Nutson Weekly Auto News Wrap-up July 18-24, 2021
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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.
Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending July 24, 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 J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study says vehicle owners remain vastly loyal to their specific brands, in part due to the effects of pandemic lockdowns. Lexus ranks highest among premium brands for a third consecutive year with a 51.6% loyalty rate. Porsche (50.2%) ranks second, followed by Mercedes-Benz (47.0%), BMW (45.6%) and Audi (45.5%). Subaru ranks highest among mass market brands and highest overall in the automotive industry for a third consecutive year with a loyalty rate of 61.8%. Toyota ranks second (61.1%), followed by Honda (59.3%), RAM (56.8%) and Ford (53.9%).
* Electric truck startup Lordstown Motors confirmed the Justice Depertment is probing its business. Being investigated are matters related to its reverse merger deal last year and preorders for its forthcoming pickup trunk, the Endurance. The truck is critical to the companies survival which is experiencing accelerated cash burn and higher-than-expected costs.
* Purchases of electric cars in China captured more than 10% of new Chinese auto sales. Foreign makers, other than Tesla, are having a tough go at it having failed to convince Chinese buyers that their EVs match the local competition. VW has built a dedicated factory for its ID.4. EV sales in china exceeded 1 million units in the first half of this year.
* Volkswagen announced that it will end assembly of the Passat sedan in Chattanooga with model year 2022, part of the plant’s transformation to build future electric vehicles. After 50 years on the U.S. market VW will stop selling the midsize car beginning in the 2022 model year. The reality is the Passat is the latest victim of the US market's hard shift toward trucks and SUVs.
* With a video showing the driver's point-of-view on a race track, the sound of a screaming engine and the headline "The street will never sound the same" Chevrolet confirmed a Corvette Z06 supercar will be unveiled this fall. The new performance car will debut as a 2023 Made In Kentucky model.
* Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars, with safety drivers,(HUH?) on the Lyft network, as part of a network access agreement, with passenger rides beginning in Miami later this year and in Austin starting in 2022. As vehicles are deployed, Lyft users within the defined service areas will be able to select a Ford self-driving vehicle to hail a ride. This initial deployment phase will lay the groundwork for scaling operations, as the parties are now working to finalize agreements aiming to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network, across multiple markets over the next five years.
* In spite of the recently announced delay in production start of the first vehicles from Rivian the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced it is partnering with electric vehicle (EV) automaker and automotive technology company Rivian to install Rivian Waypoint EV charging stations at Tennessee State Parks. The goal is to have charging stations available at all 56 state parks systemwide, depending on the availability of electricity and planned future park upgrades.
* Stellantis CE) Carlos Tavares said he expects a global microchip shortage to last into 2022. The shortage has caused most all automakers to cut or halt production. Vehicle shortages have been created driving up prices. The average cost of a new vehicles in the U.S. hit a record of over $42,000 in June, according to Kelly Blue Book.
* Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to go all electric by the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. Shifting from electric-first to electric-only, the world's preeminent luxury car company is accelerating toward an emissions-free and software-driven future. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles (BEV) in all segments the company serves. From 2025 onwards, all newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only and customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes. Mercedes-Benz intends to manage this accelerated transformation while sticking to its profitability targets.
* Last week GM told Chevrolet Bolt EV owners to park them outside due to fire risk. Now GM issued a recall for 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs after two more of the electric vehicles caught fire. The recall involves defective battery modules. GM has told owners of the EVs to not charge them beyond 90%.
* The prestigious Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s is today, July 25, on the golf course at the Inn at St. John’s, Plymouth, Michigan. This will be the last Concours of America to grace the grounds at St. John’s, a former seminary converted into a hotel and convention center. The new owner of the show, the respected Hagerty company of Traverse City, Michigan, recently announced, beginning next year the venue for the Concours of America will be the Detroit Institute of Art, near downtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue. And they will move the show to September. Details are sketchy and we expect few are determined yet.
* C.R. Patterson, Frederick Patterson and Charlie Wiggins were early automotive entrepreneurs, innovators and champions who made a profound impact on the industry, even as they had to break down racial barriers to do so. This week they were inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, one of the highest honors from an industry that, during their lifetimes, largely shunned their contributions because they were Black. The induction event also honored inductees and awardees from the Dearborn-based Hall of Fame's 2020 class. Last year's ceremony was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
* The Petersen Automotive Museum has announced the opening of its first-ever exhibit dedicated solely to Formula 1. “Pole Position: The Juan Gonzalez Formula 1 Collection” will present a varied collection of modern F1 cars surrounded by a 180-degree immersive video conveying the energy of the races in which these cars competed. The 10 cars on display will tell the stories of a variety of drivers and manufacturers from three decades of racing. Vehicles on display will include a 1987 Lotus 99T, a 1994 Williams FW15D, a 1995 McLaren MP4-10, a 1999 Ferrari F399, a 2005 McLaren F1 MP4-20, a 2008 McLaren F1 MP4-24, a 2011 McLaren F1 MP4-26, a 2013 Ferrari F138, a 2017 Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso's boldly colored 2018 McLaren MCL33. Each vehicle comes from the collection of Juan Gonzalez, Chairman of the Board of Mission Foods, a sponsor of the McLaren F1 team and the Arrow McLaren SP INDY team.
* The Klairmont Kollection team in Chicago announced the passing of its founder, Larry M. Klairmont at age 92. Larry had many accomplishments throughout his life. As a decorated Marine and WWII veteran, Larry returned from the war, started a family, and became a very successful businessman, namely as the President of Imperial Realty. Together with his fiancé, Joyce Oberlander, Larry created Klairmont Kollections, a 350 car automobile museum. Larry's passion for collecting rare and historic vehicles will not be lost. Klairmont Kollections will continue on as a not-for-profit museum.
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