Nutson's Automotive News Review Week Ending February 7, 2020
2020 Chicago Auto Show; AWD Pacifica Revealed; Super Bowl Auto Commercials; January US Sales Scoreboard; UK EV Madness; 2020 Corvette Stingray On KY Assembly Line; Virus Halts Asia Auto Production; US DOJ Halts Auto Maker Investigations; World Car Of The Year Finalists; Autonomous Vehicle Going Into Real World Service; Audi Recall; NASCAR Awards, Motorsports Time
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending February 7, 2020; Important or pithy automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* The 2020 Chicago Auto Show, the first big, national auto show of 2020 and the new decade, held media previews this week. At the opening media day Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast before 400 media and guests the Kia Telluride was named the 2020 MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year and the Lincoln Aviator the 2020 MAMA Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year. The Automotive Hall of Fame located in Dearborn, Michigan announced its 2020 inductees, an announcement that was previously made at the Detroit auto show which has move to a June date.
* Also at the Chicago show we saw the global introduction of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, the reveal of the $750,000 Ford GT Liquid Carbon, the refreshed 2021 Chevrolet Blazer, the first Desert rated Jeep Wrangler, the refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and more.
* The 2020 Super Bowl LIV was chock full of auto ads from Hyundai, Porsche, Jeep, Kia, GMC, Audi, Toyota and Genesis. Bill Murray's celebrity appearance recreating his 1993 movie Groundhog Day with him stealing the groundhog in a Jeep Gladiator truck was probably the best car ad. Hyundai's "Smaaht Paahk" Boston accent spot got lots of laughs. We hope your Super Bowl team won. BTW, the Kansas City Chiefs are from Missouri.
* January sales reports are in from those that still report monthly sales. Kia, Hyundai, Honda and Subaru are up. Honda and Acura were down overall, but Acura cars were up and Honda Trucks/SUVs were up, GM, Ford, FCA, VW, Audi and Porsche now report sales on a quarterly basis.
* The United Kingdom is planning to pull-ahead a ban on new gasoline and diesel engine vehicles to 2035 from 2040. Hybrids may also be in the mix. England is trying to accelerate the adoption of pure battery electric vehicles which, even thought sales doubled last year, now make up 1.6% of new cars sales. France plans to stop gas and diesel by 2040 and Norway, one of the early adopters of EVs, has a goal of 2025. Hybrids will still be allowed....with the thought that in-city operation is electric.
* At last. GM finally has the new 2020 Corvette Stingray rolling off the assembly line at its plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Named the 2020 North American Car of the Year, buyers have been waiting for the C8 for longer than expected. This due to the UAW strike against GM. The company says initial vehicle shipments will start later in February or early March. On note, to be a NACTOY candidate vehicles are supposed to be on sale by December 31. GM got cut some slack.
* The coronavirus outbreak in China is impacting the auto industry. Hyundai halted production in South Korea due to parts shortages. In China, Hyundai, Tesla, Ford and Nissan have shut down. No North American auto plant has been impacted yet due to parts shortages. However, if the China shutdowns drag on they will be.
* The Justice Department dropped its antitrust probe of auto makers involved in the California emissions deal. The Agency had been investigating Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen’s pact with Democratic-led state. After examining the matter for several months, the department concluded that the auto maker didn’t engage in conduct that violated U.S. antitrust law, according to people familiar with the matter.
* The Top 10 finalists for the World Car of the Year 2020 are Hyundai Sonata, Kia Soul EV, Kia Telluride, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Mazda3, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Mercedes-Benz GLB, Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen T-Cross. The winner will be announced at the New York auto show in April.
* For the first time the NHTSA has approved a company's request to deploy a self-driving vehicle that doesn't meet federal safety standards that apply to cars and trucks driven by humans. Silicon Valley robotics company Nuro has been approve to run low-speed (under 25 mph) autonomous delivery vehicles that were designed so they can't carry humans. Nuro's vehicles won't have side view mirrors, windshield wipers, a steering wheel or a brake pedal. Nuro's R2 vehicles will be used to delivery groceries from Walmart in the Houston area.
* Audi is recalling 107,000 older models, some about twenty years old, due to defective Takata air bag inflators. Included are 2000 and 2001 TT Roadsters, 2000 TT coupe, 1998 A8, and 1998 through 2000 A6 and A4.
* In a ceremony at the Charlotte Convention Center, two champion drivers at NASCAR’s highest level; the owner who fielded cars for both of them; one of the hardest chargers in the history of the sport; and the crew chief/engine builder who guided that driver to victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 all took their places in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Ushered into the Hall were three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart, 2000 champion Bobby Labonte, five-time champion car owner Joe Gibbs, 19-time Cup winner and beloved broadcaster Buddy Baker and 19-time race-winning crew chief Waddell Wilson. The Class of 2020 brings to 55 the number of stock car racing drivers, owners, crew chiefs, mechanics, administrators, media, and track operators recognized since the Hall’s inaugural Class of 2010.
* And yes, the Superbowl is over. That means it's time for motorsports. The NHRA Winternationals are this weekend and the NASCAR Daytona 500 is February 16.