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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending November 14, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO November 15, 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 November 14, 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.

* With Joe Biden's victory we can expect a new emphasis to be placed on clean energy. Biden has touted an ambitious plan that could encourage a new wave of transportation propped up by federal investments in electric vehicles, infrastructure and other forward-looking technologies. U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak and American automakers pledged to work with the incoming administration of Democrat Joe Biden, who wants to boost mass transit and green vehicles.

* Drivers in their 70s are now less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those in their prime working years, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found. That’s a remarkable reversal for a generation of drivers once thought to be an outsize threat to themselves and others on the road. The number of older drivers has grown rapidly over the past two decades. But better health and safer vehicles, as well as possible benefits from infrastructure improvements and changes to licensing policies, have prevented an accompanying spike in crashes. Not only do drivers in their 70s now have fewer fatal crashes per licensed driver, but they also have fewer police-reported crashes per mile traveled than middle-aged drivers

* The all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E was honored with the coveted 2021 Green Car of the Year title during a Green Car Awards presentation at the Virtual Greenbuild Conference + Expo by auto industry authority Green Car Journal. Also posting wins of Green Car Awards were Polestar 2, 2021 Luxury Green Car of the Year; Toyota Sienna, 2021 Family Green Car of the Year; MINI Cooper SE, 2021 Urban Green Car of the Year; Jeep Wrangler 4xe, 2021 Green SUV of the Year; and Ford F-150, 2021 Green Truck of the Year.

* Autoweek reports that Bruce Meyers, designer, surfer, artist, and creator of the very first Meyers Manx in 1964, the vehicle that inspired the Dune Buggy craze, has sold the company he started more than 50 years ago. The new owner is investor Phillip Sarofim. The new CEO is designer Freeman Thomas, who brought you the New Beetle, Audi TT and a long list of VW, Audi, Porsche, Ford and Chrysler products.

* BMW took the wraps off the iX, a mid-sized electric SUV coming to the market in early 2022 to do battle with the Tesla Model X and a flock of other luxury or performance-oriented EVs coming in roughly the same time frame. BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told reporters the iX - comparable in size to the ICE BMW X5 but way more tech forward- will be profitable, and will be the first of several vehicles to use a new digital/electrical architecture. BMW plans a full range of electric/electrified vehicles using this digital architecture. Zipse said he expects a third of BMW vehicles sold will have a plug by 2025 and half by 2030.

* We had a look into Hyundai's upcoming product portfolio and drove a number of its new cars. We were behind the wheel of the 2021 Elantra and drove the regular gas engine, a hybrid and also the higher performance N Line. We also drove the new Sonata N Line. Check back for detailed stories.

* Ford introduced its all electric E-Transit that will start around $46,000 and offer 126-mile range. The 2022 E-Transit will be offered in three configurations, with three roof heights and three body lengths, in an effort to give business owners a variety of options to match specific needs. Based on 30 million miles of telematics data Ford found these targeted customers in planned city routes drive on average 74 miles per day.

* Rivian announced that its electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV will start at $75,000 and $77,500 respectively. The company has been taking preliminary orders with a refundable $1,000 deposit. On Nov. 16 Rivian will allow these buyers to configure vehicles for delivery next summer. Both vehicles will qualify for the $7,500 Federal tax credit. The pricing is competitive with high-end gasoline powered pickups on the market today.

* Ferrari unveiled a convertible version of its SF90 Stradale supercar, which has an 8 cylinder internal combustion engine plus 220-horsepower worth of electric motors. All yours for 473,000 euros...about $559,000.

* GM is recalling more than 217,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because transmission oil can leak, causing them to stop moving or possibly catch fire. The recall covers certain versions of the 2018 through 2020 Chevrolet Equinox and Traverse as well as the GMC Terrain. Also included are the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu and 2018 and 2019 Chevrolet Cruze and Buick LaCrosse, as well as the 2019 through 2020 Buick Encore and Enclave, the Cadillac XT4, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Blazer. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 also is covered.

* GM is recalling 68,000 Chevy Bolt EVs from 2017-2019 model years for fire risk. GM has identified five cases of vehicle fires, possibly related to high-voltage batteries produced by LG Chem in Korea. The automaker and NHTSA are working to determine the cause. Owners are being told to limit charging to 90% capacity.

* Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Cup Series title Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, joining his father, Bill, as champions of stock-car racing’s top division. At 24 years, 11 months and 11 days old, Elliott became the third-youngest Cup Series champion in NASCAR history. Elliott, driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Racing, topped fellow finalists Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the season-ending race, held for the first time at the 1-mile Arizona oval.

* The checkered flag has waved on Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR career. After 19 complete seasons and 686 career starts, Johnson is retiring from full-time Cup Series competition. He goes down in the sport’s record book tied for most driver championships, matching only NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Johnson won a series-high five championships in a row.

Stay safe. Be Well.