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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up October 9-15, 2022



Auto Central Chicago October 16, 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 15, 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 average price paid for a new vehicle in the United States in September 2022 was down from August’s record but remains 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 average transaction price (ATP) decreased to $48,094 in September, slightly lower than the previous high of $48,240. September prices dipped 0.3% ($146). Luxury vehicle share remains historically high, increasing to 18% of total sales in September, with the average luxury buyer paying $65,775 for a new vehicle. The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in September was $44,215, down $256 month over month.

* KBB also reports electric vehicle prices declined in September but remained up compared to one year ago. The average price paid for a new EV declined in September by $1,162, or down 1.8%, compared to August, but was up by 9.7% compared to a year ago in September 2021. The average new EV price was $65,291, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates, well above the industry average and aligning more with luxury prices versus mainstream prices.

* Cox Automotive has taken a look at Hurricane Ian and the likely range of severely damaged vehicles that could need replacement. Estimates range between 30,000 and 70,000 vehicles. As it is still early days in the aftermath of Ian, Cox recognizes that is indeed a large range and considers the mid-point at 50,000 vehicles the current estimate. With the limited supply of new vehicles, Cox estimates about 80% of the replacements will be used vehicles.

* A new study released by Wallethub rates the best and worst cities to drive in. Wallethub compared the 100 largest cities across 30 key indicators. The best cities to drive in are modest in size with Raleigh, NC ranked nuimber one. The worst places to drive are, no surprise, large densely populated cites with Philadlephis, PA the worst. Have a look here for the city you live in:

* Drivers who use partial automation on a regular basis often treat their vehicles as fully self-driving despite widespread warnings and numerous high-profile crash reports, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Regular users of Cadillac Super Cruise, Nissan/Infiniti ProPILOT Assist and Tesla Autopilot said they were more likely to perform non-driving-related activities like eating or texting while using their partial automation systems than while driving unassisted. More worrying, 53 percent of Super Cruise users, 42 percent of Autopilot users and 12 percent of ProPILOT Assist users said that they were comfortable treating their vehicles as fully self-driving. None of the current systems is designed to replace a human driver or to make it safe for a driver to perform other activities that take their focus away from the road, including Tesla.

* The increasing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles is shrinking revenue from gas taxes, prompting more states to consider charging fees based on miles driven to help pay for roads and bridges. This year at least eight states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington — considered bills that would modify existing programs or set up new pilot programs to tax drivers of electric vehicles (typically all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles) based on the miles they drive, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the issue. Without a change in tax formulas, the current federal and state gasoline taxes will fail to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs. We note: Revenue from gas tax has been shrinking for years as the result of all internal combustion engine vehicles getting better fuel economy.

* Want something to do while charging your BMW EV? AirConsole and the BMW Group announced a partnership which will bring casual gaming into new vehicles, starting next year. AirConsole is a gaming platform which perfectly fits with the BMW Curved Display and offers a large and diverse catalogue of games. The games are run directly inside the vehicle entertainment system. The AirConsole technology enables games to be instantly delivered over-the-air and to control them using smartphones.

* General Motors is setting up a new business unit called GM Energy. The new business will consist of Ultium Home, Ultium Commercial and the already existing Ultium Charge 360 business units. The objective is to help business, residential and electric vehicle customers manage their energy usage. GM Energy’s connected product and services will give customers bidirectional charging capabilities, vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid applications, stationary energy storage, solar products, software applications, cloud management tools and more, GM said. It will also allow customers to sell energy from EV and stationary storage batteries back to utilities during peak energy consumption times.

* Autoweek reports Washington, DC, will “eliminate” right turns at red traffic lights in “virtually all cases” beginning in 2025 in what could become a nationwide reversal of laws enacted across the country in the late 1970s. The Safer Streets Amendment Act of 2022, passed by the District of Columbia’s council in early October, is in a broader bundle of safety initiatives that’s “part of a toolkit for the Vision Zero initiative,” says Colin Brooke, communications director for the Washington Area Bicyclists Association. On October 5, the same day the DC council approved the measure, the Ann Arbor, Michigan city council banned right turns on red at 50 downtown intersections, according to MLive.

* Historically, automakers have timed the inroduction of new or redesigned models with one of the major auto shows in the U.S. Well, not any longer. Thsi week Chevrolet unveiled the 2024 Trax subcompact utility vehicle that won't come out until next spring. Mitsubishi launched the three-row, seven-passenger 2023 Outlander PHEV on YouTube in a live online broadcast. A classic press release brought us the second-generation redesigned and reengineered 2023 BMW M2 coupe. Stay tuned for more "rolling" new vehicle news.

* And...Customers see it first. What a concept! The refreshed 2023 Nissan Versa goes on sale this fall, and starting this weekend and through the 23rd, 2022 Miami Auto Show visitors will be the first ones to see the new sedan in person. Featuring a restyled front fascia and grille, the 2023 Versa also has additional available technology features, including a wireless device charging pad, Wi-Fi hotspot and 8-inch touchscreen.

* HBO is releasing a documentary on the life of enthusiast, racer, stunt driver, and TV personality Jessi Combs. "The Fastest Woman On Earth" follows Combs' life journey, along with her quest to break speed records. The trailer comes three years after Combs was killed while attempting to break the land speed record for women. Streaming begins on October 20.

* The 7th Rebelle Rally, the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States, took place this week. The extremely challenging eight-day competition through the unforgiving desert conditions of the American Southwest began at Nevada’s Lake Tahoe and finished more than 1,500 miles later at the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California. Fifty-three two-women teams drove vehicles from 14 different brands in 4x4 and X-Cross classes. Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit driving a 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4Xe took first place overall, won the 4x4 class (a repeat win), and took the Bone Stock award. Christine Benzie and Melissa Clark driving a 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands won the X-Cross class. Lily Macaruso and Alex Anderson finished their Rally as the Rookie Team of the Year with an impressive fourth place finish in their Rivian R1T.

* Max Verstappen is now a two-time Formula One world champion. The Red Bull driver won the rain-shortened Japanese Grand Prix. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc finished second but received a post-race penalty dropping him to third and giving Verstappen the points margin needed to clinch the title. Four races remain with the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas up next on Oct 23.

* NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, age 44, suffered a concussion three months ago as a result of a routine racing crash. Busch, following doctor's advise to get out of a race car, has announced he will not compete in full-time racing in 2023. Busch acknowledged he is not at 100% of his ability and will focus on his long-term health. Tyler Reddick will replace Busch in the No. 45 Toyota at 23XI Racing. Busch was injured in a routine crash in July that exposed a design flaw in NASCAR's new Next-Gen car. The rear structure of the car is too stiff that results in high force levels on the driver in a crash.

Stay safe. Be Well.