First 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition Sells for $2.5 Million

AutoInformed.com on First 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition

As Carroll Shelby once told me about Le Mans: “We spent a ton of old man Ford’s money and kicked Ferrari’s ass.” Edsel Ford had a part time job in Shelby’s shop.

The Ford GT Heritage Edition with the famous Gulf racing theme that honors motorsport victories was bought by Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports owner for $2.5 million as the gavel fell Saturday at the 48th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. (Carroll Shelby – Sports Car Racer and Builder – Dead at 89)

The breathtaking return for a production car followed the auction on Friday of the first 2020 VIN 001 of the Mustang Shelby GT500 for $1.1 million. Ford will donate in total $3.6 million to two long-time charity partners – $1.1 million to JDRF, for funding type 1 diabetes research and $2.5 million to support United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Continue reading

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In the Weeds – Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis

AutoInformed.com on Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana The growing legalization of marijuana begs the question of safety on our roads. Everyone should know that driving under the influence is not only dangerous, but illegal. Close to Detroit, according to a recent Ipsos study commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association South Central Ontario, 48% of current cannabis users (people who have used cannabis in the past 3 months), have driven while high. Both alcohol and cannabis affect attention span, judgment, motor skills, reaction time, decision-making and coordination. (caasco.com/cannabis)

Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal in all 50 states and D.C., but determining impairment is tough. Unlike alcohol, the amount of marijuana present in a person’s body doesn’t consistently relate to impairment. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. A positive test for THC and its active metabolite doesn’t mean the driver was impaired at the time of the crash. Habitual users of marijuana may have positive blood tests for THC days or weeks after using the drug. Marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal law. Continue reading

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VW Plans Electric Record Run on Nürburgring-Nordschleife

AutoInformed.com on Volkswagen Volkswagen I.D. R

Aerodynamics is crucial. Unlike Pikes Peak, which starts at  more than 9,000 feet and ends at 14,115 feet, the Nordschleife winds its way through the Eifel region between 1,050 and 2,024 feet above sea level.

After the record-breaking run at the famous Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the ID. R -Volkswagen’s fully-electric sports car- is looking for a lap record in the summer of 2019 for electric cars on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, one of the most challenging racetracks in the world. The current record for fully-electric vehicles stands at 6:45.90 minutes—at an average speed of almost 115 mph—and was set in 2017 by Britain’s Peter Dumbreck in a NIO EP9. (AutoInformed NextEV NIO EP9 – World’s Fastest EV?)

The ID. R is the marketing amperage behind an entire range of electric vehicles that Volkswagen plans to launch from 2020 onwards. The ID. R’s motorsport ventures – arguably – show the huge potential power that e-drive can deliver on prosaic, possibly gridlocked roads in the future. Continue reading

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Chevy Unveils Life-Size LEGO Replica of New 2019 Silverado

AutoInformed.com Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet

LEGO replica of the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss.

Chevrolet unveils an exact life-size LEGO replica of the all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss Saturday, January 19, 2019, just prior to the pubic opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Eighteen LEGO Master Builders spent more than 2,000 hours putting the 334,544 piece LEGO Silverado together. Continue reading

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700 Horse Shelby GT500 Strongest Street-Legal Ford Ever

AutoInformed.com

The 2019 GT350 is more than $60,000. The GT500 all-optioned out could be in the +$90,000 range.

The all-new Shelby GT500 – arguably the best pony car ever engineered by Ford Performance – has more than 700 horsepower, which for the moment results in the quickest street-legal acceleration and most high-performance technology to date ever offered in a Ford Mustang.

“Carroll was always working on the next faster Shelby, I think he would love this Mustang more than any other,” said Jim Farley, Ford president, global markets. (Fresh Colors for 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang) Continue reading

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Final Winter NAIAS Charity Preview Raises $4,000,000

AutoInformed.com on NAIAS 2019 Charity PreviewThe last Charity Preview During a Detroit January, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) tonight marked its 30th anniversary celebration by raising $4,028,800 for children’s charities at a black-tie party. A total of 10,072 people attended and raised a glass to commemorate the end of an era and the dawn of a new day for the NAIAS and the Charity Preview. Continue reading

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No Recharging or Refueling Infrastructure for Euro Trucks Exist

AutoInformed.com

The required infrastructure is almost completely absent today. The upshot is a failed regulation even if all embrace it.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (aka ACEA) has published data on the “severe lack of recharging and refueling infrastructure suitable for electric and other alternatively-powered trucks” in the EU as regulation requiring their use advances.

AutoInformed views this under the category of “legislate in haste; repent during the long leisure” of the unemployed workers caused by ruined economies. Continue reading

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Weak Ford 2018 Financial Results Prove Need for Shakeup

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) preliminary Q4 2018 results declined significantly at -$116,000,000 from Q4 2017. The -2,636,000,000 swing to the worse year-over-year saw Ford Communications saying the unmitigated disaster “highlighted its commitment to reinvent the future of mobility by transforming the company through operational fitness and allocating capital to high-growth and high-margin product segments and smart vehicles and services.” Preliminary results for full-year 2018 earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.92 and adjusted EPS of $1.30 are in line with the company’s most recent guidance. The company ended the year with cash of $23.1 billion and liquidity of $34.2 billion.

