Nutson Weekly Auto News Wrap-up August 8-14, 2021
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending August 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.
* By 2030, President Joe Biden wants 50% of vehicles sold in the United States to run on batteries, no petroleum required. But, the Biden administration is calling on OPEC to produce more oil to drop the price of gasoline for U.S. voters driving around in newly-purchased, union-made, V-8 powered pickup trucks.
* The Congress's $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan calls for at least $160 billion dedicated to electric vehicle development and growth. This is much closer to the $174 billion President Joe Biden proposed. The money is for “light-duty consumer incentives, EV charging infrastructure funding, EV manufacturing incentives, federal EV procurement requirements, and incentives to electrify heavy-duty commercial fleets.”
* Joe White for Reuters writes: University of Michigan Prof. emeritus and policy expert John DeCicco pointed out that it is not accurate to compare, as (Joe) did last week, the fleet average "real world" miles per gallon figures from the EPA Fuel Economy Trends report to the headline numbers from the White House vehicle emissions proposal last Thursday. Adjusting the 52-mpg 2026 target from the White House to match the EPA real-world figures would produce a 2026 target closer to 38 MPG, DeCicco wrote, adding that moving from 25 to 38 mpg over six years would still be the biggest increase in percentage terms since the years following the 1973 oil embargo.
* Reuters report that Chinese consumers once upon a time gave foreign auto brands, and especially German brands, the benefit of the doubt because vehicles from domestic Chinese brands were inferior. That's no longer the case, as Volkswagen found out the hard way in 2019 and 2020 after a Chinese safety testing organization run by the insurance industry gave the Passat a poor grade in a front offset crash test. Passat sales tanked as China's social media circulated the bad result. VW responded quickly - adding 400 yuan ($62) worth of reinforcement to the Passat's body structure - but the repercussions of the hit to VW's reputation in lost sales and profitability proved far greater than that modest per vehicle sum suggests.
* Chevrolet announced a collaboration with Guy Fieri, award-winning chef, restaurateur and influential television culinary star, to create the ultimate ballpark snack – the Apple Pie Hot Dog. The Apple Pie Hot Dog, which brings together two quintessentially American foods in a single and crave-worthy snack, is inspired by a notable Chevrolet television advertisement from 1975. The ad’s jingle asserted “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet go together in the good old U.S.A.” Chevy enlisted Fieri, the mayor of Flavortown, to lead the development and creation of the recipe.
* Lamborghini, the Italian automaker, has confirmed that it is building a new Countach in conjunction with the famed model's 50th anniversary. The wedge-shaped mid-engine coupe created the template for the modern supercar and introduced the world to scissor doors when it debuted a the LP500 concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971 and was produced from 1974 to 1990. The expectation is that this revived model will include a hybrid powertrain. We may see a full EV from Lamborghini after 2025.
* Ford can't catch a break with its new Bronco. Problems with Bronco's removable hardtop still haven’t ended. Ford has stopped production on new hardtop models. For said the so-called "molded-in color hard tops" on both two and four-door Broncos have been identified with a quality issues. Customers who already have a hardtop model will be getting new tops when they become available. Soft top Broncos will continue to roll down the line.
* The Detroit News reports Lordstown Motors Corp., the embattled electric vehicle startup, said it was holding to its plan to start limited production of its debut electric pickup in September, even as costs mount for tools, research and development. The company said its battery line is now fully commissioned and its plant is production-ready. Lordstown, which has previously warned that it may not be able to continue as a going concern, said it expects to have liquidity of between $225 million and $275 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter — without including any funds from capital raises.
* As the Detroit Free Press writes: The battle over the word "cruise" just got uglier between two Detroit automakers. Less than a month after General Motors sued Ford Motor Co. for trademark infringement over the name of Ford's new hands-free driving technology called BlueCruise, Ford wants GM's trademark rights to "Cruise" and "Super Cruise" rescinded, said Ford spokesman Mike Levine. Levine said Ford argues the terms should have never been registered in the first place, so it wants the trademarks rescinded to ensure "that it and the industry as a whole can freely use the word 'cruise' to safely describe their driver assist technologies." We agree. Stop confusing consumers with different names for the same tech on new vehicles.
* FCA US LLC is voluntarily recalling an estimated 212,373 U.S.-market vehicles to replace their side-curtain air bags. The FCA campaign is limited to certain model-year 2015-20 Ram 3500 pickup trucks and cab-chassis vehicles, 2500 pickups and previous-generation 1500 pickups, now known as the Classic. The current-generation Ram 1500, which launched in model-year 2019, is not affected.
* Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 600,000 vehicles in the U.S. because damage to the trunk latches can stop them from being opened from the inside. The recall covers certain 2016 through 2018 Kia Forte and 2018 and 2019 Kia Rio small cars. Also included are certain Hyundai Sonatas from 2017 and 2018, 2016 through 2018 Sonata Hybrids, 2018 through 2020 Hyundai Accents, and 2016 and 2017 Hyundai Azera cars.
* Monterey Car Week which transforms the peninsula into an open-air car museum is happening. Smaller concours shows, vintage car road tours and auctions all lead up to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
* We joined the excitement at “MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights — Powered by Dodge” this weekend at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, MI. The event kicked off Detroit's weeklong celebration of American car culture with street legal drag racing, car shows, exhilarating interactive experiences and immersive, fun-filled activities. Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend's television series "Fastest Cars in the Dirty South," and online automotive personalities Alex Taylor, Tavarish, Westen Champlin and Throtl revealed their modified Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye vehicles to battle it out in the Hellcat Grudge Race.
* RACER and NBC Sports IndyCar journalist Robin Miller was honored by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in a special ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the IMS road course. Miller is one of nine motorsport luminaries being formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Pontiac, Mich., next month as part of the Class of 2021. Ongoing health problems will prevent him from being able to attend the event in person, so his achievement was instead recognized before hundreds of friends from across the racing world at the track with which his name has become synonymous.
* Long-time Indy 500 and NASCAR radio and TV broadcaster Bob Jenkins died after a fight with brain cancer. He was 73. The Indiana native got into motorsport broadcasting more or less by accident – he was reporting on farming stories at WIRE when he was ushered into the IMS radio network as a backstretch announcer in 1979 by friend and fellow radio journalist Paul Page. Jenkins was also one of the first on-air employees of ESPN when it launched in 1979, and spent more than 20 years as the lead commentator for the network’s NASCAR races alongside Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons.
Stay safe. Be Well.