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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Roundup - Week Ending January 2, 2021



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO January 3, 2021 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 January 2, 2021, 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.

* Happy New Year! We made it to 2021. Yay! 2020 was like driving through a long mountain tunnel as we looked ahead anxiously for some sign of light. Now we’re seeing it. Here’s to the return of auto shows, vintage car shows, concours events, motorsports with fans in the stands, cruise-in events, and all the car culture we have missed in 2020.

* 2021 brings along with it a goodby to a number of vehicles including: Acura RLX, Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, BMW i8, BMW M8 Coupe and Convertible, Buick Regal, Cadillac CT6, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Sonic, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Journey, Ford F-150 Raptor, Ford Fusion, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R, Honda Civic Coupe, Honda Civic Si, Honda Fit, Hyundai Elantra GT, Jaguar XE, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Kia Optima, Lexus GS, Lincoln Continental, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes-Benz SL, Mercedes-Benz SLC, and Toyota Yaris.

* We also get a slew of new vehicles this year: 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 2021 Volkswagen ID.4, 2021 Ford Bronco, 2021 Genesis GV80, 2022 Volkswagen Golf R, 2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD, 2021 Audi Q4 E-Tron, 2022 GMC Hummer EV SUT, 2021 Kia K5, 2021 Kia Seltos, 2021 Acura TLX, 2021 Genesis G80, 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburaan, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade, 2021 Toyota RAV 4 Prime, and more.

* Ford dedicated a significant portion of its media buy during Jan. 1 bowl games to a new ad called “Finish Strong,” which promotes mask-wearing and other safety measures, while foreshadowing better days ahead as vaccines distribution ramps up.

* 75 years ago this past week in Wolfsburg, Germany series production of the Volkswagen Beetle began. On December 27, 1945 (See Video Below) series production of the Volkswagen Limousine began. Referred to internally as “Type 1”, and later becoming world-famous as the “Beetle”, the vehicle’s unique success story started in Wolfsburg thanks to the strategic vision of British Major Ivan Hirst. In June 1945, the British Military Government Series assumed the trusteeship over Volkswagenwerk GmbH. Following the end of World War II, production of the Volkswagen Type 1 began with a plan to use the vehicle to perform urgently needed transport tasks within their occupation zone. Volkswagen discontinued production of the original VW Beetle in Mexico in 2003, after 21,529,464 vehicles had been manufactured, including about 15.8 million in Germany.

* Japan said it planned to stop the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by the mid-2030s. The plan follows similar moves by California and major European nations. Japan would still permit the sale of hybrid gasoline-electric cars after 2035. Toyota top executives have questioned the plan and the ability of the electric grid to handle the increased demand. However, executives do agree with the plan to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

* Our friends at The Detroit Bureau report carjacking was on the rise during 2020 in the U.S., according to a new report, and many are pointing the finger at the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons. The Chicago Police Department reported 502 carjackings in 2019. For 2020, the number is more than double, at 1,125 incidents. The Minneapolis Police Department reports carjackings have skyrocketed 537%. New Orleans are up 126%. Oakland police cite an increase of 38%. The Police Executive Forum, or PERF, revealed that crimes that involve vehicles, like carjackings and auto theft, are on the rise because, in part, there are fewer officers available to patrol as resources have been reallocated. And,because so many people are wearing masks due to the pandemic, people aren’t as wary of mask-wearing people approaching them and on the flip side, it makes it harder to track down suspects.

* reports: The Classic Car Trust refers to "The Key" as its magazine, but filling 274 pages would seem to move the annual publication into the category of a book, more precisely a yearbook of sorts for the collector car hobby and the list of the “Top 100 Collectors 2020.” For the first time the world’s No. 1 collector is from Europe, Evert Louwman, owner of more than 230 collector vehicles and the famed Louwman Museum in the Netherlands. The next four on the list are Americans — Arturo Keller, Ralph Lauren, Fred Simeone and Miles Collier. Next is William “Chip” Connor, an American born in Japan and based in Hong Kong. Five more Americans are next, in order: Rob Walton, Anne Brockington Lee, Laurence Auriana, Peter Mullin and Jon Shirley. Of the top-100, 57 are based in the United States, with 8 each in Switzerland and Germany, 6 in Italy and 4 in the UK.

* Auto racing lost Oscar Koveleski on Dec. 28 at the age of 88. Anthony Michael “Oscar” Koveleski was bitten by the racing bug at a young age. His first win came in a Sports Car Club of America Regional when he was 18 years old. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he raced in SCCA Regional and National events. He competed in the first 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966, as well as in the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1965. In August 1965, he teamed with Hal Keck to win the 500-mile race for production sports cars at Watkins Glen, New York, in a Shelby Cobra Ford. In 1970, he captured the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road Atlanta in A Sports Racing. From 1969 to 1972, he competed in the original Can-Am Series in his bright orange No. 54 car. In 2015, he was inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame. Koveleski founded Auto World in 1958, the model car and slot-racing car mail-order company.

* Sports car and IndyCar racer John Paul Jr died this week at age 60. Paul's racing career was impacted by involvement in his father's criminal ways and also by his battle with Huntington's disease. He was one of the stars of the IMSA GTP Championship in the early 1980s, winning Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours in 1982 with his father John Paul Sr and the family JLP Racing team on the way to taking the series title. His battles are shared in the Book "50/50" telling of his racing triumphs, legal troubles and the fight against Huntington's disease.

* The world's toughest and biggest rally, the Dakar Rally, will take place this week from Jan 3 t0 15 in Saudi Arabia. Starting the 43rd edition of this race and running the 8,000 km loop will be 268 vehicles, including 101 motorcycles, 16 quads, 64 cars, 64 lightweight vehicles and 44 trucks. A new Classic Class will also complete on the course of close to 5,000 miles.

Stay safe. Be Well.