AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO February 14, 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 February 13, 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.
* As reported by the Detroit Free press, GM paid more than $7.5 million for a 60-second Super Bowl ad. Ford hijacked the buzz. GM released a 90-second version of the TV spot that features actor and comedian Will Ferrell. In the commercial, he hates Norway. He discovers the tiny European country far outpaces the U.S. in electric vehicle adoption. But the Ford team in Norway couldn’t just sit back and let it go. They clapped back on Twitter. Ford created a 23-second spot to the backdrop of James Bond-style music that features Mustang Mach-E UVs driving the streets of Norway and delivering pizzas around Oslo, spotlighting the company that not only sells in Europe now (GM doesn’t) and sells to Norwegians now (GM doesn’t) but currently is delivering an all-new all-electric vehicle now (GM doesn’t).
* Reuters reports the global semiconductor shortage is causing more damage. General Motors said it will have to halt operations at three North American assembly plants into mid-March, and park vehicles built at other plants until chips can be installed. Separately, Honda and Nissan said chip shortages will cut a total of 250,000 vehicles from fiscal year sales – equivalent to one assembly plant’s output for a year. In France, industry and government officials held a crisis meeting to discuss what to do about the chip drought.
* Audi revealed the production version of its all-electric 2022 4-seat e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT. Audi says the cars will be available in the US market this summer. Prices are $99,900 for the e-tron GT quattro Premium Plus, $107,100 for the e-tron GT quattro Prestige, and $139,900 for the RS e-tron GT.
* Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) rolled its 30 millionth U.S.–assembled vehicle off the line this week at its Princeton, Indiana manufacturing plant tucked away in the southwest corner of the state. In a fitting tribute, that “milestone” vehicle was the most recent major model redesign by Toyota to hit the market – the all-new, all-hybrid 2021 Toyota Sienna minivan. For more than 60 years Toyota has been growing its presence in the U.S. with a commitment to invest locally and assemble cars where they are sold. Toyota began U.S. production in 1986 when it started manufacturing Corollas at its joint venture, New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. Since that time, Toyota grew to include 10 plants in the U.S. and 14 in North America.
* Reuters report that the European Union should act to assure that there are 1 million public EV charging points by 2024, roughly five times the current number, the European auto industry’s main trade group said. By 2029, the EU should have 3 million public charging stations to support its EV adoption goals. ACEA President and BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said without substantial expansion of EV charging capacity, the EU auto sector will struggle to meet the bloc’s CO2 reduction targets (and risk fines.)
* Shell plans to roll out 500,000 electric charging stations in just four years is the latest sign of an EV charging infrastructure boom. Shell already has electric vehicle charging infrastructure that it has deployed in some markets. Back in 2019 the company acquired the Los Angeles-based company Greenlots, an EV charging developer. And earlier this year Shell made another move into electric vehicle charging with the acquisition of Ubitricity in the U.K.
* Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that Cars.com has named the 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Family Car of the Year. The Atlas beat out nominees Ford Expedition and Kia Telluride for the top honor of Cars.com 2021 Family Car of the Year.
* And in the ongoing auto show rescheduling scene: 2021 AutoMobility LA—LA Auto Show’s press/trade event—has been rescheduled to take place November 17-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Immediately following AutoMobility LA, the LA Auto Show will open its doors to the public November 19-28. The show was to be held in May.
* The Cleveland Auto Show, a long-time, popular event at the I-X Center, is moving to the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland in December. Show organizers announced that the event will run Saturday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 12. The event traditionally has been held in late February, but was postponed this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the abrupt closure of the I-X Center last fall.
* Motorweek presented its 2021 Drivers Choice Awards. Drivers’ Choice Awards are for the cars and trucks they would like to have parked in their driveway, or at least dream about owning. Presented annually since 1983, the complete list is here: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2021/02/11/960338-motorweek-presents-2021-drivers-choice-awards.html
* The Peninsula Hotels, whose international hospitality brand has epitomized glamour and luxury for nearly a century, announced the winner of its sixth annual classic car showcase, The Peninsula Classics 2020 Best of the Best Award. The winning car, the 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza, coachwork by Scaglietti, has achieved distinction both for its impressive racing history and its exacting restoration. It became eligible as a Best of the Best Award contender after winning Best of Show at the 2020 Palm Beach Cavallino Classic. The 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza was chosen from a selection of four nominees crafted by automakers from Italy, Germany, and the United States, including a 1969 Porsche 917 KH Coupé, coachwork by the Factory, 2020 Best of Show, Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace, 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider, coachwork by Zagato, 2020 Best of Show, Salon Privé and a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Town Limousine, coachwork by Murphy, 2020 Best of Show, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
* Porsche claimed another obscure world speed record. Porsche has done it again, set a Guinness World Record in a category no one knew about, nor seemingly had an interest in. This time it was for an indoor land speed record, which Porsche says was set by Leh Keen in an electric-powered Taycan Turbo S, which reached 102.6 mph recently inside the New Orleans Convention Center. Porsche said the former indoor speed record was 86 mph.
* Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso was involved in cycling accident in Switzerland. Alonso, 39, who has a residence in Lugano, Switzerland, is returning to Formula in 2021 with the Alpine F1 team. Following his cycling accident Alonso was kept under observation in hospital in Switzerland. Medics discovered a fracture in his upper jaw and conducted a successful corrective operation. The attending medical team are satisfied with his progress.
* Chevrolet will pace all three NASCAR national touring series races this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Each season-opening race will be paced by a different Chevrolet model powered by a distinct variant of Chevy’s famed 6.2L small block V-8 engine with ties to Chevrolet Cup Series racing engines. Chevrolet’s three pace vehicles will produce a cumulative 1370 horsepower.
* Alex Bowman earned the pole position for the 2021 Daytona 500 giving the Hendrick Motorsports driver a record fourth consecutive front row start in the NASCAR Cup Series season-opener. Bowman, 27, went out late in the qualifying order (38th of 44 drivers) Wednesday night – the first night-time pole qualifying session in race history – but his Chevrolet handily set the pace with a lap of 191.261 mph (47.056 secs.), taking the top-spot from Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron by more than a quarter-second. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola was third fastest in the No. 10 Ford followed on the speed chart by Bubba Wallace, who earned rave reviews in his debut driving the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota, which is co-owned by three-time and defending Daytona 500 winning driver Denny Hamlin and NBA Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan.
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