Auto Notes - March 2016
Top car and truck. The Honda Civic was named the 2016 North American Car of the Year at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, while the Volvo XC90 won the top spot in the Truck/Utility of the Year category. The Civic previously won in 2006 while the XC90 won in 2003.
This was the 23rd year the prestigious awards, voted on by 53 automotive journalists from Canada and the U.S., have been bestowed on automakers.
The Chevrolet Malibu and the Mazda MX-5 Miata were the other two finalists for the Car of the Year award, while Volvo faced off against the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Titan XD in the Truck/Utility of the Year category.
Obama visit. President Obama toured the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with 2016 NAIAS Chairman Paul Sabatini and UAW President Dennis Williams. It was President Obama’s first visit to NAIAS and only the third time a sitting president attended the show (Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 and Bill Clinton in 1999).
World car. While the North American awards for top vehicles are now known, on March 24 at the New York International Auto Show, the Road to the World Car Awards will be announced. In its 10th year of partnership with the New York show, the 2016 World Car Awards (WCA) will be presented for World Car of the Year, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Green Car, and World Car Design of the Year.
A jury of 73 international automotive journalists selected finalists for the awards and will secretly vote for the winners. Both vehicles that won the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are in the top five finalists in their category (Honda Civic Type R in Performance Car and Volvo XC90 in World Luxury Car).
Auction anniversary. Barrett-Jackson, the world’s leading collector-car auctioneers, announced that its 45th anniversary auction at its expansive corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a record-setting event for attendance and vehicle sales. At the end of the nine-day event 1,469 vehicles had crossed the blocks with final sales of $102 million. In addition, 1,400 pieces of automotive memorabilia sold for another $3 million.
Celebrities at the auction included the Zac Brown Band, which performed at the gala; rocker Ted Nugent; comedian and car collector Jay Leno; film director Michael Bay; actors Frankie Muniz and Burt Reynolds; plus racing legends Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Don Prudhomme, among others.
Sales highlights of the 45th anniversary affair included the famed “Serial One” Corvettes (1955, 1956, and 1957 with VIN No. 1) that sold as a trio for $1,815,000; a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach that was sold for $1,750,000, a new auction record; a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K, which raised $1,485,000; a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra Roadster CSX2495 that hit $797,500 on the block; a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am “Smokey and the Bandit” promo car that sold for $550,000; and a 1947 Talbot-Lago T26 Worblaufen Cabriolet, which hauled in $715,000.
In keeping with Barrett-Jackson’s long tradition of philanthropy, 11 vehicles that were auctioned throughout the event raised$3,406,000 for charitable causes. One of those auctioned was a 2017 Acura NSX VIN 001 that sold for $1.2 million and benefited the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground.
Toyota record. Calendar year 2015 marked record production for Toyota in North America as 2,035,028 vehicles and 1,933,702 engines were produced for the first time at various facilities. That represents a 38 percent increase from 2011 when Toyota produced 1,255,635 vehicles in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
Toyota highlights for 2015 include: the first U.S.-built Lexus at a plant in Kentucky; the all-new Tacoma began production at a plant in San Antonio, Texas; a plant in Indiana produced its four millionth engine; a plant in Alabama boosted its production capabilities and also built its four millionth engine; and plants in Mexico increased production elements for trucks.
In total, Toyota produces 14 models in North America at plants that employ some 40,000 workers.
Fuel-efficient. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in its most recent Light Duty Fuel Economy Trends report that Mazda Motor Corp. is the most fuel-efficient automaker in
the U.S. The report said that Mazda has the highest fleet-wide adjusted fuel economy (29.4 MPG) and the lowest CO2 emissions, at 328.