AutoInformed.com on Ford Motor Results Q4 and Full Year 2018

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The spin was presented at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit on Tuesday where Ford also provided high-level guidance (translation soft numbers with many SEC caveats) for 2019. Ford also listed areas of strategic moves – or damage control a actions- going on throughout the company in its latest reorganization. (Ford to Restructure European Business Once Again, Volkswagen and Ford Announce Alliance Without Cross Equity)

Wall Street appeared unimpressed with the stock trading at ~$8 per share –  down from more than ~$13 a share five years ago. This occurred, lest we forget, after four straight years of strong or record sales in the U.S. – Ford’s most important and profitable market. Economic growth in the U.S. is four months shy from setting a record as the longest expansion in U.S. history. Continue reading

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Facebook Users Unaware the Social Media Site Categorizes Their Interests and Political Leanings for Sales Use

AutoInformed.com on Facebook Privacy Invading User Categories

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With a growing public debate over Facebook’s use of personal data as a backdrop, a new Pew Research Center survey of Facebook users finds that most do not know the platform lists their interests for advertisers, and half are uncomfortable with these lists.

The study comes at a time when the FTC  is reportedly considering fines of millions upon millions of dollars for Facebook privacy violations. Google at $22 million currently holds the record for illegal privacy actions. (See Cambridge Analytica on the egregious political use of Facebook data)

Roughly half of users say they are not comfortable when they see how Facebook categorizes them, while a share believe their political leanings are not described appropriately. Continue reading

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Autonomous Vehicle System Oops! New 2019 Lincoln Nautilus Recall for Hands On/Off Detection Warnings

AutoInformed.com on Lincoln Nautilus 2019 Model

The oft repeated proposition that autonomous vehicles will be safer is just a theory with little data supporting the widely promoted belief at this point.

Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for 2019 Lincoln Nautilus vehicles equipped with lane-centering assist and adaptive front steering because these vehicles may not detect if a driver has his or her hands off the steering wheel. Lincoln promotes these as advanced safety features. Ford claims it is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from this safety defect.

If this safety defect occurs, the hands on/off detection system may not alert the driver to place his or her hands back on the steering wheel, which could increase the risk of a crash. Such systems are building blocks for autonomous vehicles. Dealers will update the power steering control module software in affected vehicles. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S02. Continue reading

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New Michigan Transportation Projects Increase Mobility

AutoInformed.com on Michigan Mobility Challengee

“We have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to advance our state’s technology and automotive landscape in a way that also improves the quality of life for countless individuals in Michigan.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the final round of pilot projects to receive funding under the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge initiative today at the North American International Auto Show.

The Challenge grants are said to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state, with projects in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, the Central Upper Peninsula and Southeast Michigan receiving funding in this second round. Continue reading

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Unifor Inteva Plant Walks Out Against GM Until Tomorrow Night

AutoInformed.com on Unifor versus GM

This might be a textbook case of why an even-to-low probability – specifically a major disruption to GM business in Canada – is not zero probability as GM thought and, worse, acted.

Unifor represented workers at Inteva Products in Whitby Canada walked off the job today at 8:30 am today in protest of GM’s plan to end production at Oshawa Assembly after December 2019. (GM Rejects Unifor Proposals for Oshawa Plant Closing)

The interior products plant supplies car components to two GM assembly plants – Oshawa and Detroit-Hamtramck. Both plants are targeted for closure as part of GM’s November 26, 2018 restructuring announcement. Ultimately 24,000 jobs are at stake. (Unifor Blasts GM Canada Closings) Continue reading

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GM to Federal and Ontario Governments – Oshawa Doomed

AutoInformed.com on Unifor Demonstation in Ontario across from Cobo Hall and The 2019 North American International Autoshow

Unifor protest in Ontario across from Cobo Hall and the 2019 North American International Autoshow.

During in meetings in Detroit around the North American International Auto Show, GM told the Canadian federal and Ontario governments that it intends to continue to be a major manufacturer in Canada with its Ingersoll and St Catharines plants and continue to expand next generation automotive engineering, software and testing work in Oshawa, Markham, Kapuskasing and soon in the Toronto Portlands. Continue reading

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Volkswagen and Ford Announce Alliance Without Cross Equity

AutoInformed.com on Ford Stock 2007-Jan 2019

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Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Company today announced the first formal agreements in a broad alliance that has far reaching implications in Europe, South America and Africa. Volkswagen AG CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett during a joint conference call said the companies will first deliver medium pickup trucks for global customers starting in 2022. They intend to follow with commercial vans in Europe. Equity markets were neutral immediately after the announcement.

The history of such industry collaborations is difficult and littered with road kill. The problem is whether the two global giants and hundreds of thousands of workers can walk in step together or stumble over each other.
Continue reading

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Japanese Pony Car – 2020 Toyota Supra NAIAS World Debut

AutoInformed.com on Akio Toyoda. President Toyota Motor Corporation. at 2019 North American International Auto Show.

Akio Toyoda, President Toyota Motor Corporation, at 2019 North American International Auto Show.

The fifth-generation GR Supra, the first global Toyota GAZOO Racing model, made its undisguised world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today. The 2020 Supra goes on sale in summer of 2019 and will be available in two grades – 3.0 and 3.0 Premium. There will also be a profit improving Launch Edition based on the 3.0 Premium grade. The rear-wheel drive design that honors Toyota sports car heritage with its low center of gravity and optimal weight balance. There is a link to Toyota’s 1967 2000 GT and 1993-2002 Supra in both design and configuration.

The 2020 model Supra claims to be a forward-looking sports car, brimming with advanced powertrain, chassis and multimedia technology. The 2020 model will be powered by a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The new Supra’s 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo six will produce 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque and mated with a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Toyota President Akio Toyoda tested the Supra on the Nürburgring and other racing venues to give his personal feedback, but Toyota didn’t reveal his lap times. Continue reading

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