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Nutson's Weekly Auto Interest News Wrap-up March 26-April 1, 2023



Auto Central April 2, 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 26-April 1, 2023.

* Cox Automotive forecasts new-vehicle sales volumes in Q1 will increase by nearly 6% year over year, reaching 3.5 million units. Sales volume in March is expected to be near 1.30 million, an increase of 2.6% from March 2022. Through Q1, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is forecast at 15.0 million, an increase of more than 6% compared to the 14.1 million SAAR in the first quarter of 2022. Cox cautions "rising interest rates that push many would-be buyers out of the market."

* US Treasury Report Says fewer new electric vehicles will qualify for a full $7,500 federal tax credit later this year, and many will get only half that, under rules proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department. The rules, required under last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, are likely to slow consumer acceptance of electric vehicles and could delay President Joe Biden’s ambitious goal that half of new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. run on electricity by 2030. The new rules take effect April 18 and are aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on China and other countries for battery supply chains for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles now cost an average of more than $58,000, according to Kelley Blue Book, a price that’s beyond the reach of many U.S. households. The tax credits are designed to bring prices down and attract more buyers. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry trade group, said only a few of the 91 EV models now for sale in the U.S. likely will get the full credit, although some will qualify for half.

* Reuters shared a fun fact: There were (about) 1.4 billion vehicles on the planet in 2022, according to various estimates. The U.S. has one of the highest concentrations, at around 82 to every 100 people. But there are other car-loving countries, like Finland, which according to the World Economic Forum at one point had 1.07 cars per person. Not so in Singapore. The city-state, which you can drive across in under an hour and has a wide-ranging public transport system, has just 12 cars per 100 people.

* A recent study commissioned by ABB Robotics polling almost 600 experts finds that 59% believe the shift to EV production is not achievable in the timeline put forth by legislation. The causes cited by experts include grid capacity, shortages of raw materials, high levels of capital investment, and a lack of infrastructure. However, 80% of experts surveyed say that a shift to sustainable manufacturing methods is achievable.

* In a new J.D.Power study it is reported that thanks to a steady increase in availability of new models, expanded price mix within existing models and widening eligibility of federal and state incentives, acquisition cost is starting to fade as a hurdle to EV adoption. At the current trajectory, J.D. Power projects that approximately half of all vehicle shoppers nationwide will have a viable EV option available to them by the end of 2023. By the end of 2026, that number is expected to surpass 75%. This is great news, but we ask: What about the ability to charge the EV battery? Will this knock the wind out of the sails of EV purchases in the near term? JD Power Report

* Germany and the European Union announced that they have reached an agreement in their dispute over the future of cars with combustion engines, allowing the registration of new vehicles with such engines even after 2035 provided they use climate-neutral fuel only. An initial proposal by European Union member countries on new carbon dioxide emission standards for cars had been postponed amid opposition from Germany. The EU had wanted to ban the sale of all new cars with combustion engines from 2035.

* Car jacking becomes car hacking! The Detroit Bureau reports in less than two minutes, ethical hackers from the French cybersecurity company Synacktiv broke into a Tesla Model 3’s gateway and infotainment subsystems. The Synacktiv team highlighted their accomplishment by substituting their logo for Tesla’s on the infotainment screen. Additionally, they were able to completely access the car using an Ethernet network. For safety reasons, they compromised the Tesla’s head unit, which controls the navigation and entertainment systems, and not the complete vehicle. SEE ARTICLE HERE

* Reuters reports Ford Motor Co has withdrawn a petition seeking U.S. regulatory approval to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles annually without required human controls like steering wheels. Citing its decision to close its self-driving venture Argo AI last year, Ford said "we believe the road to fully autonomous vehicles, at scale, with a profitable business model, will be a long one." So yes, reality has set in.

* GM will begin phasing out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as options for powering infotainment displays in future electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevy Blazer. GM wants owners of its EVs to use the built-in infotainment displays – and especially built-in navigation. GM intends to closely integrate features such as its SuperCruise driving assistant, charging location and other location-based services with the vehicle’s on-board navigation systems, developed in a partnership with Google.

* Gary Vasilash in his On Automotive newsletter shares with us Comscore, a research organization that compiles number about things like box office earnings and the number of people watching programs on TV, also has a comprehensive assessment of the number of people who are engaging with companies of seemingly all types on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One of those categories is “Automotive—Automobiles & Manufacturers.” In its recent findings it found that the top five companies or brands in the social space are: 1) Lamborghini, 2)Porsche, 3)BMW M, 4)Rolls Royce and. . .5) Dodge. That’s right, the brand behind the Brotherhood of Muscle is in the mix with brands that, while they may make some awfully fast vehicles, don’t have the same sort of adrenaline-fueled performance of a Dodge Challenger Black Ghost or a Dodge Charger King Daytona.

* An impressive lineup of Easter Jeep Safari concepts from Jeep are heading to Moab, Utah from April 1-9. Seven one-of-a-kind Jeep concept vehicles are taking four-wheeling to the next level including four new electrified concept vehicles, plus a reimagined Jeep Wrangler Magneto 3.0. All concept vehicles are equipped with an array of advanced powertrains and showcase the latest prototype and production parts.

* In New York City a battery-powered food cart is going for a test drive on city streets. The Street Vendor Project hopes rechargeable electric power supplies can improve air quality and reduce fossil fuel use. The cart was powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, rather than the typical exhaust-spewing gasoline or diesel generator.

* Honda is recalling more than 330,000 vehicles because heating pads behind both outside rear-view mirrors may not be bonded properly, which could lead to the mirror glass falling out and increase the risk of a crash. Vehicles included in the recall are 2020-2022 Odyssey, 2020-2022 Passport, 2020-2021 Pilot and 2020-2021 Ridgeline.

Stay safe. Be Well.