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Nutson Weekly Auto News Wrap-up November 7, 2021



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - November 7, 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: Full versions of today's news nuggets along with almost a million pages of the past 25 year's automotive content, news, articles, reviews and archived relevant stories residing in The Auto Channel Automotive News Library can be found by just copying a headline and then inserting into any Site Search Box.

Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending November 6, 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.

* From Reuters we read that U.S. traffic deaths soared by 18.4% in the first six months of 2021 from the same period a year earlier, for the most deadly first half on American roads since 2006, the Transportation Department said. Traffic deaths surged after coronavirus lockdowns ended in 2020 as more drivers engaged in unsafe behavior like speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regulators said. That made for the largest six-month increase ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System's history, which has been in use since 1975. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated 20,160 people died in car crashes in the first six months of 2021 in the United States, up 3,140 over the same period in 2020. Travel on U.S. roads was up 13% in the first half compared to a year earlier.

* AutoPacific’s latest Future Attribute Demand Study (FADS) has indicated a sharp growing interest in certain vehicle features while others have fallen on the wayside. Amidst this shift in consumer behavior, priorities, and preferences, AutoPacific saw four features in the 2021 FADS climb their way into the top ten list from out of the lower ranks including front and rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ventilated/cooled front seats, and LED front exterior accent lighting. Heated front seats remains the number one item on consumer wish lists with 66% wanting this on their next new vehicle followed by blind-spot information system (commonly referred to as blind spot monitoring) at number 2 with 60% demand.

* Vice President Kamala Harris joined U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in New York to announce the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $199 million to fund 25 projects aimed at putting cleaner cars and trucks on America’s roads, including long-haul trucks powered by batteries and fuel cells, and at improving the nation’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. While in New York, they discussed the enormous benefits of electrification and alternative-fuel technologies, through programs like SuperTruck, to combat the climate crisis and create good-paying jobs across the country.

* The U.S. House of Representatives passed the biggest U.S. infrastructure package in decades, marking a victory for President Joe Biden and unleashing $550 billion of fresh spending, including $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $65 billion for upgrades to the nation's electric grid.

* Democrats in Congress are now proposing that a $12,500 credit for vehicles made in the USA by union workers could be used to buy a truck or SUV priced as high as $80,000. That would include most versions of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck as well as electric vehicles from Rivian, General Motors and other automakers.

* October U.S. auto sales were hit hard by supply limitations from the chip shortage, resulting in a fresh low point for the 2021 market. According to Cox Automotive, the sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), in October is expected to fall to 11.8 million units, down from September’s 12.2 million pace and down from the October 2020 pace of 16.4 million. Sales volume in October is expected to take a significant hit as well and fall to just 950,000 units, down nearly 30% from October 2020 and down nearly 6% from September.

* The State of Illinois recently passed its most sweeping energy and climate bill in a generation. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), also known as SB2408, is the result of years of deliberations between utilities, municipalities, energy suppliers and environmental stakeholders. The result is a bill that puts Illinois on a path away from traditional fossil fuels to achieve a 100% carbon-free power sector by 2045, while prioritizing environmental justice as well. A focus of the bill is easing and incentivizing the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The bill sets the ambitious goal of bringing 1 million EVs to the roads of Illinois by 2030. The bill also establishes new incentives for electric vehicle purchases as well as EV charging infrastructure, including: Beginning July 1, 2022, a $4,000 rebate for purchase of an EV; Beginning July 1, 2026, a $2,000 rebate for purchase of an EV; Beginning July 1, 2028, a $1,000 rebate for purchase of an EV. Starting July 1, 2022, the Illinois EPA shall issue rebates for Level 2 or Level 3 charging stations. Including grants or rebates that will fund up to 80% of the installation cost. These two rebate programs will vastly speed up the adoption of electric vehicles in the state and will help meet the governor and general assembly’s goal of 1 million EVs by 2030.

* Tesla has recalled nearly 12,000 of its Model 3, Y, S and X vehicles to address an issue that causes their automatic emergency braking software to activate unexpectedly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An over-the-air software updated caused the problem. Tesla says the update to address the issue has already been deployed and customers should not have to do anything further to address the issue.

* The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association has announced its 2022 17-show schedule and announced a 25-year rolling rule that opens those events to more vehicles. For 2021 events, only vehicles produced before 1988 have been eligible to participate in Goodguys events. But beginning with the new year, the 25-year-rule will mean that vehicles produced before 1998 are eligible.

* The legendary 1957 Chevrolet known as Project X made its debut at the SEMA Show with a battery-electric propulsion system. Since 1965, the pioneering HOT ROD project car has been powered by inline-six and V-8 engines and has, at times, used carburetion, fuel injection and supercharging. The classic hot rod is now driving into the future with a Chevrolet Performance concept electric propulsion system that uses a 340-horsepower electric motor and a proof-of-concept lithium-ion battery that could allow customers to tailor the size of the battery to their individual project cars in the future.

* Yes indeed this week is the SEMA show in Las Vegas. Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all have tricked up cars and trucks on display. Off-road is king right now in terms of building-out and accessorizing with trucks and SUVs dominating the market. A theme that is developing from the show is the interest in electrified power of special interest vehicles.

* NHRA has announced a new exhibition A/FX class of race cars for 2022. The class is reserved for 2019 and newer manufactured automobiles with factory production engine of the same make. Currently accepted makes/models are the Chevrolet (Camaro – COPO) using the 630 HP Supercharged 350. Dodge (Challenger – Drag Pak) using the 630 HP Drag Pak 354. Ford (Mustang – Cobra Jet) using 610 HP Cobra Jet 327. Each must have a minimum weight of 2,650 lbs. and can only use a manual transmission. Drag racers view this as return to the late '60s where A/FX first appeared and should bring increased interest and more excitement to the sport. Stay safe. Be Well.