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IN THE NEWS - Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up September 5-12, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO September 13, 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 Wrap-up - Week Ending September 12, 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.

* General Motors and startup Nikola announced a multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar deal to collaborate on zero emission pickups and heavy trucks. Nikola will give GM an 11% stake in its stock, (initially valued at $2 billion,) and in return GM will provide the vehicle platform, batteries and factory to build the Nikola Badger electric pickup. GM will supply fuel cell technology for Nikola's planned lineup of Class 7 and 8 commercial trucks.

* EV-maker Lucid is claiming the world's fastest production sedan after its Air Dream Edition four-door clocked a 9.912-second quarter-mile at the Sonoma Raceway drag strip with a trap speed of 144.4 mph. The Lucid Air’s online unveiling happened this week. Driving range is around 500 miles. Air production begins by the end of the year. Cars should be in showrooms in spring and pricing is expected around $160,000.

* The 2021 Maserati MC20 coupe broke cover in an online revel. With a midengine 621-HP V6, scissor doors, and carbon fiber trim it's a striking new supercar. Expect a $200,000 price. Watch out McLaren!

* NHTSA has launched its autonomous vehicle tracking tool. A map shows 17 cities across the U.S. where the vehicles are being tested. So far 10 companies in nine states have signed up to be in the map. Data is voluntarily submitted by companies

* A German court has ruled former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn must stand trial on fraud charges in connection with the company’s diesel emission scandal in which it sold cars with software that let them cheat on emissions tests. It said four other defendants would face trial on charges of fraud in connection with aggravated tax evasion and illegal advertising.

* The former CEO of Ferrari North America and COO of Bugatti of the Americas admitted to a $2.8 million kickback payment scheme he ran while selling supercars. Maurizio Parlato, 58, of Washington, DC, pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to a false tax return and one count of not filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, the US Attorney's Office District of New Jersey announced. The DOJ's statement noted that submitting a false tax return can carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts can carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

* GM has issued a recall for the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette because they can be driven with the front trunk lid unlatched, which could open when the vehicle is moving. The recall affects 7,071 cars built before August 14. A software change will limit vehicle speed if the front trunk is not latched.

* NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson will transition to IndyCar with Chip Ganassi Racing. Johnson will run road and street courses for Ganassi in a two-year program pending finalizing sponsorship. Johnson, 45, is a seven-time NASCAR champ and may still compete in select NASCAR events driving for Ganassi who fields a two-car team. Johnson has driven for Hendrick Motorsports for his entire 20-year NASCAR career.

* The 2020 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals Show held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois is postponed to 2021. With the uncertainty due to the pandemic and Illinois Governor Pritzker's current policy limiting indoor events to no more than 100 people, the next MCACN show will take place Saturday, November 20, and Sunday, November 21, 2021.

* Porsche Cars North America, in support of Chloe Chambers, announced a new Guinness World Records achievement for the Fastest Vehicle Slalom. Sixteen-year-old Chambers achieved the 47.45-second run setting a new benchmark pace in an exercise that tests both driver and vehicle. She achieved this feat behind the wheel of a completely stock 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder.

* Don Schumacher Racing further cemented its position as one of motorsports’ elite teams when Matt Hagan delivered win No. 350 with his Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals victory at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals. At the 1970 NHRA U.S. Nationals, Don Schumacher raced to his first NHRA national event victory, collecting win No. 1 for what would eventually become the drag racing powerhouse Don Schumacher Racing.

* Dale Earnhardt Jr. has debuted a new show near and dear to his heart as part of NBCUniversal’s new Peacock TV online streaming service. The free-to-use platform launched on July 15. Created and hosted by Earnhardt, the "Lost Speedways" show visits abandoned speedways and takes an exploratory look at great racing cathedrals of the past. He and special guests will tell the stories of speedways that have been forgotten, abandoned and overtaken by nature. On the eight-episode series Earnhardt is joined by racing legends including seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Richard Petty.

Stay safe. Be Well.