Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending July 11, 2020
This Happened Last Week:"Wuhan Virus Forces More Auto Event Cancellations; Ford Bronco LIVE Video Reveal; Italy Cash For Clunkers; Court Says FCA Not Guilty; Big 3 CEO's Snub President Trump; 100 Activist Ford Employees Petition Company To Stop Selling Police Cars; US Retail Auto Sellers Happy (More New Car Inventory Will Make Them Happier); June US Fleet Sales Down 70%; FCA Recall; Hagerty Hot 6; Collector Car Appreciation Day Celebrated July 10; No Covid Worries At Indy Car and NHRA
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending July 11, 2020; Important, Concise or pithy automotive news, opinion and back stories in expertly crafted easy to digest news nuggets.
* Ford officially launched the marketing campaign for its Bronco family of SUVs, aimed at taking a slice of the lucrative off-road adventure franchise that has made FCA's Jeep brand one of the most envied automotive franchises. Three Bronco models will include a 2-door Bronco, 4-door Bronco and smaller Bronco Sport.
* Reuters reports the Italian government is proposing to include internal combustion vehicles in a new package of vehicle buying subsidies, extending a hand to national auto champion Fiat Chrysler. France and Germany have focused their cash for clunkers stimulus plans on electric or hybrid vehicles. But FCA has comparatively few electrified models to offer and Italian consumers so far have not embraced EVs. The proposed Italian C4C plan would give consumers 3,500 euros to trade in a 10-year-old or older vehicle for a cleaner running petroleum-fueled vehicle priced below 40,000 euros that complies with Euro 6 standards. Electric and hybrid models would get bigger subsidies as well.
* A federal district court judge has dismissed the General Motors racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The order follows a decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals not to reassign the case at GM's request though it essentially vacated Judge Paul Borman's earlier order that GM CEO Mary Barra and FCA CEO Mike Manley meet in person to hash out a resolution to the high-stakes case. The suit was tied to the ongoing corruption case involving the UAW, although the UAW was not a defendant. GM claimed FCA cost it billions of dollars by corrupting the bargaining process in an attempt to force a merger.
* Joe White for Reuters reports the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler were among the no-shows at what appeared to be a hastily-organized White House dinner with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to mark the launch of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Coronavirus concerns kept some invitees away. Schedule conflicts kept auto CEOs away, the companies said.
* Approximately 100 employees of Ford Motor Co. have petitioned the automaker to reconsider building and selling police vehicles in light of controversy related to police brutality and social justice. Both Black and white employees have expressed concern. Ford as well as GM has taken steps to advocate for accountability. Ford CEO Jim Hacket is resisting employees' push to end police vehicle sales. Hackett sent a more than 600-word letter to senior staff in response to messages he’s received both from within and outside Ford’s ranks to reconsider producing police vehicles.
* Cox Automotive reports year-over-year fleet sales continued a remarkable decline as the combined rental, commercial, and government purchases of new vehicles were down 69% in June. Total fleet volume was 85,104, down from 277,615 in June 2019. Rental units continue to lead the drop with a 94.5% decrease year over year in June.
* FCA is recalling 1.2 million older vehicles over faulty airbag covers. The recall covers 2007-11 Dodge Nitro SUVs and 2008-10 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.
* Hagerty announced its 2020 Hot List naming six new vehicles that will still be popular, fun to drive and possibly worth a lot more decades from now. The 2020 Hot List includes: 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500, 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (C8), 2020 Polestar 1, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, 2019/2020 Cadillac CT6-V, and 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
* On July 10 we celebrated Collector Car Appreciation Day. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) promoted the eleventh consecutive commemoration in what is now an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.
* The 2020 Great Race has been postponed until June 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent spikes in cases in key states. The dates will be June 19-27, 2021, and the route will again be San Antonio, Texas, to Greenville, S.C., with all the same city stops we had scheduled for this year.
* The 2020 State Fair of Texas has fallen to Covid-19 and has been canceled. The September event is important to the pickup truck business. The increasing number of cases in Texas forced this decision.
* A much anticipated return to National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series racing takes place this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis following a hiatus of more than four months. Following the suspension of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12, just prior to the third event of the year at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, the remaining 16-event shortened schedule kicks off with a pair of weekend events in Indianapolis. Race weekends will be shortened to two-day events with qualifying held Saturday only and final eliminations on Sunday. The TWO-day events taking place July 11-12 and July 18-19 will allow a limited number of spectators each day and the way in will be invite-only to NHRA Members and 2020 Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals ticket holders.
* IndyCar racing also has fans back. The REV Group Grand Prix at the magnificent Road America course in Elkhart Lake, WI was double-header this weekend with fans on hand tp view the race. It's the first IndyCar event this season held with fans. In other news, Racer reports NTT IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske says the quest to sign a new engine partner is focused on Ferrari, and Ferrari alone, as talks continue with Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto to have the manufacturer join the series when its 2.4-liter twin-turbo hybrid V6 engine formula arrives in 2022.
Stay safe. Be Well.