Nutson Weekly Auto News Wrap-up August 22-28, 2021
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending August 28, 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.
* Cox Automotive Forecast: In August, new light-vehicle sales in the U.S. are forecast to fall to 1.20 million units, or down 118,000 units, nearly 9% below last year. Compared to last month, sales are expected to fall 88,000 units, or almost 7%. The SAAR in August 2021 is estimated to be 14.3 million, down from last August's early COVID-19 recovery pace of 15.2 million, and down from July's 14.8 million supply-constrained level. The only segment that is expected to see a year-over-year increase in August is compact cars, but still lower than 2019. The increase is likely due to availability and affordability as well as being an alternative to used vehicles which are also in short supply.
* And also from Cox Automotive estimates, total used-vehicle sales were down 18% year over year in July. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales declined to 36.9 million, down significantly from 44.8 million last July—a strong used-vehicle sales month, the early days of the initial pandemic recovery—and also down compared to 39.0 million in June. Total used-vehicle sales volume last month was estimated at 3.1 million, down from 3.2 million in June.
* Brand loyalty among U.S. consumers for new vehicles dropped to a six-year low in June, according to new analysis from IHS Markit. Analysis of new vehicle registration data through June indicates that the overall brand loyalty rate of 51 percent in the U.S. market is the lowest since August 2015. This decline in loyalty is inevitably due, at least in part, to the major declines in dealer inventory stemming from the global microchip shortage. While consumers are changing brands, body style loyalty remains strong, increasing slightly -- national overall body style loyalty rose 1.1 percentage points in June (year-over-year) to 55.5 percent. The three dominant body styles, including sedan, pickup, and sport utility, all experienced loyalty improvements, with sedan up 2.4 percentage points, pickup up half a percentage point, and SUVs up 0.3 percentage points. These three body styles accounted for 90 percent of all new vehicle retail transactions in the first six months of the year.
* We reported recently that the Federal electric vehicle tax credit is being revised. For example the MSRP of the EV must be below $80,000. Now we read that the $7,500 tac credit will be made refundable. That means lower income folks who don't have a total of $7,500 in federal tax liability will get the difference refunded to them. For example, if an individual total federal tax liability is $5,000, that would become zero and the difference of $2,500 would be refunded by check.
* We mourn the passing of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts who died this week at the age of 80. Charlie didn't have a driver's license and didn't drive but he did have a car collection. According to various reports Charlie owned a 1937 Lagonda Rapide Cabriolet with a V12--only 25 were made; Citroën 2CV; Bugatti Atlantic (late 1930s); Citroën Méhari; Lamborghini Muira; and several Rolls-Royces. Charlie also had custom made clothing to suit the era of each of his cars that he wore will sitting in them.
* The Detroit Bureau reports that Ford plans to double its original production target for the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup when it launches next year, according to a report by Reuters. That’s in line with comments Ford insiders made to TheDetroitBureau.com in recent days, preliminary reservations for the truck well exceeding the automaker’s original estimates. But a final decision, this website was told, wasn’t going to be made until closer to the launch of production, currently scheduled to begin around the beginning of June. What’s clear is that Ford has received a warm reception for the Lightning, with those preliminary reservations well in excess of 100,000 (perhaps 120,000) already. Ford initially laid out plans to produce just 40,000 of the pickups annually.
* Ford's new compact pickup truck, the Maverick, is generating lots of early interest, with reservations for the hybrid pickup topping 100,000. California, Florida, and Texas are where most of the reservations are coming from. The reservations are nonbinding and don’t require a deposit, but Ford is confident they’ll convert into orders. Ford is making a bid for entry-level import buyers with the Maverick, which starts at under $20,000 and gets 40 miles per gallon with the standard gasoline-electric hybrid version.
* Automotive News reports that German automakers are scaling back the number of staff they plan to send to the Munich auto show next month because of COVID concerns. The Munich IAA was supposed to be the triumphant reboot of the German industry's Big Show. Maybe next year.
* Ford fans were expecting there would be a pickup version of the new Bronco. A Bronco pickup would go head-to-head against the Jeep Gladiator. Media reports now say it's not going to happen. Ford seems comfortable with their current portfolio of three pickups---F150, Ranger and Maverick.
* This past July, Toyota sold the 50-millionth Corolla, a milestone not just in Toyota history, but automotive history, as well. Now in its 12th generation and over 55 years in production, Corolla remains one of the world’s top-selling vehicles, earning buyers’ confidence and trust one car at a time. Toyota introduced the Corolla in 1966, and it arrived in the U.S. in spring 1968 as a 1969 model, starting at about $1,700. Gas cost $0.35 a gallon, and the median household income was $7,700. The No. 1 TV show in America was “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” and top hit songs that early Corolla drivers would have heard on the optional AM radio included Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” Simon and Garfunkle’s “Mrs. Robinson” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”
* Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) announced it will enter a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander in this year’s Rebelle Rally, unveiling a rendering of the vehicle that will contest the grueling all-women’s off-road navigational competition this October. The Outlander’s special paint scheme pays tribute to a history-making Dakar Rally win twenty years ago, when Jutta Kleinschmidt drove a Mitsubishi Pajero to victory in 2001, becoming the only woman ever to win the world-famous Dakar.
* The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) and Qatar Tourism announced a partnership during a press conference held at Doha Exhibition & Convention Center (DECC), to develop and host the newly designed Qatar Geneva International Motor Show in Doha. The partners have hinted that the platform is positioned as a new world-renowned motor show for the Middle East. The first edition of Qatar Geneva International Motor Show is planned for the autumn of 2022 or 2023 with the final dates will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The show will be held bi-annually. In the near term, the show in Geneva is being held in 2022 from 19 to 27 February.
* Ford teased its upcoming Eluminator electric-vehicle crate motor ahead of its official debut at this year's SEMA show. In 2018 Chevrolet debuted an electric motor crate conversion and could see vendors this year. These crate-motor solutions should be less invasive to classic cars than more involved EV conversions.
* The #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez won the first Le Mans 24 Hours of the Hypercar era, while Ferrari beat Corvette in GTE Pro. This was the fourth year in a row that the Japanese automaker has won the French endurance classic. Second place went to the no. eight Toyota GR010 driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. Third place went to the no. 36 Alpine A480 driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao, and Matthieu Vaxiviere. The pair of 007 race cars from Glickenhaus finished in fourth and fifth. In the LMP2 class, the win went to the no. 31 Oreca 07 of Team WRT. In the LM GTE Pro class, the no. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of AF Corse came first, and 20th overall. Doing the driving were Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Come Ledogar. Second place went to the no. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Corvette Racing while third went to the no. 92 Porsche 911 RSR of the Porsche GT Team. Thanks to Motor Authority for this news.
* Robin Miller, one of motorsport's most recognized and influential media personalities, died Aug. 25 in Indianapolis. He was 71. Miller was born in Southport, Indiana, and his career took off as an Indianapolis Star sports writer. He was also a race analyst for WTHR for several years. He also worked with ESPN, SPEED and NBC over the years. In 2019, as Miller covered his 50th “500” amid declining health, Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced the creation of the Robin Miller Award, to be given annually to an unheralded individual who has brought unbridled passion and an unrelenting work ethic to enrich the sport
Stay safe. Be Well.