NACTOY Finalists Announced at L.A. Auto Show

First Up 11/30/17

Mexico's Economy Minister Says the U.S. NAFTA Autos Proposal is "Not Viable"
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday that demands by the Trump administration for a U.S.-specific automotive content requirement in NAFTA was “not viable,” and declined to specify when Mexico would formally respond. Fortune reports that at a news conference following a series of meetings with senior U.S. trade officials and lawmakers in Washington, Guajardo said that Mexico was still trying to understand the U.S. proposals that would require 50 percent of vehicles’ value content be produced in the United States as part of updated North American Free Trade Agreement rules. “I was clear that the domestic content (requirement) is something that is not viable at this point,” Guajardo said. He added that Mexico would eventually make a counterproposal on automotive rules of origin, but declined to specify the timing of that response. Read more here

NACTOY Finalists Announced at L.A. Auto Show
Finalists for the 2018 North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year were announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. Car and SUV nominees pit new and old faces against one another, while Detroit automakers have a lock on Truck of the Year. According to The Detroit News, battling for Car of the Year will be the mid-size sedan titans Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Seeking to knock these perennial best-sellers off their perch will be the upstart Kia Stinger, the Korean brand’s new performance halo sedan. For the first time in the award’s history, no Detroit cars were eligible. American is over the moon for utes, and three strong entrants will vie for the crown: the Alfa Stelvio, the first luxury SUV from the Italian brand, resurgent Volvo’s XC60 and the Honda Odyssey minivan. Detroit iron dominates the Truck of the Year category. Finalists are the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. The latter plus-size SUVs are eligible because they are based on truck platforms. The NACTOY winners will be announced at the Detroit auto show in January. Read more here

UAW Caucus to Nominate New Leadership Slate for 2018 Election
Following failed organizing drives and an ongoing federal corruption probe, hundreds of UAW officials are expected to meet in Detroit this week to select a slate of candidates for the union’s 2018 elections, reports Automotive News. The UAW's Administrative Caucus – consisting of national and local officers and members – is scheduled to meet Thursday in Detroit to make its recommendations for leadership positions, including secretary-treasurer, vice presidents and president. The union has not made any official announcement about the event; three people familiar with the plans confirmed the scheduled leadership meeting to Automotive News. The meeting is part of the union's election process and not a result of recent lost organizing efforts or a widening federal investigation into the alleged misuse of $4.5 million in worker training funds from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles being used to line the pockets of union and company officials. Read more here

SUVs, From Budget to Luxury, are the Hot Item at the Los Angeles Auto Show 
In a state known for its love of sexy convertibles and electric cars, the focus of the Los Angeles Auto Show this week is on those road beasts once scorned as too big, thirsty, and ostentatious. According to USA Today, a raft of SUVs are being introduced, from compacts to showboats, and all that past animosity has disappeared. The new models, from Hyundai's Kona to Lexus' three-row RXL, are decidedly more fuel efficient than the land barges of the 1990s. And they are loaded with tech features and enough space to carry large families — or small ones — in comfort. Basically, they reflect sub-$3-a-gallon gas and the nation's buoyant economy. "It reflects the overall taste of in America," says Jessica Caldwell, analyst for "Every auto show from here on out, you are going to see more SUV's." The Los Angeles gathering is the start of an auto show season of that moves to Detroit in January, followed by Chicago and New York. That's a lot of sport utility vehicles. Will consumers tire of them? It appears unlikely. Read more here

Toyota Unveils SUV Concept with Removable Headlights for Hiking, Biking
Toyota unveiled an SUV concept at the LA auto show today that targets outdoor enthusiasts including cyclists and hikers, reports The Detroit Free Press. Called the Future Toyota Adventure Concept, or FT-AC, it could complement Toyota’s bestselling vehicle, the less adventurous RAV4 compact SUV. The exterior of the FT-AC has prominent black cladding around the wheel wells, 20-inch tires, metallic green paint with a white top, silver trim and a bike rack. The small SUV could offer a hybrid powertrain that blends fuel efficiency with all-wheel-drive. Toyota, which included a bike mounted on the prototype, has said the company views cyclists as a desirable consumer demographic in both attitude and financial capacity. Product information notes that fog lights can be taken out from their pods and used as portable lights or attached to a mountain bike for occasional night rides. Read more here.   

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Why Mercedes is Still Betting on the CLS Four-Door Coupe [Autoblog]