Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up May 29-June 5, 2022
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Nutson's Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending June 4, 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.
* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: Fuel economy for a light-duty vehicle going 80 miles per hour (mph) is about 27% lower than when traveling at 60 mph. Between 40 and 50 mph is the optimum cruising speed for the best fuel economy in cars and light trucks, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study of 74 different vehicles. The best fuel economy is typically obtained when the vehicle is traveling at the lowest speed in the vehicle’s highest gear.
* According to a joint forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, new-vehicle prices continue to set records, with the average transaction price expected to reach a May record of $44,832—a 15.7% increase from a year ago and the third-highest level on record despite rising interest rates. Average interest rates for new vehicle loans have risen. The average interest rate for loans in May is expected to increase 62 basis points from a year ago to 4.92%. However, elevated used-vehicle values continue to help affordability for new-vehicle buyers who have a vehicle to trade in. The average trade-in equity for May is trending towards a record of $9,922, a 59.4% increase from a year ago.
* May new vehicles sales were not so good even with the long Memorial Day weekend shopping opportunity. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru sales slumped again. Overall the industry was down 11% compared to April. With retail inventories still stuck below 1 million cars, the U.S. light-vehicle market lost more momentum in May, with the seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales falling to 12.8 million according to Bloomberg News. Of note, Genesis sales are up 39% for the year.
* The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline topped $4.70 for the first time ever this week. California has the highest average price at $6.25 per gallon. Since last Thursday, AAA said these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Indiana (+33 cents), Ohio (+31 cents), Illinois (+30 cents), Kentucky (+26 cents), Wisconsin (+26 cents), Michigan (+24 cents), Colorado (+21 cents), New Mexico (+19 cents), Nebraska (+18 cents) and Minnesota (+18 cents).
* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research has noted the large differences among the recent increases in the cost of powering gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles. The expectation was that the cost of electricity had recently increased much less than the costs of gasoline and diesel. The reason is that, in the United States, oil is used to generate less than 1% of electricity. Therefore, the recent jump in oil prices (because of the war in Ukraine), should have only a relatively small indirect effect on the cost of electricity. Calculations show that the prices for March (the latest month with available electricity prices) increased greatly for gasoline (+27.4%) and diesel (+37.1%), while the price for electricity increased only modestly (+5.5%). See more details here: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2022/06/20220602-sivak.html
* The Detroit Free Press reports Ford CEO Jim Farley said consumers should plan to see dramatic change in the near term as companies compete amid the shift to battery-operated vehicles. "We've got to go to nonnegotiated price. We've got to go to 100% online. There's no inventory (at dealerships), it goes directly to the customer. And 100% remote pickup and delivery," he said in New York during Bernstein's 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference streamed live.
* Are you thinking about visiting San Francisco. You can now go to dinner in a ride-share car with no driver. Cruise Automation, General Motors majority-owned autonomous vehicle unit, has received final approvals to operate a commercial, robotaxi service in San Francisco, the company announced. The California Public Utilities Commission granted Cruise its permit after the California DMV allowed autonomous vehicle deployments by Cruise, and Alphabet’s Waymo.
* DeLorean Motor Company, Inc. has given the public its first complete look at the highly anticipated Alpha5, their all-new EV. The images are available on the company's redesigned website, where early access subscribers had the opportunity to see the vehicle a full day before the site went globally public. Gallery photos explore the coupe's exterior and interior, revealing sleek lines, classic louvers, and DeLorean's iconic gull-wing doors. Images and accompanying details of the vehicle shed light on the dimensions of the car, two of its exterior paint colors, including a launch edition debuting at the Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance in August, and the long-awaited specs. Estimated specifications include a range of 300+ miles, a battery of 100+kWh, and electronically limited top speeds of 155 mph.
* General Motors said its Buick brand will go all electric in North America by 2030. Buick showed a concept for a sleek, sporty EV car (yes, a car), called the Wildcat. The concept revives a muscle car era name. Buick also will bring back the venerable “Electra” badge, Automotive News reports. China is Buick's largest market, representing about five times its U.S. sales. Nearly all of those vehicles in both markets still feature gasoline-fueled engines. Buick said its Chinese lineup won't be fully electrified until after 2030.
* Jaguar Land Rover is joining Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, with 26 of its cars in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, today, Sunday June 5. To further commemorate the Queen’s 70 years of dedicated service, Land Rover is giving the British Red Cross a new Defender 130 to support its operations in the UK. Iconic vehicles from the two British brands will include two of Her Majesty’s beloved Land Rover Defenders and several historically important Jaguar E-type. A Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day is joined by Land Rovers from Skyfall and No Time To Die. A specially commissioned, bespoke 1965 Series 1 Jaguar E-type Roadster will make its public debut in the parade.
* The Hagerty Drivers Foundation announced the 31st and 32nd vehicles to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register, the only federally recognized program to document the historical and cultural significance of the automobile. In order to preserve America’s automotive heritage for future generations, the Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, manages the National Historic Vehicle Register with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). Selected vehicles are permanently enshrined in the Library of Congress. This year’s inductees are the 1952 Hudson Hornet (7B-185596) “Fabulous Hudson Hornet,” Raced by Herb Thomas and Chrysler Corporation Turbine Car (Serial No. 9912-31).
* Memorial Day weekend brought us a triple-header motorsports show. The Indy 500 Is Better than ever This edition saw former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson win the 106th Indianapolis 500 under a yellow flag after Sage Karam crashed in Turn 2 of the last lap. Before the caution flag Ericsson and Pato O’Ward dueled for the race victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. By the way, Scott Dixon set a record for Indy 500 qualifying speed, averaging 234.046 mph over four laps. Denny Hamlin qualified on the pole for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and ended up winning the longest race in the history of NASCAR, 619.5 miles with two overtimes. It was Hamlin’s second Cup Series win this season and 48th of his career. The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix had a rain delay by the first lap and after a hard-fought afternoon Red Bull’s Sergio Perez earned his first win of the season while also becoming a legitimate title contender. Carlos Sainz finished 1.154 seconds behind Perez and Max Verstappen got to the podium with a third-place finish. After seven races Verstappen holds a nine-point lead over Charles Leclerc in the driver standings and Perez is in third, 15-points off the lead.
* From the Hagerty Community we learned this nugget of automotive trivia. The “1939 Packard was the first production car to offer air conditioning. They built 300 cars with A/C, and Cadillac built 300 A/C cars in 1940. After WWII, A/C didn’t return until 1953 or 54 when Pontiac introduced the first in-dash unit. Earlier cars had the evaporator in the trunk. In 1955 Nash had “Weather-Eye”, the first combined heater-A/C unit, and the 1961 Corvair had the first factory installed A/C in the compact car range."
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