Auto Notes - March 2019
World Car. The World Car Awards announced the 10 finalists for 2019 World Car of the Year on Feb. 5. The Road to World Car began in September in Paris and had six days of testing in Los Angeles, Calif., in November.
In addition to the World Car of the Year award, winners in five categories (Luxury, Green, Performance, Urban, and Design) will be announced at the New York International Auto Show in April.
Out of 40 original entries, 86 automotive journalists selected the top 10 for World Car of the Year by secret ballot based on individual evaluation. Finalists are the Audi e-tron, BMW 3 Series, Ford Focus, Genesis G70, Hyundai Nexo, Jaguar I-PACE, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Suzuki Jimny, Volvo S60/V60, and Volvo XC40. Five finalists in each of the other categories were also announced Feb. 5. For complete details on the these awards, visit www.worldcarawards.com.
Tesla news. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla has not confirmed if all the Model 3 cars have been delivered to U.S. buyers who placed deposits on them during the past three years. “One would assume they have satisfied American customers since they are shipping Model 3s to Europe,” said an industry analyst.
On Feb. 4, it was reported that a ship containing some 3,000 Model 3s had arrived at the port in Zeebrugge, Belgium. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a January email to employees that Model 3 sales to the Europe and China markets would be critical to company profitability. Musk said the global demand for the Model 3 ranges between 700,000 and 800,000 units per year.
Tesla reported lower-than-expected earnings for fiscal Q4, but did show a profit. Many financial analysts have expressed concerns about the future of the company based on slower than expected production and delivery during the past two years, recent price changes (price cuts of $2,000 in the U.S. for all models as federal tax credits go away), and Model S and Model X product alterations (S and X with 75 kWh battery packs will no longer be made; only the new 100 kWh models will be offered at substantially higher prices, which may lessen the market of potential buyers).
35th anniversary. FCA US is celebrating 35 years of the minivan it created in 1984 with anniversary models of the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid, and Dodge Grand Caravan models. All three will be available at dealers by summer.
FCA has sold twice as many minivans as any other manufacturer over the past 35 years, and is the leader in minivan sales with a current 55 percent market share. The company has also innovated 115 minivan firsts, 37 of those from the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid.
The Pacifica has won more than 100 awards and accolades based on its advanced technology, functionality, versatility, and styling. “Today’s minivan is not the ‘Soccer Mom’ van of years ago,” said an automotive designer. “These are highly sophisticated and very usable vehicles that will continue to sell based on their attributes.”
Special edition Corvettes. Chevrolet recently announced the 2019 Corvette Driver Series special editions, designed in collaboration with the Corvette Racing Team.
Each of the four versions has a specific exterior color and unique graphics package inspired by Corvette Racing Drivers Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen, and Antonio Garcia.
Similar to the Corvette Racing C7.R race cars, the Grand Sport-based Drivers Series models feature a naturally aspirated V-8 engine. The 6.2-L LT1 engine is rated at 460 HP and features a dry-sump oiling system designed to support high-performance track driving.
The special editions will also feature more than a dozen unique features, including wide fenders and rear quarter panels, Bremco brakes, magnetic ride control with specific stabilizer bars, electronic limited-slip- differential, and more. The cars will be available this spring.
Hot seller. The first production 2020 Toyota GR Supra, dubbed “Global #1.” was sold at the 48th annual Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a whopping $2.1 million. All proceeds from the sale benefit the American Heart Association and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
The GR Supra made its world debut Jan. 14, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“Global #1” has the only VIN with 20201 with 2020 indicating the year the Supra was reintroduced to the world after 20 years, and “1” marking it as the first unit off the assembly line.