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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrapup - Week Ending August 29, 2020


Last Week's Automotive Headlines: Record High New Car Prices As US Sales Fall; US NEWS Best New Car Deals; Going To The Dogs; Durango Hellcat Off Line At $80k; Recall App From NHTSA; Ford, RAM, Recalls; Self Parking Escape; Road Trip Revival; SD Car Show Wuhan'd; More UAW Problems; Paul Goldsmith Oldest NASCAR Placed In Hall of Fame; J.C. Whitney Gone Forever (Schmucks); Takumo Sato Wins Fanless Indy500


AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO August 30, 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.

LEARN MORE: Links to full versions of today's news nuggets along with a million pages of 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 August 29, 2020; The past week's important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy to digest news nuggets.

* J.D. Power reported that new-vehicle retail sales in August are expected to be down from a year ago, according to a joint forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Retail sales are projected to reach 1,174,100 units, a 3.7% decrease compared with the J.D. Power pre-virus forecast and a 10.4% decrease compared with August 2019. However, the average new-vehicle retail transaction price in August is expected to reach a record $35,420. The previous high for any month, $35,220, was set in July 2020. Total grosses per unit, inclusive of finance and insurance incomes, are on pace to reach $2,064, an increase of $759 from last year.

* U.S. News & World Report unveiled the Best Labor Day Car Deals for 2020. The list features eight vehicles, including a full-size truck, three cars and four SUVs. These models are all available with excellent financing, cash back or lease incentives. Find out more right here.

* The “10 Best Cars for Dog Lovers of 2020” were named by the experts at Autotrader, as part of their seventh annual National Dog Day celebration. A surge in pet adoptions across the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with an increase in consumers considering road trips this summer has made it more important than ever to provide pet parents with the information they need to find the perfect vehicle for their growing family – combining comfort, convenience and of course, safety. Key features to have are leather seats, tinted windows, a level cargo floor, a low cargo area, rear air vents and cargo area tie-downs. See the list here:

* Ford Motor Company, Bedrock and Bosch are launching a demonstration project with connected Ford Escape test vehicles that can drive and park themselves inside Bedrock’s Assembly Garage in Detroit, Michigan using Bosch smart infrastructure. This is the first U.S. infrastructure-based solution for automated valet parking where the vehicle will park itself inside a parking garage. The research will take place in the Corktown neighborhood, the site of Ford’s new mobility innovation district, anchored by Michigan Central Station. The district will draw mobility innovators and disruptors from around the world to develop, test, and launch new solutions to solve urban transportation challenges, improve mobility access for everyone and prepare for the increasingly connected and autonomous world ahead.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is rolling out a free smartphone app that alerts drivers to newly announced vehicle recalls. The app SaferCar allows vehicle owners to scan or type in their 17 digital vehicle identification number to search the agency's database, according to a press release. Vehicle attachments such as trailers, tires and child seats can also be checked for recalls within the app.

* Chevrolet offered a sneak peek of its upcoming refreshed Bolt EV and new Bolt EUV during the virtual GM Fleet Solutions Summit. The Bolt EUV will be the first Chevrolet vehicle to feature Super Cruise, the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology for use on limited access highways. Both vehicles will go into production in summer 2021.

* The San Diego International Auto Show announced that its 2020 event is cancelled. The show was set to take place from December 31 through January 3. We're all wondering about the Los Angeles Auto show that is radio-silent about its Nov 20 to 29 dates. Rumors are they are looking at alternate dates.

* Dodge says its Hellcat version of Durango will start at $80,995. The "Worlds Fastest Production SUV" will have 710 horsepower. The Durango SRT Hellcat will go 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, has a quarter-mile elapsed time of 11.5 seconds as certified by National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and a has top speed of 180 mph. It can tow a trailer too.

* Generali Global Assistance (GGA), released their white paper titled, Revival of the Great American Road Trip, which looks at how the pandemic is creating a revival that may bring road trips back to the level of popularity they experienced from the 1930s until the 1980s. While 44 percent of respondents from the 11 countries included in our Future of Travel survey said they would fly on a plane in 2021, 51 percent still indicated that the car would be their main mode of transport. 72 percent of summer travelers are planning to travel by car to their summer getaway according to our Future of Travel survey.

* Dennis Williams, who retired in 2018 as UAW president, became the latest former union leader nabbed in a scandal that has tarnished the image of an organization long regarded as the gold standard for clean unions. Williams is accused of conspiring with at least six other senior UAW officials, according to a news release, which noted that hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, including lavish entertainment, were concealed in the cost of UAW conferences.

* Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 132,000 vehicles worldwide to fix a problem that could cause some diesel engines to stall. The recall covers certain 2014 through 2018 Ram 1500 pickups, and some 2014 through 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs with 3-liter diesel engines. Also included are certain 2014 through 2019 Chrysler 300 sedans outside North America with the same engines.

* Fiat Chrysler is recalling over 186,000 Ram pickups and is telling owners to take them to dealers because floor mats can interfere with the gas pedal. The recall covers certain 2019 and 2020 model-year trucks with factory-installed mats, mainly in North America.

* Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for 528 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles. Affected 2020 models are equipped with front seatbacks that may have fasteners with incorrect torque on the side airbag and/or seatback module attachments. 2020 Ford Explorer vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant from Nov. 19, 2019, to June 4, 2020, and 2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles built there from April 11, 2019, to June 8, 2020 are affected.

* From we read The “Roarin’ Relic,” believed to be the oldest original NASCAR race car in existence, has become part of the permanent exhibit at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Museum in Daytona Beach, Florida. On hand for the car’s delivery to the museum’s collection was 94-year-old Paul Goldsmith, who flew in from Indiana to be reunited with the 1949 Oldsmobile that he and others had driven. Goldsmith is the only racer to have won on the old Daytona Beach road course in both cars and motorcycles. He rode for the Harley-Davidson factory team in 1953 when he won the Daytona 200.

* Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb took place this weekend without fans for the first time in the hill climb’s history. The pandemic caused the "Race to the Clouds" to be delayed by two months.

* The Jessi Combs Foundation, founded in September 2019, has the mission to educate, inspire and empower the next generation of female trailblazers. The Jessi Combs Foundation Scholarship Program is designed to remove a portion of the financial burden associated with higher education, one of many barriers that could prohibit women from pursuing a career in the trades. Learn more here:

* A colleague pointed out that the J.C. Whitney name is gone. Its business and website were merged into, owned by the company that bought Whitney in 2010. We have to think a very large number of us pored over the catalogs and/or bought parts from Whitney in the day. RIP.

* Takumo Sato won the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 last Sunday finishing under caution for his second Indy 500 win. Scott Dixon finished second while Graham Rahal finished third. That meant Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing took two out of the top three spots at the race. Sato and Dixon traded the lead with Sato taking the lead with 28 to go. A crash with five laps to go cemented Sato's win. Also of note, Honda engines powered 8 of the top ten finishers.

Stay safe. Be Well.