Nutson's Automotive News Nuggets - Week Ending January 18, 2020
Car and Truck of the Year revealed; North American Trade Deal Ratified; Toyota Invests In Indiana Factory; Audi, BMW, MB Out Of NY Auto Show; Home Builders Group Takes Sides In Future Fuel Codes; Street Racing In New Corvette; VW Dieselgate Continues; Cars.Com Awards; Detroit Auto Show Super Car Event; New Jersey Forces EV On Citizens; Performance Enlancing Aftermarket Parts An EPA No-no; Nissan Toyota Recalls; 40 Year Old Bike Rider Paulo Concalves Dies At Dakar Race, RIP
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending JANUARY 18, 2010; Important or pithy automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year of the Year winners were announced in Detroit. NACTOY Car winner is the Chevrolet Corvette, Truck winner is Jeep Gladiator, and Utility winner is the Kia Telluride. Since the NAIAS-Detroit auto show has moved to June for 2020, a stand-alone announcement was made at the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall) in partnership with the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and the North American International Auto Show. The winners were chosen by 50 jurors from nine finalists — the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Supra, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Lincoln Aviator, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator and Ram Heavy Duty.
* The new U.S. Canada Mexico Agreement on trade, formerly NAFTA, passed the U.S. Senate and is on its way to President Trump. Canada has yet to ratify the deal but is expected to do so. The main takeaway for the auto industry is more of a vehicle will need to be made in North America at U.S.-level wages to qualify for tariff-free border crossings. Most automakers are pleased with the passing because it now provides stability in knowing what they need to do.
* Toyota Motor Corp. continues to invest money in its North American plants to boost production of SUVs and trucks. The Japanese automaker said it has spent $700 million and hired 150 new workers at its plant in Princeton, Indiana, mostly to increase production of its Highlander sport utility vehicle. The Indiana plant employs out 7,000 people. A total of $1.3 billon has been invested recently in the plant that can produce up to 420,000 vehicles a year.
* Audi has joined German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in dropping out of the New York Auto Show. Audi of America confirmed its absence, stating that it is "important to review the way we bring the Audi experience to life and introduce our new products and innovations to media and customers." Of note, Audi will be at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show next month.
* The International Code Council (ICC) approved changes to building standards that preview a world in which every home has at least one electric car. The building standards organization, which sets voluntary guidelines for new homes, voted to approve a new provision that, functionally, will make all new homes built in the US “EV-ready.” The new voluntary guidelines call for installing panels, outlets, and conduits capable of charging at least one full-size EV in a single-family garage overnight. Multi-family buildings will need two spots, along with more that can be easily retrofitted, a standard known as “EV capable.” But the ICC cites research indicating the US will need 9.6 million new electric vehicle charging ports by 2030. Almost 80% of those will be in single and multi-family residential buildings.
* Two GM employees were jailed after they were caught racing in two Chevrolet C8 Corvettes. According to Automobile, two GM employees stepped a bit too far into the throttle in respective C8 Corvettes in Bowling Green, Kentucky, prompting State Police to pull them over for multiple infractions. They're currently facing charges of speeding (more than 26 mph above the posted 45 mph speed limit), reckless driving, and racing motor vehicles on a public road. No exact speed was given, but exceeding the speed limit by 26 miles per hour in Kentucky gets you a court hearing and possible suspension.
* From Automotive News Europe: German prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges against six Volkswagen employees for their role in the automaker's emissions-cheating scandal. Prosecutors in Brunswick, Germany, accused the unnamed employees of fraud and false advertising as well as tax evasion, since VW cars equipped with illegal emissions-cheating software should not have received road worthiness certification and tax breaks. The employees worked at the automaker between 2006 and 2015 and were below management board level, prosecutor Klaus Ziehe said, adding it was unclear whether they are still employed at the automaker. Volkswagen declined to comment.
* Cars.com has named its 2020 Luxury car of the Year and it's a pickup. Yes! The winner is the 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn/Limited. In announcing the award Cars.com wrote, "Awards belong to products that raise the bar, and whenever we asked ourselves which luxury vehicles had wowed us in the past year, discussions led to the new Ram 1500 in its Laramie Longhorn and Limited trim levels." So, $50,000 or $60,000 for a truck and it's all yours.
* The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) announced the addition of Motor Bella Presented by PNC Bank – a European supercar street festival - to the show’s 2020 line-up of June events in Detroit. Motor Bella will be a celebration of Italian and British car culture during the weekend leading up to Press Previews. During the four-day festival, exotic car club members from dozens of clubs along with local supercar enthusiasts will experience some of the world’s finest supercars alongside authentic food and culture from the region. The event will feature well over 100 Italian and British supercars representing 12 brands, such as Ferrari and Rolls Royce. The vehicles will be provided by a mixture of British and Italian auto brands, local dealers and car clubs.
* New Jersey's Senate and Assembly passed a bill calling for 2 million plug-in electric vehicles by 2035. That’s nearly 20 times the number in the state today. It would mean about 70% of all light-duty vehicles in New Jersey would be electric, based on the number of automobiles on the road now. To do it, the legislation would offer consumers rebates of as much as $5,000.
* Hemmings reports that after finding dozens of aftermarket parts companies in violation of the Clean Air Act for selling emissions defeat devices last year, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will step up enforcement against such companies and clamp down on any aftermarket parts designed to bypass emissions controls, whether intended for on- or off-road use. The announcement came after the EPA reached its most recent settlement with an aftermarket parts seller, in which it found Punch It Performance and Tuning out of Florida to have sold more than 20,000 defeat devices. The owners of Punch It Performance and Tuning, who dissolved the company sometime after the EPA’s investigation began in July 2015, were ordered to pay a civil penalty of $850,000. SEMA warns that selling any aftermarket parts with the disclaimers “for off-road use only” or “for racing use only” is “essentially meaningless… if the part can be installed on a highway vehicle.”
* Nissan is recalling nearly 308,000 vehicles in the U.S. to replace dangerous Takata air bag inflators that can explode and hurl shrapnel. The Nissan front passenger inflators are among 10 million from 14 different automakers that Takata is recalling. It's the last recall that the bankrupt Takata agreed to in a 2015 settlement with U.S. safety regulators. The Nissan recall covers certain 2001 through 2003 Maximas, 2002 through 2006 Sentras, 2002 through 2004 Pathfinders, and 2007 through 2011 Versas. Also included are 2001 through 2004 Infiniti I30 and I35s, 2002 through 2003 QX4s, 2003 through 2008 FX35 and FX45s and 2006 through 2010 M35 and M45s.
* Toyota is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles in the U.S. because the fuel pumps can fail and cause engines to stall. That can increase the risk of a crash. The recall covers certain 2018 and 2019 Lexus LS 500, LC 500, RC 350, RC 300, GS 350, IS 300, ES 350, LX 570, GX 460, and RX 350 models.
* Portuguese veteran motorcyclist Paulo Concalves has died in a crash at the Dakar Rally, officials confirmed. The incident occurred on stage seven of the race during a 339-mile route from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to Wadi Al Dawasir. A helicopter was sent to the scene where medics found Goncalves unconscious, having gone into cardiac arrest. He was airlifted to Layla Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 40-year-old had recovered from surgery on his spleen in order to make the rally.