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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - December 13-19, 2020



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO December 20, 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 December 19, 2020; Below are 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 Ford Trends Report finds more than 1 in 4 adults globally who own a vehicle say they use their vehicle to relax. Close to 1 in 5 say they use their vehicle to find privacy. And 17% say they use it as a place to work. A majority of vehicle owners said they couldn't imagine life without a personal vehicle, but of those who said the pandemic has caused them to rethink how many vehicles they need, 60% said they could use fewer vehicles.

* Consumers are interested in EVs, but charging still a sticking point, a survey shows. A new survey by Consumer Reports shows 7 in 10 U.S. drivers are interested in getting an electric vehicle at some point, although cost, range and charging remain barriers. More than 70 percent of those surveyed agree EVs would reduce air or climate (read:noise) pollution, and that automakers should offer other vehicle types, such as plug-in electric pickups and SUVs, alongside their car EV models.

* NACTOY jury voting for the 2021 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Finalists is in and has been tallied and audited by Deloitte in Detroit. The selection of nine finalists is the second-to-last step in the year-long evaluation process for the three awards before jurors vote and announce winners on January 11. Here are this year’s finalists: - CAR OF THE YEAR: Genesis G80, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra - TRUCK OF THE YEAR: Ford F-150, Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Ram 1500 TRX - UTILITY VEHICLE OF THE YEAR: Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis GV80, Land Rover Defender

* President-elect Biden's new Secretary of Transportation will be former South Bend, Indiana mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. “Mayor Pete” will have a lot on his plate, such as fuel economy, safety standards, EVs, autonomous vehicles and highway, airport, railway and infrastructure funding. In South Bend Buttigieg implemented a "Smart Streets" initiative to slow traffic on major roadways in the city's downtown while making them pedestrian friendly.

* The U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released the 2021 Fuel Economy Guide. The Guide provides detailed fuel economy estimates for model year 2021 light-duty vehicles, along with estimated annual fuel costs and other information for prospective car buyers. The online guide is updated weekly to include data for new vehicles.

* A Chicago-suburb couple love dining out. To support restaurants and bars during Covid-19 they turned their Ford Transit Connect van into a mobile dining room. A 4-foot table complete with red and white checkered table cloth just inside the rear doors and a string of lights provides the perfect dining room as they park in restaurant parking lots and enjoy their meal.

* In the wake of a corruption probe, the UAW has agreed to an independent Federal monitor who will watch finances and operations and decide how they pick future leaders under a reform agreement with the U.S. attorney's office. The Federal probe has ended but investigators are still pursuing individuals. The probe has led to 11 convictions including two former union presidents. The UAW will pay $1.5 million in fines.

* A new Alfa Romeo 4C Tributo will pay homage to the legendary 33 Stradale, with exclusive Rosso Villa d’Este tri-coat paint, gray-gold 5-hole alloy wheels and black-and-tobacco interior. Hand-made in Italy, only 33 of this special edition vehicles will be produced for the North American market.

* Honda is recalling over 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. to fix drive shafts that can break, window switches that can overheat and a software flaw. The software recall affects 737,000 Accords from 2018 to 2020 and Insights from 2019 and 2020. The drive shaft recall cover 430,000 Honda Civics, Fits and Accords and the Acura ILX. They're from models years 2007 to 2015 and in 22 states where salt is used on the roads. And, 268,000 CR-Vs from 2002 to 2006 are included in the power window switch recall.

* The Central Florida International Auto Show — the first auto show in the nation since the pandemic began — got underway on Friday in Orlando, Florida. Masks required, social distancing markers, car-sanitizing crews, and before you even get in -- you have to be screened. Everyone going into the show has their temperature scanned to make sure they don’t have a fever. The car show was originally scheduled for September and pushed back until now.

* So here's a new twist on auto shows. It was announced that the Twin Cities Auto Show will be held May 13-23, 2021 at the Minnesota State Fair. According to Greater Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association there will be more space for interactive experiences and other displays across the fairgrounds. So yes, it's outdoors.

* The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has announced another scholarship program with the establishment of the John Lamm Scholarships to support students in the field of automotive communications. The concours already presents annual automotive restoration and design scholarships in the names of Phil Hill and Jules and Sally Heumann. “In addition to creating and caring for great cars, we need people who can capture their stories and convey them to future generations,” said Concours chairman Sandra Button. “That’s what John did so well for decades, with camera and pen and computer."

* Porsche will make its return to the endurance top class (Hypercar) with a LMDh prototype in 2023. Porsche aims to battle for victories both in the FIA WEC and in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary is in 2023.

* Autoweek reports that the Grand Prix of Long Beach has been rescheduled for Sept. 26 due the COVID-19 pandemic. The legendary street course race was originally scheduled for April 18, but the new date will make it the NTT IndyCar Series season finale. It also creates a three-race, three weekend west coast swing to conclude the season. That starts at Portland on Sept. 12, Laguna Seca on Sept. 19 and then Long Beach.

Stay safe. Be Well.