Nutsons Weekly Automotive News Roundup - August 2-9, 2020
Here Is What Happened This Week; August 2-9, 2020: The auto market continues to recover July SAAR topping 14.5 million; Ford President Leaves Company; Cadillac's LYRIC EV revealed; Paint Color Choices; ADAS Imperfect; Biden Talks Electric Vette; GM UAWgate; Honda Recall; Woodward Dreams Broken; LA Auto Show Wuhaned? SEMA And APEX Wuhaned; Hagerty Garage Born; INDY 500 Wuhaned No In Stands Fans; Sturgis Hot Spot?
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending August 8, 2020; Last week's important, concise or pithy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy to digest news nuggets.
* The auto market continues to recover from the pandemic with the July SAAR topping 14.5 million. Toyota, Honda and Kia posted their smallest decline in U.S. sales since the coronavirus outbreak took hold. Hyundai, Mazda and Volvo posted gains. This year is expected to continue with weak sales with some forecasts predicting a total at 13.8 million vehicles. 2021 and 2022 will see gradual increases but still far below 17 million. Cox Automotive says the number of people in-market for a new vehicle is well below normal.
* Ford Motor Company announced that Jim Hackett, who has led the company’s transformation since 2017, plans to retire from the company. Jim Farley has been named the company’s new president and CEO and will join the board of directors, effective Oct. 1. Hackett, 65, and Farley, 58, will work together on a smooth leadership transition over the next two months.
* Cadillac debuted its first-ever, completely new, battery-powered, long-range SUV, the Lyriq EV, as a "concept" said to be 80 to 85% of what the actual production vehicle wiil look like. Using the web for the global reveal that was open to the public to watch, the mid-size battery-SUV which will offer more than 300 miles of driving range will make the scene in China in 2021 and follow in the U.S. in 2022. GM plans to introduce around 20 all-electric vehicles by 2023.
* White, silver, gray and black colors are on 3 in 4 vehicles sold today in North America, according to a USA Today article. But, two-tone paint is returning. Automakers have introduced more than half a dozen SUVs in the past two years with two-tone paint options, as they seek to differentiate their vehicles from each other and capitalize on new technology. Two-tone paint options usually carry a premium of a few hundred dollars. Two-tone paint harks back to what some automotive enthusiasts consider the heyday of automotive design in the 1950s, when vehicles like GM’s Corvette and Chevrolet Bel Air often featured multiple colors. Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet, Range Rover and MINI among others offer two-tone.
* AAA automotive researchers found that over the course of 4,000 miles of real-world driving, vehicles equipped with active driving assistance systems experienced some type of issue every 8 miles, on average. Researchers noted instances of trouble with the systems keeping the vehicles tested in their lane and coming too close to other vehicles or guardrails. AAA also found that active driving assistance systems, those that combine vehicle acceleration with braking and steering, often disengage with little notice – almost instantly handing control back to the driver. On public roadways, nearly three-quarters (73%) of errors involved instances of lane departure or erratic lane position. AAA’s 2020 automated vehicle survey found that only one in ten drivers (12%) would trust riding in a self-driving car. Active driving assistance, classified as Level 2 driving automation on a scale of six (0-5) created by the SAE International, are advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that provide the highest level of automated vehicle technology available to the public today.
* And this surprise as reported by the Detroit Free Press: In an 80-second campaign spot posted on Joe Biden's Twitter account, Biden surprises viewers by not talking about politics but cars, and his love of the Corvette and the American car market. In it, he says, "They tell me" that GM is making an all-electric version of its iconic sports car that will go 200 mph. Turns out there are plans. Someone familiar with Corvette production at its Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky confirmed to the Free Press there is a plan for an all-electric version of the Corvette, but the timing and its maximum speed are unknown.
* The Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors is suggesting that former UAW Vice President and ex-GM board member Joe Ashton was acting as a paid mole inside the company's boardroom during 2015 contract bargaining as it seeks to revive its racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Adding potentially more intrigue in the long-running UAW corruption scandal, GM also claims in a court filing that millions of dollars were stashed in offshore bank accounts in locations like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Italy and Singapore and used to fuel a bribery scheme GM said was designed to harm it and force a merger with FCA.
