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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Digest Week Ending May 10-16, 2020


Tesla Is Plaintiff (For a change); Auto Production Update; Ford e-Mustang Quick Charger; European EV Sales Charged; UK Urges Muscle Mobility; Suggested Cars For College Grads; Auto Events and Motorsport Schedule Update; NASCAR Going In Circles Again; F1 News; Woodward Cruise Still Crusing


AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - May 17, 2020; Every Sunday Executive Producer Larry Nutson, 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 May 16, 2020; Important or pithy automotive news, Opinion and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.

* Tesla sued Alameda County California after county officials refused to allow the reopening of the electric car maker's sole U.S. assembly plant in Fremont, on the east side of San Francisco Bay. CEO Elon Musk raged on Twitter, threatening to move Tesla's headquarters to Texas or Nevada "immediately." The fight puts a spotlight on the confusing matrix of state, local and federal rules and guidelines governing how businesses reopen after pandemic shutdowns, and what qualifies as adequate safety protocols for operating in an environment where working together elevates the risk of infection. The latest news had it that Tesla may get to reopen its plant next week. Health officers for Alameda County said the factory can reopen if the automaker adopts safety recommendations in addition to a new plan the company submitted. The county said Tesla can augment its operations this week and city police will verify that it's adhering to the agreed measures aimed at protecting workers.

* Automakers and other manufacturers in Michigan are working to restart operations, under the latest version of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order. Detroit automakers will spend the week preparing plants to restart May 18. Mexico is also restarting after its lockdown.

* Toyota is planning to slash production in North America by nearly a third between now and October compared to the same period last year. The drop appears to reflect a plan for slow, careful startups of shut down North American factories. By September, Toyota North America expects to be back at full speed, sources told Reuters.

* Latest testing by Ford shows Mustang Mach-E charge time has improved by approximately 30 percent from early estimates, adding an estimated average of 61 miles of range in 10 minutes using Electrify America’s DC fast charging station with extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive. Both all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive configurations are estimated to achieve a recharge from 10 percent to 80 percent charge in approximately 45 minutes while charging on a DC fast charging station.

* Good often comes from bad. Sales of electric vehicles rose 57% in Europe during the first quarter, as coronavirus lockdowns began. A U.S. government study found a 25-30% reduction in smog since coronavirus stay-at-home orders slashed U.S. vehicle traffic.

* Officials in Britain urged citizens to consider biking and walking to work to take the pressure off trains and buses that will have to limit capacity to enable social distancing. Chances are commuters were way ahead of the ministers, eager to avoid public transit in any case. Investors are betting that Europeans will turn in droves to bikes as alternative to mass transit.

* It's college graduation time of the year and all that celebration is happening virtually due to Covid-19. Some college grads may need a car to get to that new, first job. Autotrader has some thoughts and recommendations. The ten best cars for a new grad are: 2011-2015 Chevrolet Volt, 2012-2017 Fiat 500, 2015-2017 Ford Mustang, 2016-2018 Honda Civic, 2018-2019 Hyundai Kona, 2012-2017 Jeep Wrangler, 2021 Kia Seltos, 2020 Nissan Sentra, 2010-2015 Toyota Prius, and 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback.

* According to AutoPacific’s latest Feature Attribute Demand Study, 64% of new vehicle buyers under the age of 40 want remote connectivity in their next vehicle. Vehicle owners will have the ability to easily perform basic functions like locking and unlocking, starting an engine, or activating heated seats on a cold winter morning. Results show that the younger the new vehicle buyer, the stronger the demand for remote connectivity, with 65% of new vehicle buyers under age 30 showing a desire and 64% between 31 and 39 years old. As expected, the demand drops in steps as the age brackets for new vehicle buyers climb. Only 35% of buyers 60 to 69 years old, and a mere 28% over the age of 70 desire this level of connectivity with their new vehicle.

* More noteworthy enthusiast events are being moved on the calendar. Corvette Bloomington Gold will now be held on Sept 11-12 in Indianapolis. The Concours d'elegance of America in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth will not take place this year and is set for July 2021.

* NASCAR will be back racing at Darlington Raceway this Sunday, May 17. There will be another race at Darlington on Wednesday and then on to Charlotte for two races also. Races will be held at southern tracks in Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Florida and Alabama for the near term to limit team travel time. All races will be without fans until the June 28 race at Pocono.

* Autoweek reports that the anticipated UK 14-Day quarantine ruling threatens the entire 2020 F1 season. Seven F1 teams are based in Britain and thus the actions of the British government are of special interest for the Formula 1 world. Should this ruling come to pass, it could very well sink all plans for a revival of the Formula 1 season, as those involved in the sport would be required to self-isolate for two weeks after each foreign trip. Teams and F1 officials who leave the country for a race would face a two-week quarantine upon arrival back home in the U.K., making a sensible F1 calendar impossible, unless F1 personnel stay away from the U.K. for extended periods.

* Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of 2020 F1 season, the team has confirmed. Vettel and Ferrari have been in talks for several months about an extension, with Team Principal Mattia Binotto saying the four-time world champion was his number one choice to race alongside Charles Leclerc next year. However, they have been unable to agree terms on a new deal, leading to the announcement.

* Woodward Dream Cruise is expecting to happen this year however, you will see big changes. Most of the organized community events will be canceled, including entertainment, concerts, car shows, vendors, Emergency Vehicle show, kid zone, etc., to keep large crowd gatherings to a minimum. A more detailed announcement is expected in June.

Stay safe. Be Well.