Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up June 12-18, 2022
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Nutson's Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending June 18 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.
* Automakers reported nearly 400 crashes of vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, including 273 involving Teslas, according to statistics released by U.S. safety regulators. Automakers reported crashes from July of last year through May 15 under an order from the agency, which is examining such crashes broadly for the first time. Note what is written here: "partially automated." There are no full-automated vehicles on the market today.
* Advanced technologies designed to help drivers navigate intersections could address a third of the crashes that cause older driver injuries and fatalities, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Intersection-assistance features, such as left-turn assist and others which are newer and less well known, could offer older drivers more help, data shows. Vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, which is still on the horizon, would enable similar, more sophisticated features. And, V-to-V could potentially enable vehicle speed control.
* From Reuters reporter David Shepardson: The CEOs of the Detroit Three (GM, Ford and Stellantis) and Toyota North America have asked Congress to lift the cap on federal tax breaks for EV purchases. Under current law, the $7,500 tax credit phases out after a manufacturer sells 200,000 EVs. Tesla and General Motors already have lost eligibility. The outlook for the automakers is uncertain, at best. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who holds a decisive vote in the 50-50 body, has questioned why automakers need subsidies when EV demand is so hot.
* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research has updated key U.S. transportation indexes with several new data points. The following represent the population-adjusted changes for March 2022 compared with March 2019: Road vehicle miles: up 1%, Air passenger miles (domestic): down 7%, Rail passenger miles: down 32%, Trips on public transit: down 39%. The following are the changes for May 2022 compared with May 2019: Vehicle sales: down 31%, Price of gasoline: up 36%. More details at: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/10/20200923-sivakindex.html
* Starting on July 1 the Illinois electric vehicle rebate of up to $4,000 commences for vehicles purchased after that date. The rebate does not apply to plug-in hybrids and funding is limited. While both new and used electric vehicles purchased from a dealer licensed by the Illinois Secretary of State qualify, rented or leased vehicles do not. The state will “prioritize the review of qualified applications from low-income purchasers and award rebates to qualified purchasers accordingly."
* Ford is probably reviewing its plant security practices. Six new 2022 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s were stolen from Ford's Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant in the wee hours of the morning one day this week. Police were notified and a brief chase ensued with one suspect taken into custody. Three of the stolen vehicles, which retail for $80,000, were recovered when they ran out of gas. To make maters worse, thirteen Ford F-150 Raptor pickup trucks were stolen from Ford's Rouge complex. All of the $70,000+ trucks have been recovered by the Dearborn Michigan Police Department, but the vehicles are damaged and missing parts, such as wheel and tires.
* Ford is recalling nearly 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es and telling dealers to pause deliveries of the all-electric car due to a safety defect that could result in power loss. The Mach-Es high-voltage battery main contactors can overheat due to an issue. The fix for the issue is a software update that Ford expects to begin deploying remotely for affected vehicles next month.
* Ford also issued a recall for an estimated 2.9 million vehicles in the U.S. because they may roll away. The recall affects the 2013-2018 C-Max, 2013-2019 Escape, 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2021 Transit Connect and 2015-2018 Edge. The transmission park position may not be correctly engaged to an use with a shift cable bushing. Owners are recommended to use the parking brake.
* Perfectly timed to its arrival this month at Acura dealers nationwide, the 2023 Acura Integra will make its motorsports debut June 26 at The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo. The next-gen Integra will compete in the 100th running of the “Race to the Clouds” alongside four production-based race cars from Acura, including two NSX Type S supercars, all prepped, driven and crewed by a team of volunteer engineers out of the company’s R&D facilities in Ohio.
* The engines of the Mille Miglia, the 'most beautiful race in the world' as Enzo Ferrari called it, have started up again. For its 40th edition, over 425 priceless classic cars are competing along the traditional Brescia-Rome-Brescia route of almost 2000 kilometers, which goes through 250 municipalities during four days. Classic cars, which have made automotive history throughout the world and also their latest evolutions will follow the Mille Miglia torpedo. The 40th also coincides with the tenth anniversary of 1000 Miglia Srl, the company wholly owned by Automobile Club Brescia that has organized the world's most important regularity race since 2013.
* The most famous automobile endurance race in the world returned with a bang. After being held behind closed doors in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then with restricted attendance last year, 24 Hours of Le Mans returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe in France with fans packing out the stands again. Toyota secured its fifth consecutive victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours as the #8 crew of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa came out on top. Toyota had a one-two finish with its hyper-cars followed by the two Glickenhaus entires that earned a legitimate podium finish, four laps back from the winning Toyota. This is the first time an American designed and built car has been on the podium since 1969.
* Legendary Philadelphia car collector and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone has died at the age of 86, a spokesperson for the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum confirmed. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Simeone was the chief of neurosurgery at Pennsylvania Hospital for 25 years until he retired in 2008. He was also the author and editor of several papers and medical books. After his retirement, Simeone launched the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in 2008. Simeone’s father, who was also a doctor, left him with a collection of four cars stored in a garage on Clearfield Street in Philadelphia after his death in 1972. Simeone then expanded his father’s classic car collection over the next few decades and then donated the entire collection to the museum’s foundation. Simeone’s collection drew major recognition and was considered by many experts to be the best in the world.
* Auto analyst/author Maryann Keller passed away last week. Keller covered the auto industry as a Wall Street analyst from the 1970s until the 1990s. According to the New York Times Keller was "the first woman to be an auto analyst" in the United States. Those who have been around awhile and worked in the automobile industry surely have talked with her many times for insights. She was a pioneer and inspiration to those who follow her. RIP Maryann.
Stay safe. Be Well.