Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending May 29, 2021
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending May 29, 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.
* Motorists hitting the road this week to celebrate the unofficial kick-off to summer will be greeted with the most expensive Memorial Day weekend gas prices since 2014. The national average has stabilized following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, but pump prices fluctuated leading up to the holiday weekend. Over the past weekend, the national gas price average declined a penny to $3.03, the first decrease in two weeks. While barely cheaper on the week, the average is 17 cents more than last month and $1.12 more expensive than last year. “AAA expects 37 million Americans to travel, mostly by car and plane, for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That is a 60% increase over last year’s holiday and a strong indication that summer travel is going to be largely popular,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson.
* Hyundai reveled its all-electric Ioniq 5 compact crossover utility to the world via the internet. Both rear-drive and all-wheel drive models wil be offers when it hits the market in the Fall of this year. With an 800v DC fast charger the battery can be charged from 10% capacity up to 80% capacity in 18 minutes. A subscription service will be offered for those who want to try one out for a couple months. Driving range is 300 miles on a full charge.
* The Detroit News reports that Ford CEO Jim Farley is calling for the federal government to set standards for fully or partially automated vehicles to tighten the safety of electronic driving systems. In urging federal regulation, Farley becomes the highest-profile auto executive to publicly recognize a need to more closely monitor the emerging technology, which is becoming more prevalent on America’s roadways just as questions are being raised about the potential risks to motorists. In limited areas, companies are beginning to deploy fully autonomous ride-hailing services. Farley’s statements, in an interview with The Associated Press, follow increased scrutiny by regulators of Tesla’s partially automated “Autopilot” driver-assist system, which has been involved in a series of high-profile crashes.
* Ford is betting that commercial customers will be the key to achieving the company's new goal of having 40% of its sales be all-electric vehicles by 2030. To that end, Ford said it is boosting EV investment through 2030 by more than a third to $30 billion, and forming a new business unit, Ford Pro, to expand revenues from commercial vehicle sales and fleet services. There will be consumer EVs from Ford to expand on the Mustang Mach E. But the thrust of Ford's revamped EV strategy, dubbed "Ford +" will be aimed at business customers whose reasons for buying premium priced EVs are more rational than emotional.
* Ford has confirmed upcoming electric vehicles based on its new EV platform, including an electric Explorer and a Lincoln version based on the same electric SUV. The automaker is even hinting at an electric Bronco. In Europe Ford will convert its entire passenger vehicle lineup to electric power by 2030.
* The Senate Finance Committee will advance a $259.5 billion package of clean energy tax credits that includes $31.6 billion in consumer incentives for EVs and would end tax breaks used by the fossil fuel industry. The extension of the EV tax credit would be a boon to motorists looking to buy from Tesla and General Motors, whose offerings are no longer eligible for the credit under current law, and Ford Motor Co., which said it plans to boost spending on electric models by $30 billion in the coming years. Car buyers could claim credits of as much as $12,500 for cars assembled in the U.S. at plants where workers are represented by unions. The credit only applies to vehicles where the suggested retail price is $80,000 or less, which would exclude buyers of some higher-end Tesla models from qualifying. Take note: This is all good to advance the purchase of EVs but the tax credit needs to be changed to a purchase rebate. To take full advantage of the proposed $12,500 tax credit a taxable income of $76,000 for a single individual or $95,000 for a married couple filing jointly is required.
* Congress may or may not move to agree on a giant infrastructure bill, but there's already a discussion underway about whether the United States just needs more highways, or whether expressways that cut through cities should be taken down to reconnect neighborhoods.
* Rolls-Royce, in a return to the very roots of the brand, announced the creation of its Coachbuild division and showed off a custom-built "Boat Tail" convertible. The striking convertible takes its name from a series of very rare Roll-Royce cars from the late 1920s and early 1930s. The car promotes the new coachbuilding operation as a permanent part of its bespoke offerings. The price of the Boat Tail is reported at $28 million. Only three coachbuilt Boat Tails will be built, and each will have different styling cues and special features.
* Dodge and The LEGO Group have announced a second LEGO Speed Champions collaboration pairing the two iconic brands. The new LEGO Speed Champions Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster and 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A building set, featuring the first purple vehicle and first Top Fuel Dragster in the Speed Champion series, is being released on June 1, 2021, on LEGO.com. With 627 pieces, the Dodge set featuring the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A and the Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster includes box art of their real-life counterparts to compare the LEGO creations with the real-life machines.
* Axalta, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, released its Automotive Color Preferences 2021 Consumer Survey aimed at analyzing the relationship between color and vehicle purchasing decisions among consumers. More than 4,000 participants aged 25 to 60 in four of the largest vehicle-producing countries - China, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., responded that color was a key factor in 88% of vehicle purchasing decisions. You can read more here. By the way, speaking of color or the lack thereof, black is very popular.
* A 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet and 1974 Shadow DN4 were crowned this year’s Best in Shows on May 23, 2021 at the 26th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet displayed by Jill and Charles Mitchell of Stuart, Florida. A 1974 Shadow DN4 displayed by James Bartel of Key West, Florida took home the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy.
* History was made at Indianapolis Raceway with the first time a female driver and female owner have qualified for the Indy500 together! Simona de Silvestro qualified 33rd in her Paretta Autosport race car and will race in the 2021 Indy 500 after Bump Day qualifying.
* Scott Dixon earned the Indy 500 pole position for 4th time. Dixon went 231.685 mph and earned the Indy 500 pole position for the 4th time. He won from the No. 1 spot in 2008 and also started up front in 2015 and 2017. The Indy 500 will welcome a reduced capacity of 135,000 spectators or 40% of total capacity.
* May Mosley, president of motorsport's governing body, the FIA, from 1993 to 2009 who oversaw the stunning global spread of Formula 1 has died at age 81.
* Former CART IndyCar Series driver Andre Ribeiro has died at the age of 55 after a fight with cancer. Best known for delivering Honda’s first win in CART in 1995 at New Hampshire International Speedway, the Brazilian developed his skills at home and on the European open-wheel ladder before turning his attention to North America and the Indy Lights series.
* Have a safe Memorial Day Holiday!
Stay safe. Be Well.