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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up August 16-23, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO August 23, 2020; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Executive Producer, with able assistance 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.

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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending August 22, 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 California Air Resources Board (CARB) and major automakers confirmed they had finalized binding agreements to cut vehicle emissions in the state, defying the Trump administration’s push for weaker curbs on tailpipe pollution. The agreements are with Ford Motor Co, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG and Volvo Cars. The 13 states that follow California’s standards, which represent about 40% of the U.S. auto market, have said they support the agreements. Other major automakers like General Motors Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Toyota Motor Corp did not join the California agreement.

* U.S. News has published its annual Best Cars for Teens list. All of the Best Cars for Teens have top-notch safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with an array of advanced accident-avoidance features, strong reliability records, and positive reviews from the automotive press. The top picks for 2020 can be found here. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-cars-for-teens

* The apex predator has arrived. The all-new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, the quickest, fastest and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world, fueled by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 engine pumping out 702 horsepower arrived this week in a virtual reveal open to the public for all to see on Facebook and YouTube.

* Uber and Lyft are being allowed by an appeals court to continue operations in California while they work through an appeal of the requirement that their drivers be considered as employees. Each company has threatened to shut down if the ruling went into effect because they couldn't make the change overnight. If the two had shutdown the income to their drivers would have stopped.

* Super Cruise is GM's answer to Tesla's Autopilot and was launched in late 2017 on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedan. It's an advanced driver-assistance system and arguably one of the best things GM currently offers. But now that the first wave of Super Cruise free trials are about to expire, the automaker wants customers to pay a subscription fee to keep it activated, first reported by Motor Trend and confirmed by Cadillac. Super Cruise is currently offered on a basis of a three-year trial, Motor Trend's Greg Fink writes. After the trial expires, customers will have to pay a subscription fee to keep it turned on.

* New-vehicle buyers are being offered an increasing number of advanced technology features, some of which are hits while others are currently missing the mark. The J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study finds that automakers that innovate and are early to offer new technologies—so long as customers value them—stand to benefit most as those technologies enter the mainstream. Owners think highly of technologies that provide an “extra set of eyes” to help them drive their vehicle. Many owners don’t trust technologies necessary for more automated driving. Volvo ranks highest overall with and offers a high level of advanced technologies across its entire product lineup. Hyundai ranks highest in the mass market segment.

* A 2005 BMW 5-series sedan was parked in front of a hydrant in the Bronx in New York City this week, apparently for at least four days. Then a fire broke out on the other side of the road and firefighters needed to get a hose from the hydrant to the blaze. The shortest distance? Through the BMW's front windows. The owner told the New York Post he's stressed. This is not the first time firefighters have performed this maneuver. It's common enough that it was in the movie Backdraft.

* The Rebelle Rally is the first all-women’s off-road navigational rally raid in the U.S. and the longest event of its kind in the lower 48 states. Started in 2016, the Rebelle features two classes of competition: 4 x 4 and Crossover. In 2020, the Rebelle is going electric, adding a special designation to honor the highest-finishing battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) and hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in each class, with allowances for on-course rapid charging. Rivian will showcase the highly anticipated R1T in the 4×4 Class. Mitsubishi is returning with the Outlander PHEV in the Crossover Class. Power Innovations will deliver green power for BEV fast charging and base camp support.

* The 2021 Washington, D.C. Auto Show will now be open to the public from Friday, March 26 through Sunday, April 4, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The 2021 version of the show had been scheduled to be open from Friday, January 29 through Sunday, February 7...the usual late January dates for the show. The two-month change in schedule is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was done to ensure the safety of all involved in this show.

* There's this: Trump urges Goodyear tire boycott after company reportedly bars political attire. And there's this: The lone NASCAR Cup Series driver, Corey LaJoie, with a “Trump 2020” paint scheme will continue to use Goodyear tires in upcoming races.

* Another Cannonball Record: Drivers Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt announced that they completed the cross-country drive from New York City to Los Angeles in 25 hours, 39 minutes, narrowly beating a claimed "sub-26-hour" record publicized in May and besting their own record of 27 hours, 25 minutes that was announced in November 2019. Driving a modified 2016 Audi S6 with a 45-gallon fuel cell they have bested their own achievement with an average speed of 112 mph. Top speed reached on the run was 175 mph. Thanks to Road & Track for this report.

* Marco Andretti brought the family back to the Indianapolis 500 pole position. Driving the No. 98 Honda, Andretti edged Scott Dixon with a four-lap effort of 231.068 mph last Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Fast Nine Shootout. Andretti's grandfather -- the legend Mario Andretti -- won the Indy 500 pole in 1966, '67 and '87. As drivers, the family has one Indy 500 victory, Mario in 1969.

* And today, Sunday is the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 but with no fans in the 232,000 seats. With all the seats, suites, and infield the race brings in 300,000 and is usually considered the largest single-day sporting event in the world. New speedway owner Rogr Penske was looking forward to show fans what he has done to the place having spent millions after he bought it. That will have to wait to October or perhaps next year's Indy 500 on the usual May dates.

Stay safe. Be Well.