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Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrapup - Week Ending November 28, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO November 29, 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 28, 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.

* Cox Automotive says U.S. auto sales for November are expected to show a market that is now weakening after months of recovery from April’s historic low seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The sales pace for light vehicles is expected to fall to 15.8 million this month, down from last year’s 17.0 million pace, but more importantly down from last month’s 16.2 million level. A decline in November would be the second monthly decline in a row after the market’s post-COVID‑19 peak of 16.3 million in September and suggests the market is weakening heading into the holiday season.

* The average U.S. regular retail gasoline price (the price that consumers pay at the pump) during the week before Thanksgiving this year was $2.10 per gallon, the lowest average retail gasoline price for the Monday before Thanksgiving since 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA). The American Automobile Association (AAA) expected a 4% decline in Thanksgiving holiday travel by automobile in 2020 compared with 2019. The decline is even sharper for air travel, which AAA expected to fall 48%, and for other travel (bus, train, cruise), which it expected to fall 76%.

* Automotive News reports that Cadillac is offering up to $500,000 to buy out dealers who don't want to make the investments required to sell and service the brand's soon-to-launch lineup of electric vehicles. Cadillac has offered to buy out dealers before, and still has 880 stories nationwide - a lot given the brand's sales. Cadillac stores sold an average of 176 vehicles each in 2019, according to Automotive News data. By comparison, BMW dealers averaged 933 vehicles a year and Lexus stores averaged over 1,200 vehicles per store. That low sales per franchise means many Cadillac dealers will struggle to come up with the $200,000 needed to install chargers and EV service equipment and training - investments that may not pay off in rural or ex-urban markets.

* GM has dropped its support for Trump climate rollbacks. General Motors abandoned President Trump’s battle to nullify California’s fuel economy rules meant to curb global warming, the strongest sign yet that corporate America is moving on from Mr. Trump and adapting to an incoming Democratic administration. The company also signaled that it was ready to work with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has promised swift action to reduce climate-warming emissions in the auto sector. Fiat Chryler, Toyota and ten smaller auto makers had also supported the Trump rollbacks. We haven't heard yet what their next move will be.

* Ford announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified range numbers for several variants of the all-electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E, meeting its targets. The premium extended-range rear-wheel-drive Mustang Mach-E meets its targeted EPA-estimated range of 300 miles, while the extended-range all-wheel-drive model meets its targeted EPA-estimated 270-mile range. Standard-range rear-wheel-drive Mustang Mach-E meets its targeted EPA-estimated range of 230-mile, while the standard-range all-wheel-drive model exceeds its 210 miles of targeted range, with an EPA-estimated range of 211 mile.

* Volkswagen of America, Inc., announced fuel economy figures for the 2021 ID.4 electric UV. The ID.4 1st Edition and Pro models have an EPA-estimated 250 miles of range on a single charge. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for city driving is 104 MPGe; highway driving is rated at 89 MPGe, and combined city/highway at 97 MPGe. At a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. Three years of fast charging with Electrify America at no additional cost.

* The U.S. Department of Transportation released the first-of-its-kind Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The goal is to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities on America’s roads. According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019 were pedestrians. In 2019—the most recent year for which data are available—6,205 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, 44 percent more than in 2010. The Plan will promote the expanded use of countermeasures, technology, and data-driven practices to address pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

* The U.S. is making GM recall 6 million pickups and UVs equipped with potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. NHTSA in announcing the decision said the recall will cost GM $1.2 billion. GM had petitioned the agency four times starting in 2016 to avoid a recall. The recall covers GM full size pickups and UVs from 2007 to 2014 model years

* Tesla is recalling the Model X and Model Y vehicles for issues related to errors during assembly. The Model X recall, which affects 9,136 cars, is for improperly-fitted "cosmetic appliqué" pieces at the front and center of the roof the could come loose. The Model Y recall is for bolts connecting suspension front upper control arm and the steering knuckle which may not have been torqued to proper specification.

* Visitors at a Canadian national park were greeted with a rather unusual digital road sign this weekend: “Do not let moose lick your car.” The signs were put up by officials of Jasper National Park, in the province of Alberta in Canada’s southwest, to try to stop moose from licking road salt off idling cars. A spokesman for the park, said that moose usually got their salt, a vital part of their diets, from salt licks — deposits of salt and minerals scattered throughout the park. But the animals discovered that they could get the mineral from cars splashed with road salt. So the moose would wander onto the roads running through the 2.8 million-acre park, increasing the chances of cars hitting them and drivers getting injured or killed.

* The 2021 Southeast Michigan Auto Show has been postponed to a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic. Local dealers participated in the first-ever event in January to fill the void made by the North American International Auto Show moving to June. The second annual Southeast Michigan show originally was scheduled for Jan. 15-17 in Novi, Michigan. A later date is yet to be announced.

* “Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020,” an exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts that highlights the relationship of art and car culture over the past 70 years, opened this month and runs through next June. A dozen autos, including production models and conceptual show cars, will be displayed alongside drawings and photographs from the design studios where the vehicles took shape. Paintings and sculptures intended to illuminate the relationship of art and car culture over the past 70 years will also be on display.

* The BFGoodrich SCORE Baja 1000 was won by the team of Luke McMillin and veteran Larry Roeseler Piloting their No.83 4WP BFGoodrich Ford Trophy-Truck. This was the 53rd edition of this storied off-road marathon. The final entry list for the race had 187 vehicles from 26 states and 14 countries. all taking the green flag at an Ensenada starting line with no spectators due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

* Formula 1 racing this season was ripe with complaints of Mercedes winning over and over. Well perhaps here's a reason why. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says his team's F1 cars are as much as 50 horsepower behind Mercedes. A new engine specification will be used in 2021. Perhaps things will even out.

Stay safe. Be Well.