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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Digest - Week Ending November 21, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO November 22, 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 21, 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.

* A coalition of businesses — including big automotive and technology names such as Tesla Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. — announced the launch of an organization that will advocate for national policies aimed at achieving 100% adoption of electric vehicles by 2030. The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), a nonpartisan group based in Washington, D.C., is calling for an acceleration of the shift to electric vehicles, a transition the U.S. auto industry is in the early stages of making.

* In a presentation to financial analysts, GM said that it was expediting plans to introduce electric cars and trucks over the next five years, and expected to spend $27 billion by 2025 on the effort, up from a previous budget of $20 billion. CEO Mary Barra said GM aimed to introduce 30 electric models around the world by 2025, about 10 more than it had previously disclosed. Twenty will be available in the United States. 

* Reuters reports that electric vehicles got a lift from the governments of the U.K. and Germany. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a broad "green industrial revolution" policy that includes banning sales of petroleum-only combustion vehicles by 2030 (hybrids will be allowed.) Britain joins a growing list of countries (and California) in setting a deadline for the phase-out of petroleum burning vehicles. And in Germany, the government put forward a 3 billion euro package of EV subsidies, and extended through 2025 subsidies for consumers who buy EVs. The German consumer subsidies had been expected to end this year.

* Automotive News reports automakers including Nissan, Toyota and Ford will breathe a sigh of relief, for now, after the British government signaled that it will likely allow full hybrids to be sold for another five years after a ban on sales of new cars with gasoline and diesel engines. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government will bring forward a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars and vans to 2030 from 2035. He said the ban would come into effect five years later, in 2035, for hybrid cars and vans "that can drive a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe.

* Car and Driver has named its 10 Best Cars and Trucks for 2021. This year's winners include three vehicles with starting prices under $30,000, a full-size truck, a three-row family hauler, and the best deal among luxury autos. They've got sports cars, too, of course—three of 'em. Here's the link to see the ten:

* MotorTrend announced that the Mercedes-Benz E- Class lineup is the winner of MotorTrend's 2021 "Golden Calipers" for Car of the Year. Whether in sedan, wagon, coupe, or convertible form, be it straightforward transport or thrilling performance model, the E-Class reflects an excellence that is the industry benchmark. When evaluating this year's group of 18 new or redesigned vehicles, with 30 variants, for Car of the Year against the six key criteria, the E-Class was the clear winner for MotorTrend judges.

* Consumer Reports published its list of most reliable auto brands. Topping the charts is Mazda knocking Toyota to second followed by Lexus, Buick and Honda. Bringing up the rear is Ford, MINI, Volkswagen, Tesla and Lincoln.
* Honda revealed a new version of its popular Civic compact car on Twitch, a streaming and social media platform for video game players. Two-thirds of Twitch users are under the age of 35, according to Honda. The design of the 2022 Civic looks more restrained and upscale than the current model. It's intended to make the car appear larger than it is. New taillights, with a strong horizontal line, add an impression of width. It'll be on sale in late Spring 2021.

* The curtain rose on the all-new Infiniti QX55 SUV with global superstar Aloe Blacc joining Infiniti to uncover the brand's newest star during a unique performance from the iconic Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, produced by Live Nation Entertainment. 

* Jeep is bringing out the big guns. We got a look at the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 that is powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. It's the first eight-cylinder engine to appear in one of Jeep’s iconic open-top models since the 1981 CJ, which had a 125 hp 5.0-liter.

* Joe White for Reuters writes: Anyone who has experienced radar-enabled adaptive cruise control knows that after a few miles of the vehicle automatically maintaining a safe distance from the car ahead, and staying centered in the lane, your attention can....wander. Now, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the MIT AgeLab have done a study affirming that the more accustomed drivers get to quasi-automated driving tech, the more they reach for their phones or otherwise get distracted from the road. Sure, this looks like one of those "no kidding, Sherlock" findings, but the issue has serious implications for regulatory policy and manufacturers - especially in light of deadly crashes involving Tesla drivers using "Autopilot." Should systems that monitor driver attention (such as the camera monitoring GM uses in its SuperCruise system) be mandatory in all ACC equipped vehicles? The IIHS has urged that automakers install more safeguards. 

* The incredibly close link to motorsport found in the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series was impressively demonstrated by GT3 driver Maro Engel on the "North Loop" of the famous Nürburgring. With an officially measured, notarized and certified time of 6:43.616 min for the 12.8 mile-long track and 6:48.047 min for the 12.944 mile-long total track, the new V8 rocket is placed in the top group of the street-legal "sports cars" category and is number one among the fully standard, unmodified models.

* Lewis Hamilton's 94th career win in his Formula 1 career was extra special with a splash of magnificent. Hamilton's triumph in the F1 Turkish Grand Prix last Sunday clinched his seventh F1 championship, tying the mark set by the great Michael Schumacher. Schumacher won his seventh title in 2004. Both Schumacher and Hamilton won their seventh titles at age 35.

* Veteran sports car racer Jim Pace, who raced in the Rolex 24 at Daytona 18 times, died on Nov. 13 in Memphis, Tenn., after contracting the COVID-19 virus. He was 59. Pace was an 18-time participant in the Rolex 24 at Daytona from 1990-2016. He won in his first Rolex start, taking GTU honors and finishing 12th overall in a Team Highball Mazda RX-7. Pace had a decades-long relationship with the Skip Barber Racing School, including providing coaching and advice to top talents on their way to IndyCar and sports car careers.

Stay safe. Be Well.