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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrapup May 14-20, 2023



Auto Central May 21, 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 14-20, 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.

* The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $99.5 million funding opportunity in addition to the selection of 45 projects totaling $87 million to advance production of next-generation electric vehicle (EV) technologies, train the future electrified transportation workforce, and ensure the equitable deployment of clean mobility options in disadvantaged communities. Spanning 18 states and Washington, D.C., the selected projects will accelerate the electrification of domestic transportation, advance more sustainable EV technologies, and educate consumers on the benefits of EV ownership and potential cost savings. The newly announced funding opportunity will support projects that improve EV charging infrastructure for underserved communities, develop EV batteries that use abundant materials, and support additional EV and charging education consumers. 

* US DoE factoid of the week: In Model Year 2022, the longest-range EV reached 520 miles on a single charge. When modern all-electric vehicles (EV) were introduced in model year (MY) 2011, there were four models available with ranges spanning from 63 to 94 miles per charge, with a median range of 68 miles. Over time, the number of EV models and their ranges has greatly increased. In MY 2022, the maximum range for one EV model reached 520 miles on a single charge, while the median range for all EVs on the market was 257 miles.

* Electric cars and trucks are more popular than ever, and sales are growing, but if you want one, you’ll probably have a hard time finding an EV in stock near you. Two-thirds of US car dealers surveyed in a new Sierra Club study didn’t have any battery electric or plug-in hybrids for sale in 2022, new or used. Some car dealerships refuse or are still not ready to sell EVs to consumers. Of the 66% of car dealerships that did not have an EV for sale, 45% of those dealers reported they would not offer an EV for sale regardless of automaker allocation and supply chain constraints.

* Meanwhile: Automotive News reports VW is exploring a plug-in hybrid for the U.S. as EV transition unfolds. Volkswagen Group of America CEO Pablo Di Si says the company is looking hard at adding a plug-in hybrid to the VW lineup soon as an interim step to a full EV lineup. Volkswagen is committed to moving completely to EVs by the mid-2030s, but until then, an interim step makes sense while the U.S. continues to build out charging infrastructure, the new head of the brand's North American arm argues.

* Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), leasing is categorized as commercial business and therefore exempt from regulations that require the electric vehicle and battery components to be made in North America. Most EVs for sale today do not qualify for the full tax credit because of where the vehicles or components are built. Hyundai, Kia and Ford say they will look to increase leasing on their EVs to lower the pricing and increase sales. From now to July 5, 2023, Kia America is offering a $7,500 EV lease bonus, applied as a capitalized cost reduction, on a lease of a new 2023 EV6 to well-qualified customers.

* With more than 284 million vehicles in operation on US roads, the average age of cars and light trucks in the US has risen again this year to a new record of 12.5 years, up by more than three months over 2022, according to the latest analysis from S&P Global Mobility. This is the sixth straight year of increase in the average vehicle age of the US fleet. New vehicle sales are projected to surpass 14.5 million units in 2023, according to S&P Global Mobility forecasts. The average age of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the US is 3.6 years this year, down from 3.7 years last year. Of note, with vehicles staying in operation longer the rate at which ICE-powered vehicles will be replaced by EVs becomes lower.

* Kia and Mitsubishi will have vehicles in the Electrify Expo's seven-stop all-things-electric nationwide exhibit experience. The first show will be held in Long Beach, Calif. on May 18-21 with subsequent visits to San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle, Miami, and Austin, Texas. Vehicles will be on display and availalble for test drives. Electrify Expo is the number one electric vehicle festival in North America, attracting more e-curious consumers than any other event in the country. With more than one million square feet of displays, coupled with a robust test-drive component, Electrify Expo provides attendees with a fully immersive experience in the vehicle electrification world with the chance to ‘try before they buy. For more information on Electrify Expo visit

* More than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives now are pressuring carmakers to keep AM radio reception in cars. These members, from both political parties, signed a letter led by Reps. Bob Latta and Greg Pence asking the car companies to retain AM radio. They also asked the 10 companies to “provide the details and the value of all federal loan, grant and tax incentives your company has received in the last 15 years” and whether those subsidies could help the companies offset the cost to mitigate interference. And they asked whether the car companies plan to charge customers for “subscription-like access to free AM/FM radio in any vehicles.” The letter was sent to Ford, Volkswagen, BMW, Mazda, Volvo, Tesla, Polestar, Rivian, GM and Mercedes-Benz. These are the eight companies that told Sen. Ed Markey earlier that they were dropping AM from certain vehicles, plus two that declined to answer Markey’s question.

