Nutson's Nuggets - Weekly Automotive News Factoids March 14-20 2021
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending March 20, 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.
* A group of automakers told President Biden's administration it would agree to raise mileage standards to reduce tailpipe emissions but with a trade-off and at rates lower than those brokered with California. If agreed to the proposal would give President Biden a quick win by securing cuts in greenhouse gas emissions rather than waiting months. The deal would incentives auto makers to get more electric vehicles on the road.
* Gasoline prices have been rising and may hit $3.00 per gallon by summer. Factors causing the rise include the Texas deep freeze last month that shut down refineries, fears over recent tensions in the Middle East, refusal by oil producing nations to pump more oil into the world market and optimism that Covid-19 vaccines will boost confidence and lead to a big summer driving season.
* No chips! General Motors said it will build certain 2021 light-duty full-size pickups without a fuel management module starting now until the end of the model year in late summer. The goal is to keep pickups rolling off the assembly line despite a global shortage of semiconductor chips used in the modules. But the result is those affected pickups will not achieve top fuel economy performance. This means 2021 light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups equipped with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine with both six-speed and eight-speed automatic transmissions will have lower EPA fuel economy ratings by one mile per gallon. Also of note, Volkswagen's CEO said the German automaker will lose 100,000 vehicles of production because of chip shortages.
* Ford said it will assemble F-150 pickups without certain control modules, and hold them until the chips come in. Ford is also idling two assembly plants completely because of supply chain disruptions cutting off supplies of semiconductors and petroleum-based products. The latter are in short supply after winter storms disabled Texas refineries. The litany of auto plant shutdowns related to supply chain problems continues to grow.
* U.S. News & World Report announced the 2021 Best Cars for Families. U.S. News evaluated 86 vehicles and named winners across nine categories. Toyota won the most awards this year with four, and Honda won three. Kia and Chevrolet each won one award. Best 3-Row SUV for Families: 2021 Kia Telluride. Best Compact SUV for Families: 2021 Toyota RAV4. Best Minivan for Families: 2021 Honda Odyssey. For more go to: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2021/03/16/976040-u-s-news-announces-2021-best-cars-for-families.html
* Taking that trail over the mountain and through the woods won't provide a getaway. Ford unveiled the all-new 2021 F-150 Police Responder, America’s only purpose-built, pursuit-rated pickup truck. Now with a top speed of 120 mph and available Police Engine Idle, which lets an officer remove the key and securely exit the running truck without losing power to lights and sirens. New automatic four-wheel-drive mode and torque-on-demand transfer case constantly adjusts torque to front and rear wheels as needed to improve performance and handling on dry pavement, while increasing traction on wet, slick and less stable surfaces for a more seamless transition between on- and off-road driving.
* GM and VW are moving quickly to transition to making mostly battery electric powered vehicles...a BEV. Their goal is to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles. BMW said they too will speed up the transition to BEVs. However, BMW said they will adjust production among battery, hybrid and efficient internal combustion engines as different parts of the world adopt BEVs at different rates.
* VW began a cross-country drive in the new VW ID.4 battery electric crossover. It's being driven from New York City to Sacramento stopping to recharge at the Electrify America Level 3 DC charging stations that quickly charge the battery up to 80% capacity in about 25 minutes. The new VW is rated at 250 miles on a full charge. We caught up with the team in Chicago as the "refilled" for the next day's drive.
* Electric vehicle maker Rivian will put public charging stations in every Colorado state park at no cost to the state, with the first installations planned for July, after the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved the proposal. Rivian will install the stations at each of Colorado’s 42 state parks at no charge, as state officials move to expand electric grid needed for changeover from gas to electric cars. The project aims to install two Rivian Level 2 chargers, which would be universally compatible with all EV makes and models in the U.S. The state’s emissions reduction plan commits to getting nearly 1 million EVs on Colorado roads by 2030, as part of an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.
* Both GM and Ford have announced plans for the return of office workers to the workplace. Like most every company, a hybrid work week is the new reality with a combination of work-from-home and in-office presence. GM is moving staffs to different work locations to accommodate needs. Ford is telling staffers they will not have their own personal workstation. Is it the end of the corner office?
* Smile you're on Candid Camera. Reuters reports people who visit or work in Chinese military facilities or certain other state-owned enterprises may not drive in with their Teslas, according to an order first reported by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. The directive appears to reflect concerns that the onboard cameras are sending images and other data back to the United States. The order surfaced at the same time as top U.S. and Chinese diplomats were squaring off in Alaska. By coincidence -- or not - Elon Musk was scheduled to address a state-hosted economic conference in Beijing via video. It isn't clear whether the diplomatic tensions and the Chinese military's Tesla ban were directly related. But the action does underscore a challenge for automakers as they outfit vehicles with increasingly sophisticated image and geo-location sensors to enable automated driving and other connected features. The Chinese military represents the outer limits of privacy concerns - but is by no means alone in not wanting images of facilities, equipment or people being harvested and sent here and there without permission. Anyone who's walked into an automaker's design studio knows this. Your smartphone is usually confiscated at the door. Now your car is a smartphone. Please leave it outside the gate.
* The Philadelphia Auto Show officially announced the postponement of their show until 2022. Show organizers spent the last few months seeing if they could potentially host viable events in both June ’21 and again in January ‘22. They've decided it’s best to host the next show in January.
* Colorado Automobile Dealers Association President Tim Jackson says the Denver Auto Show is slated to return in September 15-19, 2021 as an outdoor event with a number of safety measures in place for attendees.The event was cancelled in 2020 having been initially scheduled April 2-5, and then postponed to August.
* Nissan is recalling nearly 127,000 Altima and Titan vehicles for tire failure risk. Sidewalls in the overcured tires could break, leading to rapid air loss. Belt edge separation may also occur, which could lead to tread and belt loss.
* Hyundai has issued a recall for 94,646 of its sedans, including the 2015–2016 Hyundai Genesis sedan and the 2017–2020 Genesis G80. The sedans have been recalled due to the risk of a short circuit in the ABS module leading to a fire. The South Korean automaker said it was aware of five vehicle fires related to the defect in the U.S. and other foreign markets.
* The world has another racing power couple. NASCAR Hall-of-Famer and team owner Tony Stewart, 49, and NHRA Dodge/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster and Dodge Factory Super Stock pilot Leah Pruett, 32, are now engaged. The news was shared on the racers' social platforms.
* Sabine Schmitz, the pioneering female racer and only woman to have won the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race, has passed away at the age of 51. The German racer, affectionately nicknamed by many as the ‘Queen of the Nurburgring’, revealed last year that she was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. She twice won the 24-hour race at the fabled Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in a BMW M3, and raced a Porsche in the same event in 2008 to finish third. Schmitz was also known for her appearances on British motoring show Top Gear, in which she famously attempted to lap a Ford Transit van around the 15-mile circuit under 10 minutes.
* Cameron Andrew Coker, a computer expert who later became involved in his family's collector car business, has died from an auto accident. Coker, 36, was the son of Corky and Theresa Coker. Mr. Coker completed his university studies and worked in the computer field. After a number of years he decided to return to Chattanooga and join his family’s businesses, Coker Tire Company, Honest Charley Speed Shop, and Chestnut Properties LLC. In 2018, he became the director of Honest Charley Speed Shop and the Coker Museum. Mr. Coker collected antique vehicles and took part in the coast to coast Great Race car rally with his father from age 12 to age 19 as navigator for Team Coker.
Stay safe. Be Well.