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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up October 2-8, 2022



Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel 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: Complete versions of today's news nuggets, along with thousands of pages of relevant news and opinions, information stored in a million-page library published and indexed on The Auto Channel during the past 25 years. Complete information can be found by copying a headline and inserting it into any Site Search Box.

Nutson's Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending October 9, 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.

* In spite of modest sales increase in September U.S. car and truck sales for the third quarter are down around 1%. Year-to-date sales are down around 15%. Monthly sales continue to chug along at about 1.1. million. The annualized sales pace rebounded in September to 13.7 million but rising interest rates (5.7%) and affordability pose more hurdles as the fourth quarter unfolds. A few bright spots in the third quuarter have GM, Hyundai/Kia/Genesis and VW Group on the upswing. In spite of low sales due to low inventory, dealers are getting sticker price or above. As a result, automakers and dealers are making big profits.

* Gasoline prices may be heading up. OPEC+, which includes not only nations in the oil cartel but other major oil producers such as Russia, agreed to slash oil production by about 2 million barrels a day. Gasoline prices have been climbing slightly for awhile now. The national average is $3.83 per gallon, 16 cents higher than two weeks ago. The typical US household buys about 90 gallons of gas a month.

* Bloomberg shares that as electric-car adoption picks up across the US, more cities can expect to see "gas station deforestation." Manhattan in New York City has about 320 publicly accessible charging locations, according to data from the US Department of Energy, compared with just 29 remaining gas stations. San Francisco now has 92 gas stations, according to the California Energy Commission, versus 139 EV charging sites.

* Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state intends to adopt California’s new automotive regulations requiring by 2035 that all new light-duty vehicles to be either electric or plug-in hybrids. Zero-emission vehicles witll be required beginning in 2026 leading to a phase-out of new pure- internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: The transition to electric vehicles is largely driven by a need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce emissions associated with burning fossil fuels. In 2021, 40% of the electricity produced by the electric power sector was derived from non-fossil fuel sources. Since 2007, the increase in non-fossil fuel sources has been largely driven by “Other Renewables” which is predominantly wind and solar. This has resulted in renewables (including hydroelectric) overtaking nuclear power’s share of electricity generation in 2021 for the first time since 1984. An increasing share of electricity generation from renewables has also led to a declining share of electricity from fossil fuel sources like coal, natural gas, and petroleum.

* The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S.’s new tax-break scheme for electric vehicles has drawn angry responses from the country’s key allies in Asia and Europe, highlighting a tension between government support for the domestic automobile industry and courting allies to counter China’s influence. The European Union, Japan and South Korea say provisions in the U.S. legislation to promote clean energy, signed by President Biden in August, discriminate against their auto makers and might violate World Trade Organization rules that bar treating imported products differently from domestic ones. Biden administration officials say they continue to speak with the allies to address their concerns, while working on details of the implementation of the new law. To qualify for up to $7,500 in tax credit, vehicles must go through their final assembly in North America, a requirement that disqualifies most electric vehicles from non-U.S. car makers. That is because they are currently mostly assembled overseas, unlike many of their popular gasoline-powered models built at their North American plants.

* According to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Mobility Confidence Index (MCI) Study consumer readiness for higher levels of automation in a vehicle remains low. Consumer understanding of automated vehicles remains virtually unchanged from a year ago, as 65% of consumers inaccurately define fully automated, self-driving vehicles. Significant deficiencies remain, as 56% of respondents incorrectly classified the driver-assist technologies available today as fully automated, self-driving technologies. Consumers say the information sources used to learn about advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features on their current vehicle are inadequate for learning about complex ADAS and AV technologies.

* The 2022 Brand Key annual Loyalty Leaders List gives the loyalty rankings for the top 100 brands, out of the 1,624 brands assessed in a cross-category analysis of 142 industry categories identified in the 2022 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. The top automotive brand is Hyundai (ranked 19 in the top 100) followed by Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Subaru and Tesla.

* Motor1 reports a driver was pulled over by a California police officer due to backfiring noises coming from the car, a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N. The driver explained the car was stock and offered to pop the hood, but the officer declined. Instead, he told the driver his registration would be suspended and a state rep would send him "back to the dealer; the dealer has to remove the track options." The owner is in legal limbo in California because he can't have the car retested and be allowed to drive it until it's fixed. But there's nothing to fix. It's bone stock as it was delivered.

* Motor Authority has let us know that anyone driving in Texas should beware. The Texas Highway Patrol now has a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody pumping out 1,080 hp. The car was awarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which encompasses the Highway Patrol, by a judge, according to a Facebook post by the agency. It seems the Hellcat was once the property of a criminal suspect.

* Automotive News reports Toyota Motor Corp. finally has a fix to keep the wheels from falling off its new bZ4X all-electric crossover. The wheel problem forced the world’s biggest automaker to recall the vehicle just two months after starting sales, stop selling them and also stop production. The defect stemmed from not accounting for the high torque exerted on the wheels by the car’s all-electric drivetrain. The wheels are attached with hub bolts. But even in low mileage use, the wheels can come loose due to vigorous driving – such as turning sharply or braking aggressively. The fix involves adding a washer to the hub bolts and improving friction of the wheel surface.

* Rivian Automotive is recalling almost all the vehicles it has delivered to customers in order to tighten a loose fastener that could potentially affect drivers' ability to steer. About 13,000 vehicles will be checked because a fastener connecting the vehicles' front upper-control arm and steering knuckle may not be torqued enough.

* Prior to its full reveal this fall, the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport made its competition debut at the 2022 Rebelle Rally. With its standard all-terrain tires, steel skid plates, raised off-road tuned suspension, expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities, full-size spare, and front and rear recovery points, the unmodified 3-row SUV will be the first Honda to take on the all-women off-road navigation event in the Bone-Stock category. Driving the early production Pilot TrailSport were two Ohio-based Honda associates: Liz Long, a chassis reliability test engineer at Honda’s North American Auto Development Center, and Hillary Tate, a project administrator of design and construction for Honda facilities across North America.

* The all-women Rebelle Rally got underway this week. The extremely challenging eight-day competition through the unforgiving desert conditions of the American Southwest takes place from October 6-15. It began at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe and finishes more than 1,500 miles later at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California. Manufactuter-supported teams from Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Rivian and Toyota are competing.

* Autoweek reports the third annual Audrain Concours d’Elegance in Newport, Rhode Island on the grounds of the legendary Breakers “cottage” went on as planned October 2 in spite of cold and windy weather. The Best in Show award went to William Medcalf for his 1930 Bentley Speed Six Sports Saloon. It also won in the European Luxury 1920 to 1935 category. The Most Elegant award was scooped up by Lawrence Auriana for his racy red 1968 Alfa-Romeo 33 Stradale. Jay Leno, who has a house nearby and is a close friend of Audrain Automobile Museum CEO Donald Osborne, is a regular at the concours.

* Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Library Director Chris Ritter was tragically killed on Sept. 26 in an accident while out golfing with his father. Chris had overseen the move of the AACA library from its 1980s-built facility to a larger facility shared with shared with AACA Headquarters, plus a massive digitization project to make the library’s collection of print and motion-picture films available to online users. A memorial has been scheduled for October 16 in Bethel, Pennsylvania. Further details should be available via

Stay safe. Be Well.