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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending February 22, 2020; Important or pithy automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* The annual NADA show, the National Automobile Dealers Association that is, ran this week in Las Vegas. Of note, total light-vehicle sales for 2020 are forecasted to finish near 16.6 million. With 16.5, 16.4 and 16.2 million forecasted for 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. Yes, 17 million a year is gone...and may never return.
* General Motors continues to be less of a global automotive giant. GM's Australian brand Holden is being dropped. GM will wind down design, engineering and sales operations in Australia and New Zealand, And, the Chevrolet brand is been pulled out of Thailand. GM is selling its manufacturing complex there to China’s Great Wall Motors.
* Automotive News reports that Ford plans a Bronco reveal in March. The unveiling of a smaller off-road crossover, called the Bronco Sport, will follow in April, likely at the New York auto show. Dealers at NADA were told that expectations are for total Bronco variant sales to reach 200,000 in 2021.
* Organizers of the Beijing auto show said the event will be delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak in China. The show was scheduled to be held April 21-30. New dates will be announced later, the organizer said in a statement. Since it started in 1990, the Beijing show has grown to be one of the world's largest automotive trade fairs. It's a key launchpad for new product for the world's biggest auto market. The Beijing show is held every two years and alternates with a similar event in Shanghai.
* From Reuters we hear that Singapore intends to ban internal combustion engines by 2040, joining a growing list of cities and nations calling for petrol-burning vehicles to ride into the sunset. Private equity investors will be recalculating the financial benefits of buying and consolidating doomed petrol-tech suppliers.
* The coronavirus continues to take its toll. VW's Shanghai JV delayed production restart to Feb. 24 as measures are put in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The operation had been scheduled to resume work Feb. 17. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stopped production temporarily at one of its European plants as it deals with a lack of parts from China. The shutdown is at the Kragujevac plant in Serbia, which produces the Fiat 500L. Jaguar Land Rover determined it only has enough Chinese-made parts to produce vehicles for two weeks. One report is the they were flying parts out of China in suitcases. Nissan procures about 800 parts from China and may be impacted soon. On the positive side, the coronavirus has cut energy demand and industrial output in China resulting in a reduction of about 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions..close to what Chile emits in a year.
*At a recent SAE Government/Industry Meeting in Washington, DC, it was presented that research on production-vehicle ADAS systems suggests the technology may indeed be reducing accidents – and so far, not encouraging driver inattentiveness. Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are designed to enhance safety and reduce driving stress. Level 2 automated-driving functionality essentially indicates that “support” features to control speed and braking as well as lane-keeping assist can be operating alone or jointly, but require the driver’s constant supervision and ability to re-assume control at any time.
* Toyota is recalling 44,000 vehicles from the 2019 and 2020 model years with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine. The recall involves the possibility that cracks could form in the engine, leading to coolant or oil leaks and stalling, overheating, or engine fires. The recall involves Camry, Avalon, RAV4, and Lexus ES300H vehicles, including hybrids, and affected vehicles will get their engines replaced.
* Kia is following its sister brand Hyundai in recalling thousands of vehicles in the U.S. because water can get into a brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly a fire. The Kia recall covers nearly 229,000 Sedona minivans from the 2006 through 2010 model years. Also covered are Sorento SUVs from 2007 through 2009.
* For the second consecutive year, the U.S. experienced a small decline in roadway deaths, according to preliminary estimates released from the National Safety Council. In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes – a 2% decline from 2018 (39,404 deaths) and a 4% decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths). Approximately 4.4 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year – also a 2% decrease over 2018 figures. Several risk mitigation actions including embracing the Vision Zero street safety model, lower legal alcohol concentration limits, and vehicle ADAS equipment have all helped with the reductions.
* There are no bad cars for 2020. And, Consumer Reports has picked the best of the best in different classes by price range. They are: Under $25,000 - Toyota Corolla, $25,000 to $35,000 - Subaru Forester, Toyota Prius, Subaru Legacy, $35,000 to $45,000 - Toyota Avalon, Kia Telluride, Honda Ridgeline, $45,000 to $55,000 - Lexus RX, Toyota Supra, Tesla Model 3. The top ten brands are: Porsche, Genesis, Subaru, Mazda, Lexus, Audi, Hyundai, BMW, Kia, and Mini
* The rain-postponed NASCAR Super Bowl Daytona 500 which ran on Monday ended with the dramatic crash by Ryan Newman with his Roush Ford flipped and sliding across the finish line and a consecutive win by Denny Hamlin in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Newman was reported with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Newman was credited with a 9th place finish. The top ten finishers included one Toyota, two Chevrolets and seven Fords.
* As an epilogue to the Ryan Newman crash, Newman was released and walked out of the hospital on his own holding hands with his two daughters two days after his crash. He's not racing this weekend in Las Vegas pending clearance by his doctors and NASCAR.
* Another note on the Daytona 500. With a bit of irony, the Presidential motorcade was led around the track by a Toyota Highlander which is produced here in the U.S. in Princeton, Indiana.
* Struggling Aston Martin said it will pull its Valkyrie hypercar out of the World Endurance Championship and the 2021 LeMans races.
* Former United Auto Workers President Owen Bieber has died. He was 90. Bieber led the UAW for 12 years, longer than anyone except the legendary Walter Reuther. Bieber was the union's seventh president, from May 1983 to June 1995. He's known for leading the union during turbulent times when the auto industry was starting to feel the effects of foreign competition gaining market share while the economy was in a downturn.