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Nutson' s Auto News Weekly Wrap-up May 7-13, 2023



Auto Central May 14, 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 May 7-13, 2023.

* Reuters reports U.S. automakers are saying no to Biden’s EV goals. The trade group representing most U.S. automakers made it official: Their members do not support the Biden Administration’s proposals to boost EVs to 67% of the U.S. market by 2032 by ratcheting down the allowable CO2 emissions from the new vehicle fleet. The stand by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation – representing the Detroit Three and most other established automakers – sets up a confrontation over EV policy that will play out against the backdrop of the 2024 Presidential campaign. The challenge for the Biden re-election team: Republicans eager to win back the White House are bashing the Biden Administration’s EV policies, hoping to win auto-building swing states like Michigan. Walking back the auto emissions proposals would risk angering large constituencies that want action on climate change.

* Counting all EVs, including GMC Hummers and Mazda MX-30s, the Kelley Blue Book team estimates EV sales in Q1 increased by 44.9% year over year and reached 258,882, a record quarter for the U.S. market. Fully 7.2% of new car sales last quarter were electric. Just two years ago, 3.2% of new cars sold were EVs. Tesla’s heavy price cuts helped drove up the numbers. Tesla’s share of the EV market, however, fell to 62.4% — down from 79% in 2020. The Rivian R1T was the number one selling electric pickup truck according to KBB.

* US DoE factoid of the week: New vehicle fuel economy improved by 33% from 1980 to 2022 while performance increased. Increased vehicle weight and better performance can require more energy, which negatively impacts fuel economy. Advances in vehicle technology, however, have allowed automakers to continue improving vehicle performance while still providing consumers with better fuel economy. Horsepower increased 144%, weight increased 33%, and acceleration improved by 51%, while fuel economy of new vehicles improved by 33% from model year 1980 to 2022. In the 1990s and early 2000s, fuel economy decreased while vehicle weight increased. Fuel economy has improved nearly every year since 2004.

* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research monitors key U.S. transportation indexes. Driving and flying are back to near pre-pandemic levels; rail is still down 10% and public transit is down 33%. Recent updates show the following population-adjusted changes for February 2023 compared with February 2019: Road vehicle miles: no change; Air passenger miles (domestic): up 2%; Rail passenger miles: down 10%; Trips on public transit: down 33%.

* Kelley Blue Book’s April report reveals the new vehicle average transaction price (ATP) remains below MSRP for the second consecutive month, while automaker incentives hit their highest point in a year. The April numbers reflect a downward trend in transaction prices. The ATP for a new vehicle was relatively flat month over month at $48,275, while automaker incentives averaged $1,714 – or 3.6% of average transaction price. For the first time in a year, luxury vehicle transaction prices dropped below $65K and the ATP for electric vehicles fell to nearly $55K.

* The majority of auto customers are not on board for automaker subscription plans for features such as hands-free driving, per research from Cox Automotive, with 41% indicating an interest. "To gain consumer acceptance, automakers must ensure consumers perceive subscription-based features as a good value and not just a money-grab," said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager for Cox Automotive. Awareness of features on demand is very low among shoppers, with only 21% of in-market shoppers familiar with the concept. The top five features shoppers would pay a monthly fee for now are: remote start, vehicle locator, heated seats, dashcams and a digital key, the study found. However, 69% of respondents indicated that if certain features were available only via subscription, they would likely shop elsewhere.

* Ford revealed the all-new 2024 Ford Ranger and 405-HP Ranger Raptor. Ranger will start at $34,160 and Ranger Raptor will start at $56,960, including $1,595 for destination and delivery. The 2024 Ford Ranger will be assembled at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with orders beginning later this month, and availability beginning late summer, with late fall availability for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine.

* Ford will now be offering its Raptor package in three models, Ranger, F-150 and Bronco. Performance vehicles help pump up profits from combustion vehicles, using regulatory credits from electric vehicles to stay in line with federal emissions mandates.

* found out what's the best compact SUV of 2023. They tested six compact SUVs: the refreshed 2023 Ford Escape, the redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, the redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage, the all-new Mazda CX-50 and the 2023 Nissan Rogue. Though Hyundai was unable to provide a 2023 Tucson in time for the comparison, the 2022 Limited version tested is largely representative of 2023. The 2023 Nissan Rogue Platinum has been named the winner of the 2023 Compact SUV Challenge. Details are here:

* Ford Motor plans to partner with BP and Ocado for a three-year test of Ford E-Transit vans powered by hydrogen fuel-cells in the UK. Vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells, in which hydrogen mixes with oxygen to produce water and energy to power a battery, can refuel in minutes and have a much longer range than those with BEVs.

* Hemmings noted Chevrolet customers have waited anxiously for the arrival of the C8 Corvette through many delays. Parts shortages, union strikes, and a global pandemic all contributed to the slowing production. Now that the sports cars are leaving the Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant in route to prospective dealerships, more complications are unraveling. Most recently, on Thursday, May 4, a semi truck car hauler loaded with C8 Corvettes was rear-ended, damaging several new sports cars and taking the life of one driver. Complete Article HERE

* San Francisco news outlet Mission Local has obtained some 15 Fire Department incident reports documenting dangerous and/or nuisance situations in which Waymo or Cruise vehicles interfered with fire vehicles or emergency scenes. These incidents are either happening more regularly or being documented more regularly — or both. Within the marginalia of reports written very recently, fire department officials complain that driverless car incursions are now a “daily occurrence.” This does not appear to be an overstatement. Automated vehicles react strangely to flashing lights and sirens: “They just stop dead in the middle of the road" according to officials.

* On May 9, The National Trust for Historic Preservation revealed its 2023 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The annual ranking calls out historic sites that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage if not preserved. Appearing at the top of the list is the Osterman Gas Station located in Peach Springs, Arizona. The Osterman Gas Station, built in 1929 along Route 66, is owned by the Hualapai Tribe and has been a focal point of the tribe’s community for generations. It’s one of the few remaining commercial buildings from the early 20th century that is still standing in Peach Springs. It is a cherished example of the privately-owned businesses that thrived along the historic route by catering to travelers and tourists before Interstate 40 was completed in 1979 and traffic on the “Mother Road” drastically slowed." >Read more from Hemmings.

* Money Magazine has come up with its Best Autos of 2023, from Sports Cars to SUVs.There's more than 100 recommended vehicles in 25 categories. Value was a key consideration for choosing the best cars. Have a look:

* NASCAR is tweaking its Chicago race plan as residents voice concerns about noise, along with other concerns. Downtown Chicago residents raised issues about the two-day racing event in July, and NASCAR says it listened. Residents who live near the 2.2-mile racecourse voiced their concerns at a meeting with NASCAR officials in April. In response, the racing brand says it will limit car noise. “Our NASCAR cup series cars will be running mufflers for this event,” NASCAR's Julie Giese said. “This is something that has only been done in one other race in an effort to continue to mitigate the sound.”

* Bruce McCall, the legendary humorist and longtime contributor to Car and Driver, has died. McCall is described one of the funniest men to ever write about cars—and also sketch, draw, and paint them with inimitable style—died at 87, owing to complications arising from Parkinson's Disease. Though known to the non-enthusiast reading population for the more than 80 covers he created for the New Yorker and the many illustrations and humorous essays he contributed to that toney East Coast periodical, as well as to the madcap 1970s comedic juggernaut, The National Lampoon, McCall distinguished himself to the car-loving world with his often acerbic and always hilarious work for Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine.

Stay safe. Be Well.