Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up: January 16-22, 2022
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Nutson's Automotive News Wrap-up - Week Ending January 22, 2022; 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-understand automotive universe news nuggets.
* From Our Friend Paul A. Eisenstein, Publisher Of theDetroitBureau.com
It might be easy to fall into cliché and call Marty Bernstein the “dean of auto writers.” After all, he was more than twice — indeed, triple — the age of many who take part in the traveling circus of auto shows, new car previews, driving reviews and peer to peer interviews with executives who make the worldwide auto industry go, they all talked with Marty. But he was far more than that. He could be a mentor, if that was what the moment called for. A source of insight. A fount of great stories. And, until surprisingly late in life, a serious challenger on the tennis court.
The last 12 months were increasingly rough. Yet, he never lost his keen eye and, even on the worst of days, he’d roll out a joke in his rumbling voice. Marty Bernstein passed this week with the same level of dignity that defined the rest of his long life.
“May Marty's memory be for a blessing”, Rest In Peace my friend and thank you for always being there for us...you will be missed.
* DoE fact of the week. In model year 2021 all-electric vehicles had a median driving range about 60% that of gasoline powered vehicles. For the 2021 model year, the median driving range of all-electric vehicles (EV) was 234 miles while the median range for gasoline vehicles was 403 miles. Although this is a sizeable difference, EV ranges have been increasing rapidly. While the maximum range for any EV offered in the 2021 model year was 405 miles, there are already EV models offered for the 2022 model year achieving a maximum range of more than 500 miles. As more long range EVs become available, the discrepancy in range between gasoline powered vehicles and EVs is likely to continue to narrow.
* In June 2022, BMW will produce the very last V12 engine ever to be fitted to a BMW series production road vehicle. To mark the occasion, BMW will offer The Final V12; a limited series of 12 vehicles for customers in the US. Based on the BMW M760i xDrive, these will be 12 of the last V12 BMW vehicles crafted for the US market and will be distinguished by unique badging, wheels, and a choice from the vast collection of exterior colors and upholstery offered by BMW Individual. BMW introduced their first roadgoing V12 in 1987.
* Reuters reports that Germany is hedging on BEVs. A top official of the new German government has walked back the country's goal of having 15 million EVs on the road by 2030. The pledge now includes hybrids AND EVs. Germany currently has 1 million electrified vehicles on the road, half of which are hybrids. Getting to 15 million by 2030 will be a stretch either way the government counts.
* And one more from Reuters: Oil giant BP said its EV recharging stations could soon be as profitable as gasoline pumps. If BP and its rivals start accelerating the pace of EV charger installation, you'll know the tipping point has truly arrived.
* From AP we read, California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a Tesla on Autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people in 2019. The defendant appears to be the first person to be charged with a felony in the United States for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges in October, but they came to light only last week. The misuse of Autopilot, which can control steering, speed and braking, has occurred on numerous occasions and is the subject of investigations by two federal agencies.
* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is developing a new ratings program that evaluates the safeguards that vehicles with partial automation employ to help drivers stay focused on the road. The new rating program is for vehicles with partial automation but no car on the market can pass without changes. Despite misleading messaging from some manufacturers, for now, at least, self-driving cars are not available to consumers. IIHS expects to issue the first set of ratings in 2022.
* Reuters reports the French government wants automakers to include cigarette style health warnings as part of their advertisements, and car companies are not happy, the Financial Times reports. A French government rule would require disclaimers in car ads such as "for short journeys walk or take a bike, when possible," or "consider car pooling."
* Ford is recalling about 200,000 cars in the U.S. to fix a problem that can stop the brake lights from turning off. The recall covers certain 2014 and 2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize cars as well as some 2015 Mustangs. All were sold or registered in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Hawaii.
* The Washington, D.C. Auto Show opened its doors this week to representatives of the automotive industry, government officials, and members of the media during its official Public Policy Day. Known on the auto circuit as the official "Public Policy Show", the day addressed the innovations and challenges for the country's essential automotive sector. It's a show for the people in federal agencies and in Congress, and not so much about new cars and trucks.
* The Chevrolet Corvette celebrated its 69th birthday this week. The Corvette made its debut on Jan. 17, 1953 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
* The legendary Hirohata Mercury sold for $1.95 million last week at the Mecum collector car auction in Kissimmee, Fla. This famed "leadsled" custom 1951 Mercury is a prime example of the custom car scene that blossomed in midcentury Southern California. The body was designed by George Barris, the interior by Carson Top Shop and pinstriping was done by Kenneth Howard, better known as the artist Von Dutch.
*Dodge is in search of an influencer for its brand. It's not a full-time job, but anyone can apply for the position with perks like $150,000, a company SRT Hellcat for a year, the ability to meet with Dodge engineers about what's to come from the brand, Dodge merchandise and getting to attend events from the racing track to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The ambassador will share his or her experiences online. Applicants must submit a maximum two-minute video showing why they should be the chief donut maker. Applications are due by Feb. 28. The first 10,000 will be reviewed. Fans can apply or follow along at DodgeGarage.com. https://www.dodgegarage.com
* Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined his dad in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Earnhardt along with late-model driver Red Farmer and the late Mike Stefanik, a decorated modified driver who died in a plane crash in 2019, were inducted this week in the 2021 class. It is NASCAR's 12th Hall of Fame class and the first with just three new inductees. For the last 11 years the HoF had a five member class but changed the rules starting in 2021. Ralph Seagraves was named as the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Stay safe. Be Well.