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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up April 2-8, 2023



Auto Central April 9, 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.

Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up Week April 2-8, 2023.

* First quarter 2023 auto sales brought many rebounds. Overall, light-duty vehicle sales are up 7.5%, bolstered by strong fleet sales, increased availabilty, and slightly lower prces. However, interest rates remain high averaging 7%. J.D. Power said the average vehicle sales price hit a March record of $45,818, up 3.5% from a year ago. But it was down from the overall record of $47,362 set in December. Electric vehicle sales rose 48% in Q1 to just over 258,000, accounting for 7.2% of U.S. new vehicle sales. Last year's EV share was 5.8%.

* The New York International Auto Show opened this week. Genesis unveiled the 300 HP Plus GV80 Coupe Concept at an exclusive event at Genesis House New York. The four-passenger GV80 Coupe Concept adds a new facet to the Genesis brand. Volkswagen introduce the 2024 Atlas Peak Edition trimline. The 2024 Hyundai Kona debuted. Three months after showing a concept battery-powered pickup at CES and The Chicago Auto Show, Ram has pulled the wraps off the real thing, the all-electric 2025 Ram 1500 REV, 3-row, electric The Kia EV9 all-electric 3-row SUV, Subaru's all-new 2024 Crosstrek Wilderness, and the 2024 Jeep Wrangler all made their grand entry.

* This year's World Car Awards were announced at an awards ceremony during the New York International Auto Show. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 was a triple winner with titles for: World Car Design, World Electric Vehicle, and the World Car Overall Winner. Other winners are: World Urban Car - Citroen C3, World Performance Car - Kia EV6 GT, World Luxury Car - Lucid Air. The recognition comes from a jury of 100 distinguished international automotive journalists representing 32 countries.

* Tesla cut prices on its entire U.S. model lineup for the third time this year in an apparent effort to lure more buyers amid rising interest rates. The most recent cuts were as large as $5,000 per vehicle for Tesla's slower selling, more expensive S sedan and X utility vehicle.

* AAA reports the average US gas price is roughly $3.50 per gallon. That may go up to $4.00 during the summer due to a combination of factors, one being the production of summer-blend gasoline. The newest factor is a just announced cut in oil production by Saudi Arabia and othjer major-oil producers which affects the global price of a barrel of crude oil.

* The Biden administration cleared the way for California's plan to phase out a wide range of diesel-powered trucks, part of the state's efforts to drastically cut planet-warming emissions and improve air quality in heavy-traffic areas like ports along the coast. The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows California to require truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission trucks over the next couple of decades. The rule applies to a wide range of trucks including box trucks, semitrailers and even large passenger pick-ups. Other states can then follow suit, and eight other states plan to adopt California's truck standards.

* NHTSA data shows that 43,000 people died in US traffic crashes in 2021. This is the highest number in 16 years with deaths due to speeding and impaired or distracted driving on the rise. Data shows a 12% rise in fatal crashes involving at least one distracted driver. The number of pedestrians killed rose 13% and cyclist fatalaities were up 2%. The NHTSA brought focus to distracted driving deaths which are preventabile if people would stop using their mobile phones, eating, and doing other things such as interacting with a vehicle's touch screen.

* This page can can help consumers cash in on new federal tax credits for clean vehicle purchases. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides new opportunities for consumers to save money on clean vehicles. has developed a new tool through the’s Tax Center to help consumers shop for clean vehicles eligible for these tax credits and help car buyers navigate the requirements. The website provides a simple calculator to help buyers determine the credit for pre-owned vehicles, provides information on claiming each of the credits, and answers frequently asked consumer questions. Visit the Tax Incentives page at

* US DoE factoid of the week: The average travel time to work was 26.8 minutes in 2021, which was very close to the 26.9-minute average commute time in 2020 and 2019. Between 2010 and 2019 the average commute time rose gradually from 25.2 to 26.9 minutes. Increased work-from-home may have contributed to the leveling-off in the last few years.

