Nutson's Auto News Nuggets- Week Ending November 9, 2019
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending November 9, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
* Sales of light vehicles totaled 16.5 million at an annual rate in October, down from a 17.1 million pace in September. That puts the light-truck share at 73.7 percent, completely dominating the car share of 26.3 percent. With buyers shifting from sedans to more expensive sport utility vehicles and pickups, the average transaction price for new models is expected to top $34,000 for the first time ever, rising almost $1,300 from a year ago.
* While working to lock in new contracts with the Detroit auto makers the UAW is under intense scrutiny by federal investigators for corruption. UAW President Gary Jones is taking a leave of absence as the federal corruption probe into the union's top leadership escalates. The paid leave was effective a day before voting on a new contract began among Ford's UAW employees. Sources say a message, described as shocking, was sent from the office of the president addressed to UAW staff personnel requesting a leave. It was granted by the union's International Executive Board. There are about 500 UAW staffers nationwide.
* Reuters reports that debt rating agency Moodys issued a sobering appraisal of the auto industry's prospects in a low carbon future. Half of the legacy industry needs a "sharp increase" in capital spending to make the transition to selling 25% electrified cars by 2030 - the International Energy Agency's target to counter climate change. Only six automakers are in a "strong position," according to Moodys: Tesla, Beijing Automotive Group, BMW, Geely, Honda and Toyota.
* GM is selling its massive Lordstown Ohio assembly plant to an electric truck maker. The plant once 4,500 employed workers. GM ended production there in March after 50 years of building cars. The electric truck maker will initially hire about 400 workers.
* Tesla's Model 3 sedan has been approved by New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission as the first all-electric model for use in the iconic fleet. But with a legal limit on the number of existing medallions, someone would have to purchase the right to operate a taxi before affixing it to their Tesla. Surprisingly, no Tesla vehicles are registered as for-hire vehicles or cabs in New York City, public records show, despite the Model 3 being an approved model for both Uber and Lyft.
* Ferrari and Armani are partnering to make clothes. Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri said the collaboration is part of the luxury carmaker’s long-term plan to extend its reach well beyond the race track. Camilleri told analysts it is a company goal to make 10 percent of its earnings (before interest and taxes) come from three new lifestyle pillars––apparel, luxury services and entertainment––within the next seven to 10 years
* Just in time for Spring! Due to the 40-day UAW strike, production of the new mid-engine Corvette C8 will be delayed from December until late February, according to GM. That means customer deliveries likely will start in early March. Chevrolet says the $59,999 Corvette will go from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds when equipped with the $5,000 Z51 performance package. The Corvette will cover the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds with a speed of 121 mph.
* The 2019 SEMA show took place this week in Las Vegas. Automakers, custom shops, and aftermarket accessory and parts makers flocked to Vegas along with loads of car culture fans. There was lots of off-road gear, Ford's new Bronco R prototype Baja 1000 entry, a 1000HP all-electric Mustang, Dodge's latest Challenger Drag Pak factory built dragster, Chevy's E10 electric pickup hot rod and loads more.
* Wow, wow, wow! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been sold to the Penske Corporation. According to a news release, "The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company announced the sale of the company and certain subsidiaries, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (IMS Productions), to Penske Entertainment Corp., a subsidiary of Penske Corporation." The iconic speedway has been in control of the Hulman family for 74 years.
* At the F1 US Grand Prix in Austin, TX Lewis Hamilton won his sixth world title. Hamilton finished second behind his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in Austin to secure his sixth title. He is one short of matching the seven world titles of Michael Schumacher.
* Watch NASCAR this weekend as this Phoenix race determines the four contenders for this year's championship. Martin Truex, Jr and Kevin Harvick are locked in. Two more will come from among Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott.