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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up March 19-25, 2023



Auto Central March 26, 2023; 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.

Here are Larry's picks among 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.

Weekly Auto News Wrap-up Week March 19-25, 2023. 6

* US DoE factoid of the week: The number of light-duty all-electric vehicles (EVs) available to consumers has increased since the introduction of the first mass market EVs over a decade ago. The number of models nearly doubled from model year 2021 to 2022, going from 20 to 38. The number of EV models in 2022 also surpassed the number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models for the first time since 2014. SEE All EV's, Hybrids, Diesels, and Other Alternative Fuel Cars

* Reuters/Ipsos asked in a survey of 4,410 people nationwide (with a credibility interval of about 2 to 3 percentage points in either direction) whether they’d consider buying an all-electric vehicle as their next vehicle. A little over a third of Americans said yes – but with some caveats. The first is price, with 56% of respondents saying they would pay no more than $49,999. Unfortunately, many EVs in the U.S. market easily breach that threshold. Despite most Americans driving just 30-40 miles a day, the survey showed that a third of U.S. consumers who would consider buying an all-electric vehicle as their next vehicle say they need at least 500 miles of charge – with another third saying they need at least 300 miles. The desire for your car to have a range far beyond what you use in daily life – dubbed “range anxiety” in the industry – is the paradox of the electric age. In part, you could argue range anxiety is a result of charging anxiety – people don’t trust that they’ll find a charging point when they need it and would rather be safe.

* Kelly Blue Book (KBB) reports Congress revised the rules governing the $7,500 tax credit many Americans can claim when they buy an electric car. Among other changes, the new rules applied the tax credit only to electric vehicles (EVs) built in North America. New data show the rules have boosted some automakers and hurt others. In January – when the new rules became active – Experian reports that sales of domestic EVs surged. Sales of EVs built outside North America fell off. The eight best-selling EVs were all built in North America. They included in first and second place the Tesla Model Y and Model 3, the Chevrolet Bolt EV took third, in fourth was the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E (built in Mexico) took fifth.

* The Energy Information Administration's newly released Annual Energy Outlook 2023 forecasts that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will be 25% to 38% lower by 2030 compared to their 2005 levels due to increased electrification, equipment efficiency and renewables use in the power sector. The EIA also expects tech advancements and electrification to contribute to energy intensity declines on the demand side and projects that the US will maintain its status as a net exporter of petroleum products and natural gas through 2050, supported by high international demand and relatively steady domestic consumption.

* Convenience store operator 7-Eleven said it will introduce 7Charge fast-charging electric vehicle stations at its stores in the US and Canada that are open 24 hours a day and located on busy transportation routes. The stations, which will roll out at 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes stores, are compatible with a range of EVs and can charge up to 80% in around 30 minutes.

* Automotive News reports that Volkswagen diesel settlement funds will help to cut emissions on the Great Lakes. The Mackinac Island Ferry Co. plans to use a $3 million grant from Michigan's Volkswagen settlement fund to convert one of its boats from diesel to electric power. The 84-foot Chippewa will be the first zero-emission ferry serving Mackinac Island, where automobiles have been banned since the 1890s.

* General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit asked California for permission to test the cars across the entire state. The GM subsidiary already is running an autonomous ride-hailing service in its hometown of San Francisco after testing for more than two years. It doesn’t have specific plans yet to expand testing in California, but applying with the Department of Motor Vehicles is a step toward entering cities such as Los Angeles.

* Dodge has announced its seventh and final “Last Call” model to commemorate the end of the Hemi engine. The 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is a street-legal drag car that runs on E85 ethanol. The Hemi is rated at 1,025 horsepower and delivers 945 lb-ft of torque. It'll run from zero to 60 in 1.66 seconds and has NHRA-certified ET of 8.9 seconds at 151 mph. On E10 pump gas, the Hemi is rated at 900 horsepower and 810 lb-ft of torque. With a $96,666 base price, it’s the quickest, fastest, most powerful mass-produced vehicle in the world. At least 2,500 models will be built with the hope to get up to 3,000 for the United States and 300 for Canada. This depends on microchip availability. Orders can be placed starting on March 27th at

* After nine strong model years in the market, with hundreds of thousands sold, the sixth generation Chevrolet Camaro will retire at the conclusion of model year 2024. The final sixth generation Camaros will come off the assembly line at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan in January 2024. Chevrolet will celebrate this storied nameplate with the addition of the Collector’s Edition package on the 2024 Camaro RS and SS, and on a limited number of ZL1 equipped vehicles available in North America. Chevrolet Motorsports will continue to compete across the world; Chevrolet announced this is not the final chapter for the Camaro nameplate. The word is a Camaro EV is in the future.

* Attorneys General from 22 states have criticized Hyundai and Kia for not taking more steps to prevent a surge of auto thefts tied to a TikTok challenge. Thousands of Hyundai and Kia owners have had their cars stolen in recent months. Certain Hyundai and Kia models made between 2010 and 2021 were not equipped with "engine immobilizers," an anti-theft device that the states say were standard on other new cars during that period. The immobilizers prevent a car from running without a key or fob. The South Korean automakers have rolled out more anti-theft software, but the attorneys general are pushing for them to do more. Some auto insurers have stopped offering insurance for the affected models.

* We read in the Detroit Free Press a judge has granted class action certification to a lawsuit involving 39 plaintiffs across 26 states that accuses General Motors of knowingly selling cars with faulty transmissions. David Lawson, U.S. District judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted class certification in the case of Speerly v. GM, which represents the owners of various GM vehicles who have one of two models of eight-speed automatic transmissions — the GM 8L90 or 8L45 — made between 2015 and March 1, 2019. The transmissions lurch and shutter when driving, creating a safety hazard, the lawsuit said.

* Dodge Durango Hellcat owners are suing Stellantis for extending the product run. Dodge originally said consumers would have just "one shot" to buy the 710-hp Durango Hellcat, and those who did are mad that the model is coming back for 2023.

* Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 570,000 vehicles due to problem in the tow hitch wiring harness on the vehicles. Owners are being advised to park their vehicles outside, due to a potential fire risk. The affected vehicles include: 2019-23 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2021-23 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, 2022-23 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, and the 2022-23 Kia Carnival.

* Following the NASCAR Cup race at Phoenix Hendrick Motorsports was fined a total of $400,000 for each of its four drivers using modified air-deflecting pieces---hood louvers, on their race cars. The four team crew chiefs were each suspended for four races. It was the largest combined fine on one team in series history.

* Sir Stirling Moss' widow Lady Susie Moss, has sadly passed away, aged 69. Susie and Stirling married in 1980 and share a child together, Elliot. Susie was the driving force behind keeping Moss' career going after his awful 1962 crash. They ran a property business together around London and did public appearances at motoring events. As Stirling began to struggle with memory loss due to the injuries sustained during his crash, Susie was by his side to help fill in any gaps whilst doing public speaking. She also cared for Stirling as he deteriorated ahead of his passing in 2020. The motoring World will be mourning the loss of such a power-house of a woman in the industry and all of our thoughts are with her family and friends.

Stay safe. Be Well.