Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - October 3-9, 2021
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - October 10, 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 October 9, 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.
* J.D. Power released the results of its Tech Experience Index study that measures how much owners like technologies in their vehicles and how many problems they experienced. Genesis had the highest ranking for tech innovation among all vehicle segments, followed by Cadillac, Volvo and BMW. Hyundai led the tech innovation award for mass-market brands, with Kia taking the mass-market tech second place, followed by Nissan and Subaru. The survey also found that many drivers don't use all the advanced tech features in their vehicles.
* The global chip shortage continues to hammer automakers, with Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Mazda reporting lower U.S. sales in September. GM is down 33% and Stellantis sales are down 19% in the third quarter. Automotive News says 2021 is the year of the car, because that's pretty much all that is available to buy. Trucks and utility vehicles are hard to come by.
* With the new "MANUFAKTUR" label, Mercedes-Benz is taking another step forward to cater to customers' growing desire for more individuality, by enhancing the existing product portfolio with additional exclusivity and luxury: select materials which are predominantly processed by hand, exclusive paint finishes and high-quality embellishments in the interior offer a wide range of options for an individual appearance. G-Class has for several years offered the "G manufaktur" with its own selection of materials and colors specially adapted to the vehicle architecture. With the introduction of the new MANUFAKTUR label, Mercedes-Benz now also offers a corresponding customization program for other model series such as the CLS, the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe and the S-Class, as well as the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
* General Motors unveiled Ultra Cruise, an all-new, advanced driver-assistance technology and significant next step in the company's journey to enable its goal of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Designed to ultimately enable hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios, Ultra Cruise eventually can be used on every paved road in the U.S. and Canada. Ultra Cruise will cover more than 2 million miles of roads at launch in the United States and Canada, with the capacity to grow up to more than 3.4 million miles. Customers will be able to travel truly hands free with Ultra Cruise across nearly every road including city streets, subdivision streets and paved rural roads, in addition to highways. Ultra Cruise will join GM’s lineup of hands-free advanced driver-assist systems on select models in 2023, with Cadillac being the first to introduce the technology.
* General Motors is ending its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. over the use of the word "cruise." We mentioned this a some months ago when GM sued Ford for copyright infringement. GM said Ford's hands-free driving system name, BlueCruise, too closely resembled GM's self-driving car subsidiary Cruise and Super Cruise, which is GM's hands-free driving system. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston cast doubt over GM's move to block Ford's use of the term BlueCruise. We all cruise! The judge also noted, "I personally take a jazz cruise every now and then, and occasionally there is a blues cruise," she said.
* New photos of the next-gen 2022 Honda Civic Type R were released as it is readied for Nürburgring testing. Red Brembo brake calipers, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, triple center-mounted exhaust outlets and a new shape to the rear spoiler are all evident.
* The worldwide reveal of the all-new 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will be shown on Oct. 26 at 12 p.m. EDT. The feature film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring a variety of individuals who will bring a unique perspective to this new supercar that will put the world on notice.
* Mazda Motor Corporation announced plans to expand its SUV lineup starting from 2022. The new models will include the Mazda CX-50 to be produced in their new U.S. plant, as well as models in their Large Product group, including the Mazda CX-60, Mazda CX-70, Mazda CX-80 and Mazda CX-90, all of which are slated for introduction over the next two years between 2022 and 2023. North America will get the two-row CX-50 and CX-70, both additions to the Mazda line up, and the three-row CX-90 which will replace the CX-9.
* Apple is working on software that could allow you to adjust your car's A/C and other functions via CarPlay, Bloomberg reports. I would prefer to simply reach over and turn a know or push a button. Go figure.
* The 2021 Toyota Mirai has officially set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the longest distance by a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle without refueling. The Mirai achieved an unprecedented 845 miles driven on a single, five-minute complete fill of hydrogen during a roundtrip tour of Southern California as it set the record. Recently selected by Ward’s Automotive as a 10Best Engine & Propulsion Systems winner, the Toyota Mirai’s record sets a new distance milestone for zero emission vehicles. The Mirai was driven by professional hypermiler, Wayne Gerdes and co-piloted by Bob Winger.
* Mercedes-Benz USA announced the launch of several interactive initiatives to educate consumers across the country about the brand’s first line of electric vehicles, Mercedes-EQ. Consumers in 20 U.S. cities will have the chance to test drive the first vehicle from the line, the all-new 2022 EQS Sedan, which officially arrives in the U.S. market later this fall. Later this month, the luxury automotive brand will also open the first of three Mercedes-EQ Experience brand centers in New York City, where guests will be able to learn more about its commitment to an electric future. So it appears Mercedes-Benz is not waiting around to see if auto shows happen or not. They are getting their own show on the road. To view the full test drive city tour schedule and register for a specific session, visit http://www.MercedesEQTestDrive.com
* The organizers of the Geneva auto show said they would not organize the event next year due to "industry-wide issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic". The show was due to take place in February next year and is now postponed to 2023. The 2020 and 2021 editions were also canceled following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Volvo is recalling more than 460,000 vehicles globally over airbag defect linked to 1 death. The recall affects S60 sedans from model years 2001 to 2009 and S80 sedans from model years from 2001 to 2006.
* Volkswagen of America will make its inaugural entry in the Rebelle Rally, a woman-driven and navigated off-road competition in the deserts of Nevada and California. Driver Mercedes Lilienthal and navigator Emily Winslow will run the prepared ID.4 AWD Pro electric SUV during the competition from October 7–16, 2021. The Rebelle Rally, now in its sixth year, is the first all-women rally raid event of its kind in the United States, challenging teams and vehicles across 1,400 miles through the deserts of Nevada and California.
* Kia America is also hitting the dirt again for the 2021 Rebelle Rally, this time entering a pair of modified 2022 Sorento PHEVs to highlight the capability of the electrified SUV in the harsh conditions that make up the 1,500-mile navigational desert challenge. Two formidable all-women teams will be at the helm of the new plug-in hybrid SUVs as they compete in the X-Cross class under the “Electrified” designation.
* A team of Honda engineers will take the company's product development efforts to the next level later this month as Honda tackles the 2021 Rebelle Rally, the all-women off-road navigation event through the unforgiving deserts of the American southwest. Driving a rugged 2021 Honda HPD Ridgeline, two engineers from Honda's Ohio-based North American Auto Development Center, Liz Long and Tasha Krug, will compete in the in the grueling eight-day competition from October 7-16.
* The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America did back-to-back induction ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021. Held at M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan, the class of 2020 was inducted on September 27, with the class of 2021 inducted on September 29. Inductees from both classes included legends from every branch of motorsports–both on and off the track–like Davey Allison, Larry McReynolds, John Cobb, Larry Dixon Jr., Janet Guthrie, “Kentucky Kid” Nicky Hayden, Robin Miller, Fran Muncey, Ray Nicels and Judy Stropus. For 2022, the induction ceremony will return to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Florida.
* Doug Freedman, the founder of one of the most popular events of Monterey Car Week, the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, died after suffering a heart attack while in Rhode Island to attend the Audrain Concours. Freedman, 72, was well-known for the creation and continuation of the relaxed classic car event in downtown Carmel, and remembered for his contributions to the community.
Stay safe. Be Well.