Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-Up September 12-18, 2021
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending September 18, 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.
* Democrats in Congress have proposed expanding tax breaks for EVs. Among the proposals: Uncapping the existing $7,500 tax break so that General Motors and Tesla buyers can use it again, adding incentives for used EVs and adding up to $5,000 toward the purchase of a union-made EV.
* Illinois is moving to phase out electric power generation by fossil fuel plants and develop 100% carbon-free energy by 2050. Along with the enabling legislature is a plan to put 1 million battery-powered cars and trucks on the road by 2030. A rebate of up to $4,000 for customers who buy EVs would be created.
* New-vehicle prices hit another all-time high in August 2021, marking the fifth straight record-setting month, according to a new report from Kelley Blue Book. At $43,355, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle was up nearly 10% ($3,789) from August 2020 and up 1.6% ($685) from July 2021. Yet the all-time-high prices also accompanied the fourth straight month of a slowed sales pace. After a frenzy of strong sales in the spring, the pace of automobile sales softened again in August 2021 as car shoppers faced limited inventory, high prices and historically low incentives.
* Rivian has passed a significant milestone with the start of commercial production of its R1T electric pickup trucks. The first truck rolled off the line at Rivian's Normal, Illinois manufacturing plant, with workers gathered around. RJ Scaringe, founder and CEO of the California-based company, tweeted to make it official. Rivian twice delayed the start of production because of pandemic-related supply chain issues that have affected many automakers. The R1T is the first electric pickup on the market. That market segment will soon be crowded with the likes of the Ford F-150 Lightning and the GMC Hummer.
* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research shared data that says the energy intensity per passenger mile flown in 2020 doubled from that in 2019. Consequently, flying passengers in 2020 contributed approximately twice the emissions per mile flown than those in 2019. For 2020 the energy intensity in Btu per passenger mile of flying was 4,423 versus 3,101 for driving. Keep doing those zoom meetings! Help reduce your company's carbon footprint.
* On the strength of some very successful new-vehicle launches for 2021, the auto industry continues its trend of producing ever-more appealing vehicles. The BMW 4 Series, Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Bronco Sport, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Genesis G80, Kia K5 and Toyota Sienna are all-new or completely redesigned models that achieved segment-topping performances in appeal to owners. These models and others have helped boost the industry's overall vehicle emotional appeal this year, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. Stellantis's Dodge brand repeats its top-ranking performance in APEAL among mass market brands this year with a score of 882. Seven models provide both the highest level of emotional appeal and initial product quality, according to analysis of the 2021 APEAL and IQS studies. The models that receive both APEAL segment awards and awards in the 2021 IQS are: BMW X4, BMW X6, BMW X7, Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Corvette, Genesis G80, Kia Telluride and Nissan Maxima. Read more about it here: https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2021/09/15/1046130-new-vehicles-more-appealing-than-ever-j-d-power-finds.html
* Ford will invest $250 million and hire another 450 workers to increase capacity for the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 80,000 vehicles a year - confirming what people familiar with the project had told Reuters last month. Ford said it now has 150,000 reservations for the Lightning. The decision to double annual capacity shows Ford CEO Jim Farley's confidence that those reservations are real and that Lightning can sustain at roughly 10% of total F-series truck sales.
* Electric premium car maker Lucid said versions of its forthcoming Lucid Air sedan achieved 520 miles of driving range in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests. And every Lucid Air model is rated at 450 miles range or above. That puts the Air Dream sedan line well ahead of the rival Tesla Model S Long Range, which has an EPA determined range of 405 miles.
* Buyer beware. In the wake of Hurricane Ida and other intense storms across the United States, consumers need to be on alert for flooded vehicles resurfacing on the used car market. CARFAX data suggests widespread flooding from Hurricane Ida – centered around New York City, New Jersey, and Louisiana – potentially damaged as many as 212,000 vehicles. That's on top of 378,000 flood-damaged cars that CARFAX data shows were already on the road in 2021. Texas continues to lead the nation in the number of flood-damaged cars on the road today, but CARFAX data shows water-damaged vehicles appear even in states where flooding isn't common.
* Reuters reports the semiconductor supply chain mess is going to depress global automotive production well into 2023, according to a new outlook by economic forecasting firm IHS Markit. The "major revision" by IHS to its global automotive production forecast comes after some industry executives had begun warning investors that the light at the end of the supply chain snafu tunnel was farther away than first thought.
* Last week, Ford introduced a new Mustang Mach-E police concept car in the United Kingdom that has police agencies lining up for a chance to try it out. Now Ford is paving the way for electric police fleets in America. As part of its more than $30 billion investment in electrification through 2025, Ford is exploring all-electric, purpose-built law enforcement vehicles. To demonstrate that a vehicle with an electric powertrain can deliver strong performance and stand up to demanding police duty cycles, the company is submitting an all-electric police pilot vehicle based on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E SUV for testing as part of the Michigan State Police 2022 Model Year Police Evaluation.
* GM issued yet another safety recommendation for Chevrolet Bolt EV owners: If you're pulling into a parking deck, keep your car at least 50 feet away from other vehicles. "In an effort to reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire, we recommend parking on the top floor or on an open-air deck and park 50 feet or more away from another vehicle."
* NASCAR will head back to southern California early next year with an exhibition race held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The NASCAR Clash will move from Daytona Beach, Florida, to the Coliseum on February 6, 2022. Officials will construct a temporary quarter-mile asphalt short track inside the home to the USC Trojans football team. It will be the first time since 1979 the Clash has not been held at Daytona. Next Gen cars will be used in the race, marking the new cars’ first competitive outing
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