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Nutson's Auto News Digest - Top Stories Week Of October 11-17 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO October 18, 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 October 17, 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.

* The 2021 NADA Show is going virtual next year and moving to February. The National Automobile Dealers Association had been looking to hold a hybrid, digital-and-physical event, but continued uncertainty around government regulations in New Orleans led to the decision to go all online. NADA Show 2021 will now take place virtually, Tuesday Feb. 9 through Thursday Feb. 11.

* The Jeep Wrangler has a folding windshield. The new Ford Bronco will not. Ford did consider a folding windshield but opted not to according to Ford Authority. Ford was concerned with A-pillar rigidity with a flat, folding windshield design. I guess Jeep has it figured out.

* Millennials and Gen Zers are more — not less — likely to want to own a classic or collector car than their parents or grandparents, according to a survey of 10,000 U.S. drivers by Hagerty. Hagerty, the insurance and car culture company, does its “Why Driving Matters” survey every other year. Among classic car owners, 25 percent are Millennials, 22 percent are part of Gen Z, 19 percent come from Gen X and 13 percent are post-war Baby Boomers.

* Reuters reports China's auto industry keeps leading the recovery from the pandemic. September vehicle sales rose nearly 13%, and sales of electrified "new energy vehicles" jumped nearly 68% to a 5% share of the total market, China's Association of Auto Manufacturers said.

* And this too from Reuters. Electric vehicles are on track to capture 8% of the European auto market, triple their previous market share, according to an analysis by the NGO Transport & Environment. At the same time, petrol-powered SUVs have boosted their market share to 39% during the first half of 2020.

* The owner's manual that comes in the glove box of a new vehicle is the latest casualty of the digital revolution. Ford said it will transform the manual for the redesigned F-150 pickup into a digital document embedded in the vehicle's infotainment system. One advantage is it can show a video on how things work.

* Volkswagen of America, Inc. unveiled the all-new 2022 VW Taos this week in another web-based reveal. The Volkswagen Taos compact SUV will slot under the Tiguan and will launch in the summer of 2021. Under the hood is a 1.5L turbo four with 158hp and 184 lb-ft of torque paired with either 8-speed automatic and FWD or 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive.

* Jim Gorzelany writing for Forbes reports: As further proof that pickup trucks are becoming ever more dominant on the automotive landscape, the full-size Ford F-150 is now the most-stolen vehicle in the U.S. In fact, four our of the top 10 on the list of vehicles most-frequently driven off last year were pickups, That’s according to the annual “Hot Wheels” list compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in Des Plaines, Ill. Previously the most-stolen vehicle crown belonged to Honda.

* From Reuters we read, Ford said it is delaying U.S. production of its new plug-in hybrid Escape SUV until next year after recalling more than 20,000 mechanically similar Kuga PHEVs in Europe to investigate problems that could cause the vehicles to catch fire. At the same time, U.S. safety regulators are investigating reports of fires involving Chevy Bolt electric vehicles, and last week Hyundai expanded a recall of its Kona EVs to deal with a defect that could lead to fires.

* And then there's this. BMW plug-in hybrids are being recalled due to fire risk. The recall includes 4,509 vehicles in the U.S. NHTSA documents indicate the battery manufacturer is Samsung. All BMW and MINI plug-in hybrids are affected.

* Automotive News has a fun story about how new Ford CEO Jim Farley pushed to keep racing his vintage GT40 and Lola T298 on weekends. Many companies insist that CEOs put aside risky hobbies. But Ford and other auto companies have long allowed executives to stay out on the track. And these days, who doesn't need a hobby?

* Thanks to we learn: In a survey obviously not commissioned by Starbucks, McDonald’s or any other establishment with drive-thru food and beverage service, two-thirds of British motorists (66 percent) said they would extend the ban on don’t drink and drive to all beverages, not just those that are alcoholic. The survey of nearly 700 drivers was done in England by Motorpoint, which claims to be the UK’s largest independent car retailer. Bye, bye cupholders!

* GM's Cruise is being permitted to test autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in San Francisco. Cruise will be allowed to conduct both daytime and nighttime drives on certain public roads with speed limits no greater than 30 mph and only in fair-weather conditions. Some 60 companies have permission to conduct autonomous testing with a safety driver in California, however Cruise becomes only the fifth allowed to test a truly driverless mode in the state.

* The 2020 Rebelle Rally took place this week. The all-women, 11-day, 1,200 mile event kicked off near Lake Tahoe. The thirty-six two-women teams were driving a variety of off-road capable vehicles that included Lexus QX80, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Rivian R1T electric pickup, Nissan Frontier, three different Ford Bronco Sport SUVs, as well as Jeeps, Toyotas, RAM trucks, Land Rover and Range Rover, Kia Telluride, VW Touareg, and more. Winner of the 4X4 class was Kaleigh Miller and Teralin Petereit in the 2020 Jeep JLU. Winner of the X-Cross class was Shelby Hall and Penny Dale in a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport.

Stay safe. Be Well.