. The set of Corvettes, one from each production year between 1953 and 1989, will be part of a sweepstakes drawing next year. For more than 25 years, they have languished in one New York City parking garage or another. In 2020, they will be given away in a contest. It will be the second time they have served as contest prizes, but this time, the collection will be broken up. There will be 36 winners, not just one. The current owners, the Heller and Spindler families, did not win that first contest, a VH1 promotion in 1989. They bought the cars from the artist Peter Max, the psychedelic art phenomenon who had put eye-popping colors on postage stamps, pianos, posters and even a Boeing 777. He had not entered the VH1 contest, either. He bought the Corvettes from the actual winner, who did not even have a garage. This story from the NY Times.

* As soon as the holidays are over, the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will get under way with the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona test session on the weekend of Jan. 3-5. The event includes three days of open testing for both the WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, while the IMSA Prototype Challenge kicks off its six-race season with a three-hour battle on Saturday, Jan. 4.

* We wish all our readers and your family and friends a very Happy New Year. Here we go into a new decade. It's the roaring 20s starting off with perfect 20:20 vision! Happy 2020!