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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up: Sept 26 - October 2, 2021



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - October 3, 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.

LEARN MORE: Links to full versions of today's news nuggets along with a million pages of the past 25 year's automotive news, articles, reviews and archived stories residing in The Auto Channel Automotive News Library can be found by just copying and then inserting the main headline into the News Library Search Box.

Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending October 2, 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.

* September U.S. auto sales continued to be significantly hampered by an ongoing lack of new-vehicle inventory. According to a forecast released by Cox Automotive, the pace of auto sales, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to finish near 12.1 million, the slowest pace since May 2020, when much of the country was closed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The September 2021 sales pace will be down from August’s 13.1 million pace and down from the September 2020 pace of 16.3 million. Sales volume is forecast by Cox Automotive to come in near a notably low 1.0 million units. The low volume expectations for September 2021 put the month on course to be among the worst in the past decade. Sales volume is expected to be down nearly 26% from last September and down 8.5% from last month.

* The ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips will hit carmakers harder than experts had initially forecast in May as COVID-19 continues to disrupt chip production. A report released by consulting firm AlixPartners said the chips crisis will cost the global auto industry $210 billion in revenues this year. That's almost double its estimate in May of $110 billion. AlixPartners forecasts that automakers will lose production of 7.7 million vehicles this year. In May, it had forecast a production loss of 3.9 million. Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for this news item.

* More technology comes with every new vehicle model year. The 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban will offer more. A cool new feature is Google Assistant functionality that allows drivers to adjust HVAC, control media and more with their voice. A new standard feature that surely will bring out opinions is Buckle to Drive to help remind drivers to buckle up before driving. The feature does not allow a shift out of park until the driver and front passenger, if detected, have their seat belts fastened. So when you need to back out of your garage to get the lawn mower out, remember to buckle up.

* Automotive News reports a group of 21 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, and several major U.S. cities has urged the Biden administration to finalize stricter vehicle emissions rules than it has proposed. The Environmental Protection Agency in August called for reversing the Trump-era loosening of vehicle emissions rules with a new plan to boost efficiency 10 percent in the 2023 model year and aiming for a fleet average of 52 miles per gallon by 2026. But the states and cities want more stringent rules.

* Ford is very serious about EVs. Ford Motor Company announced plans to bring electric vehicles at scale to American customers with two new massive, environmentally and technologically advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Ford, together with its South Korean battery partner, SK Innovation, plans to invest $11.4 billion and create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites, strengthening local communities and building on Ford’s position as America’s leading employer of hourly autoworkers. An all-new $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, TN, called Blue Oval City, will create approximately 6,000 new jobs and reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured. The plants will be up and running in 2025.

* The two-row 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee was unveiled online and will add a plug-in hybrid electric version to its lineup. The Grand Cherokee 4xe will join a 4xe version of the Jeep Wrangler as the brand’s first two plug-in hybrids available in the United States.

* OPEC's annual World Energy Outlook acknowledges that more electric vehicles will be on the road and the push for alternative and renewable energy will usher in a decline in the demand for oil in rich countries. However, growth in countries of expanding economies will mean oil will be the world's No. 1 source of energy through 2045. OPEC forecasts global vehicle population to grow by 1.1 billion to 2.6 billion by 2045 with 500 million being electric powered.

* A new consumer survey carried out by MINI USA finds that American consumers are increasingly looking to electrify their daily on-road travel. Survey results say that half of all consumers expect the American automotive market to be mostly electric within just 15 years. Driving range concerns are balanced by 78% of respondents saying they do not travel more than 50 miles per day on average. Younger consumers hold an especially positive attitude toward EVs, with Gen Z and Millennial consumers, indicating they are more likely to consider purchasing an EV in five years at 39% and 41%, respectively.

* ABB is launching an innovative all-in-one Electric Vehicle (EV) charger, which provides the fastest charging experience on the market. ABB’s new Terra 360 is a modular charger which can simultaneously charge up to four vehicles with dynamic power distribution. This means that drivers will not have to wait if somebody else is already charging ahead of them. They simply pull up to another plug. The new charger has a maximum output of 360 kW and is capable of fully charging any electric car in 15 minutes or less, meeting the needs of a variety of EV users, whether they need a fast charge or to top their battery up while grocery shopping. We are getting closer to the refueling time of a gasoline pump!

* Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 550,000 cars and minivans in the U.S. because the turn signals can flash in the opposite direction of what the driver intended. The recall covers the Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan from the 2015 through 2017 model years, and Sonata Hybrid from 2016 and 2017. The Kia Sedona minivan from 2015 through 2017 also is affected.

* The all-women's 2021 Rebelle Rally, the longest off-road rally in the United States, features eight days of fierce competition across more than 1,500 miles of Nevada, Arizona and California desert. It begins Oct. 7 at the Hoover Dam in Nevada and culminates Oct. 16 in California's Imperial Sand Dunes. Nissan unveiled its red, white and blue one-off 2022 Frontier PRO-4X features a range of new NISMO Off Road parts, including NISMO Off Road 4-inch Lights, NISMO Off Road Performance Exhaust, NISMO Off Road Suspension Kit and NISMO Off Road AXIS Wheels – which appeared recently at the 2021 Overland Expo West. The rally team is Team Wild Grace with co-captains Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward.

* Lewis Hamilton claimed an historic 100th F1 career victory for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in a pulsating Russian Grand Prix. This marked Lewis’s 79th victory with the Mercedes works team, extending its 100% win record in Russia which began with victories for Mercedes in 1913 and 1914. In claiming his 25 points, Lewis surpassed 4000 points in F1, the first driver to reach that milestone. Lewis Hamilton (246.5 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship from Max Verstappen (244.5), while Valtteri Bottas is in third position (151 points). The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (397.5 points) lead Red Bull (364.5 points) by 33 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

* Alex Palou clinched his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with a composed drive to fourth place in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, a race won by Colton Herta. Palou became the first Spaniard to win an INDYCAR SERIES championship and is Chip Ganassi Racing’s second consecutive title winner and 14th INDYCAR SERIES champion overall. This is his first season with the powerhouse team in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, joining CGR after his rookie season in 2020, when he finished 16th in the standings.

Stay safe. Be Well.