Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap Up July 25-31, 2021
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - August 1, 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 news Nuggets.
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending July 31, 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 White House is negotiating to have automakers pledge that 40 percent or more of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. will be electric by the end of the decade, something the companies say will require the government to help promote the use of the cars. Automakers are looking for support from the government in meeting those goals, such as subsidies or funding for charging infrastructure like that contained in a bill working its way through the Senate now.
* AutoPacific announced winners of the 2021 Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) according to the results of its annual New Vehicle Satisfaction Survey of 89,000 new car and light truck owners. Now in its 25th year, the VSAs identify the most satisfying vehicles on the market as rated by the consumer. Winners are spread across 12 manufacturers and 14 brands. At the top of the podium, Nissan Motor Company and General Motors each tie with five VSA awards thanks to winning vehicles in the Nissan, Infiniti, Chevrolet, and Cadillac brands. Stellantis brings home three VSA awards from its Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram lineups, while Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz each earn two VSA awards. Finally, luxury marques including BMW and Porsche, along with Mazda and Mitsubishi, receive one award each.
* According to iSeeCars' newest study, used car prices continued to rise in June in the wake of the global microchip shortage. In June, used car prices increased 32.7 percent, or $7,583, compared to the same period the previous year. This comes after a 26.4 percent year-over-year increase in May and a 16.8 percent year-over-year increase in April. Sports cars and pickup trucks had the highest price increases, which makes them the worst vehicles to buy and the best vehicles to sell. Small SUVs, hatchbacks, and minivans only saw minor price bumps.
* In 2015, more than 85% of adults aged 65-84 and nearly 70% of adults aged 85 and older were licensed to drive. This number is expected to increase as the population of older adults increases during the next five decades. By 2025, approximately 1 in 5 drivers will be age 65 or older, and research has found that they outlive their decision to stop driving by about 10 years for women and 7 years for men. A new study sponsored by the National Council on Aging and Volkswagen Group of America says about 70% of seniors were confident self-driving and ride-hailing services were safe. They also believed those services could play a critical role in performing the tasks outside of their homes critical to remaining independent. And, 75% of them said they expect to use those services in the future while 71% said they would be able to remain independent because of them.
* Reuters reports about 38% of motorists regularly turn off Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features, and another 32% turn them off sometimes, automotive software firm CCC Intelligent Solutions concludes in a study. The study doesn't detail which features get turned off most often. The most common reasons given were that the features weren't working, or were distracting.
* Automotive News reports that many drivers rely on a car's in-dash fuel economy display to show the estimated number of miles the car gets per gallon of gasoline, but those estimates aren't always accurate, according to a report from the American Automobile Association. AAA says drivers take an "unnecessary risk" if they overly rely on the displays. Plenty of drivers may already be doing that � about 74 percent of drivers use those miles-to-empty estimates to decide when to fill up their gas tanks, AAA found in a consumer survey. In testing it was found the fuel economy displays of the tested vehicles were off by "a relatively low" 2.3 percent when compared with fuel economy measurements reported by the dynamometer testing.
* Many news outlets including Reuters report that General Motors announced it is suing Ford for using the term "BlueCruise" to describe the Ford version of limited, hands-free driving technology. GM accuses Ford of willfully violating GM's "Super Cruise" trademark for a limited hands-free driving system, as well as the trademarks of its Cruise autonomous driving unit. GM's complaint throws in a dig that Ford's system is likely to be inferior to Super Cruise, hence GM's concern about protecting its rights to the X-"Cruise" nomenclature. Ford dismissed GM's action as "meritless and frivolous" and previewed an argument that the word "cruise" is now generic in the auto industry - after decades of companies marketing "cruise control." We think GM could be a bit consumer friendly and help solve the problem of technology that performs basically the same function having a different name on every car brand, thus confusing the consumer.
* Controversial scooter startup Revel plans to launch its fleet of Tesla taxis in Manhattan next week after a heated battle with New York City regulators. The service will launch Monday and provide rides in 50 Model Y Teslas in Manhattan south of 42nd Street. Revel � whose ubiquitous blue scooters drew controversy last year after a trio of fatal accidents in New York � is able to launch the service due to an apparent change of heart by New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.
* Joe White reporting for Reuters says Scotch whisky maker Glenfiddich is deploying trucks that run on fuel made from by-products of distilling their widely appreciated products. Using whisky dregs for fuel can save 250 tons of CO2 annually, per truck. Cheers to that!
* The New York Auto Show announced an all-new indoor e-Mobility Expo & Test Track that provides consumers the opportunity to test a wide range of new e-bikes and e-scooters and explore the latest e-mopeds, support products, and accessories. The new exhibit is part of the full-floor EV Test Fest at this year's Show. It's a true sign of the times. Are we evolving from Auto Shows to Personal Mobility Shows?
* MINI USA announced the return of MINI TAKES THE STATES in 2022 (MTTS), which is scheduled to take place from July 9-17 of next year. This news was announced to the MINI fan community during the virtual meet-up that concluded the MINI Together event, celebrating the National Day of Motoring. The much-anticipated road rally for MINI owners was postponed in 2020 and 2021 out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health of the MINI community.
* A 1937 Cadillac Series 90 convertible with exotic Hartmann coachwork and a Vignale-bodied 1953 Ferrari 250MM formerly owned and raced by Phil Hill took Best of Show honors at the 42nd Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth Township, Michigan. The Cadillac took honors as Best in Show American, while the Ferrari was selected as the Best in Show Foreign category. After being staged at two suburban Detroit locations during its history, the concours is moving to a new date in September 2022 and to a new location, the Detroit Institute of Arts. As it would be, mother nature had its way and flooded the golf course the evening before forcing this final Concours to stage vehicles in the parking lot.
* The COPO Camaro will return to the drag strip for 2022 with a newly available 572-cubic-inch engine. The Big Block V-8 channels the spirit of the original 1969 COPO Camaro, a purpose-built drag racer created by dealers using the Central Office Production Order system to equip cars with Chevrolet’s largest V-8. The COPO 572 uses a cast-iron block with four-bolt main caps, aluminum heads, a forged steel crankshaft, forged steel connecting rods and forged aluminum pistons. Pricing for the COPO Camaro with the 572 starts from $105,500 (excluding tax, title, license, and dealer fees). The 2022 COPO Camaro is also available with LSX-based Small Block engines � a supercharged 350-cubic-inch V-8 rated by the NHRA at 580 horsepower and a naturally aspirated 427-cubic-inch V-8 with an NHRA-rated 470 hp. All 2022 COPO Camaros use an ATI Racing Products TH400 three-speed automatic transmission.