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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Roundup - Week Ending May 15, 2021



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO May 16, 2021 Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy to digest new>s Nuggets.

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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending May 15, 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.

* The hackers who shut down a major petroleum pipeline in the Northeast have raised alarms across government and industry, and created a temporary gasoline supply and price shock in the Eastern United States. A temporary return to gas lines and high prices occurred in many states. Overall, gasoline prices have been drifting up slowly as the economy recovers, though remain low by historic, inflation adjusted standards. The average U. S. price for regular grade gas jumped 6 cents in the last two weeks to $3.02, up by $1.05 from a year ago.

* Meanwhile, the Colonial Pipeline that supplies 45% of the fuel used along the East Coast resumed operations. It will still take days before gasoline stations in the Southeast return to normal service. Nearly 2,000 outlets ran out of fuel after a surge of panic buying. Federal, state and local officials hope the news will end panic buying up and holding gasoline that in some cases is being transported by individuals in very dangerous and illegal ways.

* General Motors wants the federal government to change the rules so that GM and Tesla customers are no longer excluded from a $7,500 federal tax credit that's still available to buyers of electric vehicles from every other manufacturer. GM is ineligible for the full credit of up to $7,500 per vehicle after passing the 200,000 cumulative EV sales threshold in late 2018. Partial credits were available to GM EV buyers from April 2019 to April 2020. President Joe Biden's $174 billion proposal to increase EV production includes $100 billion in customer rebates and $15 billion to build charging stations.

* Recent research by Cox Automotive indicates consumers anticipate negative impacts on the automotive market as a result of the microchip shortage, expecting increased prices, inventory shortages and longer delivery times. Despite expectations of low inventory and high prices, most in-market shoppers are NOT expecting to delay their purchase, nor will they shift their consideration to other segments. Among in-market shoppers now likely to postpone their purchase due to the chip shortage, more than 60% would delay their purchase by 3 to 12 months.

* Cox Automotive research shows 40% of new vehicle shoppers are willing to pay above sticker price - as much as $5,000 above! - to get the truck, SUV or car they want, right now. That finding underscored government data that showed new vehicle prices jumped 10% in April, the biggest surge since 1953. Economists say the chip supply mess and other pandemic related bottlenecks should ease and put the leisure suit-wearing inflation genie back in its bottle.

* Ford’s announced its all-electric pickup will be called F-150 Lightning. The all-new F-150 Lightning will be revealed May 19 at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn and livestreamed to watch. The F-150 Lightning will be built at the all-new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center at the historic Dearborn-based Rouge Center starting in spring 2022.

* Subaru has announced that it will name its new full-electric SUV Solterra. Designed as a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota, the Solterra features a new, dedicated all-electric platform named the e-SUBARU Global Platform. The name Solterra was created using the Latin words for “Sun” and “Earth” to represent Subaru’s commitment to deliver traditional SUV capabilities in an environmentally responsible package. The new model is scheduled to go on sale in 2022.

* The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that new signs will start appearing along interstate corridors, guiding motorists to charging stations for electric vehicles. The signs are part of a national effort to promote alternative fuels that will also spark economic activity in Illinois communities and follow Gov. JB Pritzker’s commitment to have 750,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

* Sivak Applied Research monthly monitoring of key U.S. transportation indexes has just updated several new data points. The population-adjusted changes for February 2021 compared with February 2019 are: Road vehicle miles: down 11%; Air passenger miles: down 57%; Rail passenger miles: down 71%; Unlinked trips on public transit: down 62%. The following are the changes for April 2021 compared with April 2019: Vehicle sales: up 13%; Price of gasoline: down 2%.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is now investigating the causes of a May 5 crash in California in which a Tesla crashed into an overturned truck on a highway east of Los Angeles. The Tesla's driver was killed. NHTSA now has about two dozen investigations underway of Tesla crashes.

* We read in that Aston Martin will no longer offer a manual transmission in any of its cars when the Vantage sports car is given an update in 2022. CEO Tobias Moers confirmed the plans in an interview last month with Australian media, including Car Advice. He pointed to low demand and the need to have separate compliance to the automatic cars as the reasons for the manual’s demise. Low demand and regulation compliance costs are the two reasons most every car maker says are why they are discontinuing to offer a manual transmission.

* Ford is recalling 617,000 Explorer utility vehicles because roof rails may detach. The recall covers Explorers sold in the United States from the 2016 to 2019 model years.

* The new Woodward Dream Show aims to upstage the Dream Cruise in August. The Dream Show will be a ticketed event at the M1 Concourse, the 1.5-mile track that’s ringed by hundreds of private garages housing collectible cars, sprawling across 87 acres in Pontiac, Michigan. Tickets are $100.

Stay safe. Be Well.