* Meanwhile, retired UAW President Ron Gettelfinger denied receiving bribes funneled through a secret overseas bank accounts, one day after General Motors leveled the allegations in federal court. Gettelfinger, 76, of Louisville, Ky., who retired in 2010 and who has avoided virtually all media interview requests, released a statement through the UAW saying he read the allegations "with disgust and dismay" and faulted GM "for their malicious and utterly baseless attack against me and a supposed 'unnamed' member of my family."
* Honda is recalling over 1.6 million minivans and SUVs in the U.S. to fix problems that include faulty backupcamera displays, malfunctioning dashboard lights and sliding doors that don’t latch properly. The problems were revealed in four recalls posted Tuesday by the government. They cover certain Odyssey minivans from 2018 to 2020, Pilot SUVs from 2019 through 2021 and Passport SUVs from 2019 and 2020.
* The Detroit News reports that the inaugural Woodward Dream Show at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, which was scheduled to go on Aug. 12-15 despite the cancellation of the Aug. 15 Woodward Dream Cruise, is the latest casualty of the coronavirus. All of the traditional city- and corporate-sponsored events — from the Berkeley Cruise Parade to Ford's Mustang Alley — have all been kicked to the curb by organizers this year, even as cruisers have continued to rumble up Woodward Avenue. The M1 car club also traditionally plays host to Roadkill Nights sponsored by Dodge — legal drag racing on Woodward Avenue — the weekend before the Dream Cruise, but that was also canceled this year.
* The concurrent Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo and the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show said they are cancelling their annual conventions in November due to COVID-19 and exploring virtual options. The co-located shows, which allow registrants of either convention to attend the other, drew upwards of 160,000 people last year. Both automotive equipment shows are not open to the public as they are business-to-business events.
* The Los Angeles Auto Show is still officially scheduled for November 20-29 but not too many auto folk think it will actually be held. LA has a high rate of Covid-19 infections. If the LA show is cancelled, the Chicago Auto Show held back in early February will be the only large U.S. auto show held on 2020.
* Hagerty has joined forces with Collectors’ Car Garage (CCG) to create Hagerty Garage + Social, a planned national network of home bases for local car enthusiasts, offering premier storage, concierge services and specialized events and experiences. Currently, there are Hagerty Garage + Social locations in Chicago and Bedford Hills, New York. A third facility is set to open in Miami in early 2021, with additional locations across the country to follow. More HERE
* Roger Penske has reversed course and decided not to allow fans at the Indianapolis 500 later this month. The 104th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be the first without spectators, who showed up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway every year, even during the Great Depression. The pandemic forced the race to change dates for the first time, from Memorial Day weekend to Aug. 23. Penske had initially said he wouldn't run the 500 without fans. But as the pandemic continued to spread across the nation, the decision was made to limit capacity to 50%. The speedway then lowered that number to 25%. The continued increase of COVID-19 cases in Marion County,where the speedway is located, made shutting out spectators the responsible decision.
* And Robin Miller for Racer reports Roger Penske told the car owners that instead of $15 million, the Aug. 23 payout would be $7.5 million in the face of the pandemic that has crippled the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s ability to make any money. With no fans allowed, there are no ticket sales and that alone takes away a minimum of $20m.
* As the NY Times reported, tens of thousands of motorcyclists roared into the western South Dakota community of Sturgis, lining Main Street from end to end, for the start of an annual rally that kicked off despite objections from residents and with little regard for a public health emergency ravaging the world. “Screw Covid I went to Sturgis,” read a black T-shirt amid a sea of Harley Davidson and Trump 2020 outfits sported by the throng of people walking along Main Street. The state’s Department of Tourism has estimated that the annual festival generates about $800 million in revenue. The rally has taken place every summer in Sturgis since 1938.
Stay safe. Be Well.