* Ford is rolling out a $1 million scholarship fund for future technicians. With the nationwide technician shortage worsening, Ford is taking aim at four hard-hit cities with a $1 million scholarship program that will help 200 technicians get their degrees. The Ford Auto Tech Scholarship is open to current and future students who are enrolled in post-secondary auto or auto and diesel technician training programs in the Greater Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix areas. This need-based scholarship is applied to a student's school tuition account and may be used for all cost of attendance, including tuition, tools, living expenses, and transportation. For more information and to apply for the Ford Auto Tech Scholarship opportunity students can visit

* NBC News reports San Francisco’s self-driving cars have a hit-and-run problem. Usually, they’re the victims. Accident reports often show that when autonomous vehicles are hit, drivers of the other vehicle leave the scenes without contacting the police or the operating company. The hit-and-runs pose a problem for driverless technology and its future: Even when self-driving cars are programmed to do everything right, it can be hard to avoid the mistakes of human drivers. Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, operates a nightly driverless taxi service in San Francisco, and Waymo, which shares a parent company with Google, has a similar service in Phoenix.

* Meanwhile: GM's Cruise autonomous vehicle unit has recalled 300 robotaxis to update software after one of them rear-ended a municipal bus in San Francisco. Cruise says in government documents posted Friday that the robotaxi inaccurately predicted how the bus would move as it pulled out of a bus stop on March 23. The “articulated” two-section bus slowed as it was leaving the stop and was hit by the self-driving vehicle. Cruise characterized the crash as a fender-bender and said no one was hurt. The company says in documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it did the software update on March 25. “Cruise determined that the collision was caused by an issue related to prediction of the unique movements of articulated vehicles in rare circumstances,” the company said in documents.

* Residents of Paris are tired of dodging the wild usage of electric scooters. Shared electric scooters will be banned in Paris as of Sept. 1, the city’s government said. The decision followed a Twitter poll in which 89% of respondents said they wanted e-scooters off the streets. Paris has been a strong supporter of alternative means of personal transportation. However its citizens value their personal safety more.

* Ford plans to stop putting AM radio in new gas-powered and electric vehicles beginning in 2024, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, the Detroit Free Press has confirmed. "A majority of U.S. AM stations, as well as a number of countries and automakers globally, are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming through mobile apps, FM, digital and satellite radio options. Ford will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news and podcasts as we remove amplitude modulation — the definition of AM in this case — from most new and updated models we bring to market."

* VW has stopped the sale of some ID4 EVs over risk doors might fling open while in motion. Nearly 18,000 vehicles built at VW's Chattanooga assembly plant may have door handles that are malfunctioning because of water seeping in, according to the stop-sale notice.

* Honda is recalling nearly 564,000 older small utility vehicles because road salt can cause the frame to rust and rear suspension parts to come loose. The recall covers certain CR-Vs from 2007 through 2011 that were sold or registered in states where salt is used to clear roads in the winter. The recalled CR-Vs were either sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

* Audi will present its Formula One design at the Shanghai auto show next month. Audi will give an update on its Formula One partnership with Sauber ahead of its entry into the racing series in 2026.

* From The Auto Channel we read and see video coverage of Speed Racer Craig Breedlove who died this week. Breedlove was a Southern California hot rodder who assembled a team of engineers and street racers to bolt rocket engines onto wheels. He was 86. Breedlove set records at more than 400, 500, and 600 mph in jet-powered cars running surplus fighter jet engines. For a three-year period from 1962 to 1965, Breedlove battled two other great land speed racers for glory on the Bonneville Salt Flats—Art Arfons and his brother Walt. Between the three of them the records were made, broken and set again. Breedlove's final top speed record was a blistering 606.6 mph.

* Hemmings reports Melvin “Jerry” Bickel, famed doorslammer chassis builder and owner and founder of Jerry Bickel Race Cars, has passed away at the age of 75. Jerry Bickel and his business were dedicated supporters of the NHRA and his support trailer could be seen at most major events. His builds were legendary across multiple drag racing niches. His Ohio-based shop, Jerry Bickel Race Cars, evolved into a world class facility over the last 40 years of operation. More recently, he expanded his business to offer mail-order parts for the builders and enthusiasts who build race cars at home.

Stay safe. Be Well.