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Nutson's Auto News Digest - Top Auto Stories Week Of October 18-24, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO October 25, 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 24, 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.

* First teased at the Super Bowl, GM unveiled its 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1, a battery powered supertruck, during the first game of the World Series. Also super is the Edition 1 price of $112,595. The fully-loaded Edition 1 will have 3 electric motors producing 1,000 horsepower and develop 11,500 pound-feet of torque through gear multiplication GMC expects 0-60 mph acceleration to be in 3 seconds. Range is expected to exceed 350 miles. It will be out in late 2021 for those who want to be in exclusive ranks and engage Watts To Freedom. If that price is too steep you can wait for a Hummer EV for $99,995 with the 3-motor system coming in Fall 2022, or $89,995 for a model with adaptive air ride and CrabWalk in Spring 2023 or one with a 2-motor system priced at $79,995 and coming in Spring 2024.

* In a live event carried here on The Auto Channel GM announced that its Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant will begin the transition to become the company’s third vehicle manufacturing site to produce electric vehicles, joining Factory ZERO in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan, and Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Michigan. In addition, the company is confirming investments in five Michigan plants, including the Lansing Delta Township Assembly and Flint Assembly for future crossover and full-size pickup production. The all-new Cadillac LYRIQ will be the first EV produced at Spring Hill. Production of the Cadillac XT6 and XT5 will continue at Spring Hill. The facility will build both traditionally powered Cadillac products and EVs.

* The 2021 Land Rover Defender has been named the Motor Trend 2021 SUV of the Year. The newly designed Defender recently returned to the US market after the model had not been sold here for more than 20 years. From a group of 28 new or redesigned SUVs six finalists were chosen before the winner was chosen. The six are: Cadillac Escalade, Genesis GV80, Land Rover Defender, Kia Seltos, Nissan Rogue and Toyota Venza.

* AutoPacific announced the Volkswagen's commercial truck unit Traton has agreed to buy the rest of Illinois-based truck manufacturer Navistar International for $3.7 billion in cash. Traton already owns 16.8% of Navistar and had been looking to increase the German automakers presence in the U.S. commercial truck market. Navistar, formerly known as International Harvester has its origins dating to 1850 and a factory opened by Cyrus McCormick. Considering that International once made pickups, a point to ponder is if this will now give VW the opportunity to enter the U.S. pickup market.

* The musical chairs continue with auto show dates. Now, the New York Auto Show, traditionally held just before Easter, is moving its 2021 dates to August 20 -29, from April 2-11. Show officials say its because they will have more space in the expanded Javits Center. Of note, this puts the NY show about one month before the Detroit North American International Auto Show.

* California recently said it wants to ban the sale of new gasoline engine vehicles by 2035. Now New Jersey is going with the same initiative. Fourteen other states and D.C. currently follow California's low emission requirements. Will it be that they also join the 2035 ban? Battery-electric vehicles are forecasted to be 8% of the overall fleet of global passenger vehicles by 2030. That number is expected to rise to 31% by 2040, according to estimates by Bloomberg News.

* Cruise has asked federal regulators for permission to deploy a purpose built, fully autonomous ride hailing vehicle that has no steering wheel and no pedals. The latest petition replaces an earlier effort by Cruise and parent General Motors to get approval for a controls-free version of the Chevy Bolt. Now, Cruise and GM want clearance to go controls-free with the Origin ride hailing vehicle, due to go into production in Detroit late next year.

* The Petersen Automotive Museum has been named the 2020 Museum of the Year by The Historic Motoring Awards in a virtual ceremony. The museum earned the title by virtue of its world-class exhibits, dedication to preserving automotive history, global education initiatives, and successful pivot to digital engagement during the worldwide pandemic. The Historic Motoring Awards honor people, cars, and institutions that best exemplify the classic car hobby. The awards are given based on nominations from the automotive industry and enthusiast public. A panel of 25 automotive luminaries selected the winners.

* Ford issued safety recalls for the Ford Transit Connect van over a software issue that could increase the risk of a fire and the Escape crossover over the tire pressure monitoring system. The recall of the Transit Connect affects 2,903 2019-20 model years in the United States with the 2.5-liter engine. The recall of the Escape covers 689 vehicles built in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 26 to August 14.

* SSC North America, America’s first hypercar company, has reclaimed the coveted title of world’s “Fastest Production Vehicle,” this time with its 1,750hp Tuatara. With internationally acclaimed professional racing driver, Oliver Webb, at the Tuatara’s wheel, the record-breaking drive took place on the morning of Saturday, October 10, outside of Las Vegas near Pahrump, Nevada along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160. Webb pushed the SSC Tuatara to an average speed of 316.11 mph (508.73 km/h) following two consecutive high-speed test runs of 301.07 mph (484.53 km/h) and 331.15 mph (532.93 km/h). In accordance with record criteria, the Tuatara traveled in opposite directions, clocking its speeds within one hour, to break the world record for “Fastest Production Vehicle.”

* Road America unveiled a new bronze statue of its founder, Clif Tufte, next to the center that bears his name located in the paddock area of the sprawling 640-acre facility that was conceptualized sixty-five years ago. Tufte, a highway engineer, put together the land and laid out the track in1955 after racing on the public roads around Elkhart Lake became impractical for many reasons. Tufte realized that the economic benefit to the area was such that a permanent road course could be viable. He acted, and Road America was born, with the first races held on September 10-11, 1955.

* Racer Angie Smith roared into motorsports history last Saturday as the first woman to break the 200-mph barrier in NHRA's Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Smith rocketed into the coveted DENSO 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle Club in the first qualifying round of the AAA Texas Fall Nationals, tearing across the finish line at 200.89 mph in 6.809 seconds. Only five racers have ever crossed the 200 mph threshold in the more than 30-year history of NHRA Pro Stock motorcycle racing.

* The next generation of World Rally Competition cars will adopt a bespoke 100kW plug-in hybrid system. As well as giving crews a power boost on the stages, the technology is set to be used on road sections. Test work on the new system, which was awarded to German firm Compact Dynamics in March, is expected to begin next February. It is hoped the off-the-shelf technology, which is currently being widely used on passenger cars, will be signed off next September before it comes into effect for the beginning of the 2022 WRC2 season.

* Autoweek reports the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series community suffered a tragic loss on Oct. 19, as Eric Lane, co-crew chief for Cruz Pedregon Racing was struck and killed by a car while walking back from a restaurant near Mineral Wells, Texas. The team was taking time off between the this past weekend's Dallas NHRA event and this weekend's race at Baytown, Texas, to enjoy a little fishing and being together away from the track. Lane had worked for Funny Car driver Bob Tasca III prior to taking a job late last season with Pedregon. Lane, who was known by many as "Hop", was 47.

Stay safe. Be Well.