Nutson Weekly Auto News Wrap-up September 11-17, 2022
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Nutson's Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending September 17, 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.
* The Biden Administration announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among four federal agencies to accelerate the nation’s affordable and equitable clean transportation future. The U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will work collectively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector and to ensure resilient and accessible mobility options for all Americans. Domestic transportation—including both passenger and freight—produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector. Working closely with states, local communities, Tribal communities, labor unions, nonprofits, and the private sector, the agencies will combine efforts to advance low- and zero-emission transportation solutions to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, create clean transportation jobs, and support President Biden’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. The agencies will accomplish this by increasing access to more efficient modes of transportation like walking, biking, transit and rail, while lowering the costs of electric vehicles and other zero emission vehicles and fuels to allow American families and businesses the opportunity to immediately enjoy the benefits of the affordable, clean energy revolution.
* After a three-and-a-half-year absence the Detroit Auto Show opened this week. Recognized as the North American International Auto Show, the show's downsized presence this year brings question to that title. Media previews have been reduced to one day. With 50 or more new model introductions being the previous norm now just and handful of auto brands revealed new models. The timing of the show in September instead of January has allowed for outdoor displays and consumer drive programs. The Detroit show, like all auto shows, is in transition and is highlighting other modes of travel for the first time. The transition is from a society living in an automotive landscape to a future mobility landscape.
* President Biden paid a visit to the Detroit Auto Show during media day. Biden said the Washington administration has approved more than two-thirds of electric vehicle charging infrastructure plans submitted by states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico ahead of schedule. Thirty-five of the 52 EV infrastructure deployment plans submitted by states are now approved as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program. NEVI was created and funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden in November. The Chief "car guy" paid a visit to the Detroit show back when he was vice president.
* In June the Federal Highway Administration proposed a rule that would set minimum standards and requirements for federally funded EV charging stations to ensure they are accessible, user-friendly and interoperable among different charging companies and across a broad range of vehicles. The proposal includes a requirement to build EV charging stations every 50 miles, no more than one mile off the highway, with a focus on the interstate system and alternative fuel corridors. Stations also would be required to have at least four 150-kilowatt-hour direct-current fast charging ports capable of simultaneously charging four EVs. It also would require real-time information on station location, availability and pricing, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other relevant state and federal requirements.
* Watch Ford introduction the seventh-generation Mustang, a refresh of the outgoing model, the evening of the media previews. Mustang fans drove across the country to attend. Ford collaborated with America’s Automotive Trust and the Detroit Auto Show on a cross-country adventure with all six generations of Mustang called The Drive Home. They gathered at Ford’s headquarters in the suburb of Dearborn, then about 200 Mustangs drove to downtown Detroit as part of Ford's “Mustang Stampede.” Biggest changes to 2024 Mustang are with the interior, which now offers an optional "digital cockpit" with two connected, customizable screens. An electronic drift brake is among the available upgrades.
* Other new product news from Detroit includes that of the 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Performance Edition, 2023 Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe, 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 30th Anniversary Edition, and the 2023 Chrysler 300C.
* The semifinalists for 2023 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year were announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with electric vehicles making up a full 50% of the mix. Ten cars, three trucks and 13 utility vehicles will advance to finalist round. The finalists will be announced at the LA Auto Show in November. We forecast that the winner in each of the three categories will be a battery-electric vehicle. See who made it.
* Ferrari has unveiled the first four-door production vehicle the legendary Italian automaker has ever produced. Under its long hood is a gasoline engine. The cabin seats four people with space for plenty of cargo. It also has four-wheel-drive. Ferrari insists it isn’t anything so gauche as a “Sport Utility Vehicle.” The Ferrari Purosangue, which mans “pure blood” in Italian, is a “car” according to Ferrari and contrasts its engineering with that of typical SUVs. The Purosangue’s big engine is a 715-horsepower V12. The first Purosangues will be delivered in the US around the end of 2023, according to Ferrari. Prices are expected to start at around $400,000.
* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: Hybrid-Electric SUVs’ Share of Light-Duty Vehicle Production Nearly Doubled from Model Year 2020 to 2021. The 2021 model year (MY) saw a sharp increase in the production share of light-duty hybrid electric vehicles. The production share of hybrid-electric SUVs nearly doubled from MY 2020 to MY 2021 and accounted for 4.7% of all light-duty vehicles produced. To improve fuel economy, manufacturers introduced hybrid drivetrains in MY 2000 in the sedan/wagon class. As hybrid systems have become more common, manufacturers have begun installing them in a wider array of vehicles. Hybrid pickups were introduced in MY 2018 and have seen significant growth, while the first minivan/van class hybrids appeared in MY 2021.
* The average price paid for a new vehicle in the U.S. in August topped July’s record and kept the average transaction price (ATP) solidly above the $48,000 mark, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. The Kelley Blue Book new-vehicle ATP increased to $48,301 in August 2022, beating the previous high of $48,080 set in the prior month. August 2022 prices rose 0.5% ($222) month over month from July, and 10.8% ($4,712) year over year from August 2021. New-vehicle inventory days’ supply held steady in the mid-to-high 30s during the summer and is showing signs of increasing. In August, days’ supply was 43% higher than it was in the same timeframe of 2021, when inventory shortages first started to impact the market.
* In an effort to add more electric vehicles to its fleet, Uber has rolled out an option that allows users to select those vehicles. Uber's Comfort Electric option is being offered in an additional 15 U.S. cities. That brings the program to a total of 25 cities and states in North America. By 2030, Uber wants all its vehicles in its fleet to be electric—if a driver does not have an EV by then, they will not be allowed on the platform.
* The parent company of the popular GasBuddy fuel price app plans to launch a new app called ChargeBuddy. The ChargeBuddy app will offer EV owners information about where to top up their batteries, and what amenities are available nearby, said Brandon Logsdon, president for consumer engagement at PDI Technologies. The company also plans to offer discounts and a rewards program.
* Tesla has been sued in a proposed class action accusing Elon Musk’s electric car company of misleading the public by falsely advertising its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features. The complaint accused Tesla and Musk of having since 2016 deceptively advertised the technology as fully functioning or “just around the corner” despite knowing that the technology did not work or was nonexistent, and made vehicles unsafe. The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages for people who since 2016 bought or leased Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features.
* Two time NASCAR champion Kyle Busch has been looking for a new ride, so to speak. Busch's longtime sponsor M & M for his Joe Gibb's Racing Toyota is ending their support. News has it that Busch will join RCR Racing, the team owned by Richard Childress, and drive the No. 8 Chevrolet. Additional details on the program, including sponsor lineup, will be announced at a later date.
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