* Toyota unveiled its new-generation Tacoma pickup truck. The new Tacoma features a high-output 2.4 liter four cylinder and a hybrid version of the same engine.

* Oscar Mayer's Wienermobile is no more. The Chicago-based meat brand is giving a new name to its beloved company vehicle. Oscar Mayer's Wienermobile will now be known as the Frankmobile. According to Oscar Mayer, this is the first rebrand since the frankfurter-shaped vehicle hit the road in 1936. The six Frankmobiles will have new side decals asking people "Please do not lick" and declaring it "The all beef beef frank Frankmobile."

* Road & Track reports a Rimac Nevera just set a 1.74-second 0-60mph production car record. The all-electric Croatian hypercar set 23 acceleration and braking records. It can go from zero to 248 mph and back to zero in less than 30 seconds. It convered the ¼ mile in 8.26 seconds. There’s no mention of the G-forces experienced by the driver.

* The former head of Volkswagen’s luxury division Audi pleaded guilty to charges tied to the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, becoming the highest-ranking executive convicted over cars that cheated on emissions tests with the help of illegal software. Rupert Stadler answered “yes” to a statement read in court by his attorney that said Stadler admitted wrongdoing and regret for his failure to keep rigged cars off the market even after the scandal had become public knowledge, the dpa news agency reported. Stadler entered the plea under an agreement with the judge and prosecutors that provides probation instead of jail time and orders him to pay a 1.1 million euro ($1.2 million) fine in return for a thorough admission of guilt. Three lower-ranking managers also have taken plea deals in the 2 1/2-year-long trial in Munich.

* More than 2.5 million vehicles that have been issued a “Do Not Drive” or “Park Outside” safety recall remain unrepaired, Carfax data shows. Ten states have more than 70,000 of these vehicles driving on their roads, with California leading the way. “Do Not Drive” and “Park Outside” notifications are recalls issued jointly by automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Check if your car is affected.

* Hyundai Motor America and Kia America will resolve a class-action lawsuit prompted by a surge in vehicle thefts with a settlement agreement that could be valued at $200 million. The settlement covers about 9 million 2011-2022 model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States today, according to the companies. The cars are not equipped with push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices — which has allowed them to be stolen easily by using just a screwdriver and a USB cord, creating a recent auto-theft outbreak across the country. The settlement will provide cash compensation to customers who incurred theft-related losses or damage that was not covered by insurance — as well as reimbursement for insurance deductibles, increased insurance premiums and other losses,

* Stellantis said it is recalling just over 132,000 Jeep Cherokee SUVs in the United States for fire risks and warning owners to park outside until repairs are made. The recall covers 2014 through 2016 model year Jeep Cherokee vehicles equipped with a power liftgate. An electrical short in the power liftgate module may lead to a vehicle fire with the ignition on or off.

* GM is recalling 668,000 vehicles for faulty child seat anchors. The recall affects Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain compact crossovers from the 2020-23 model years.

* Formula One and local organisers called off the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Wednesday as torrential rain and flooding caused devastation across the northern Italian region. The sport said the event could not be held safely this weekend. There is little scope for a rescheduling on a crowded calendar that initially had a record 24 events but dropped to 23 in January when China was cancelled and is now set to end up with 22.

* The 2023 Tire Rack One Lap of America presented by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine is a demanding eight-day, 3,200-mile road rally. Last week's 37th running of One Lap of America started and ended at the Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend, Indiana It sent 84 competitors through 15 states. Congratulations to Salil Shukla and Tom O'Gorman for their 1st Overall finish and SGT-1 BB Class Win in their Car #2 Quality Time Racing 2019 Porsche GT3.

* From Autoweek we learn one of the greatest designers, engineers, and drivers ever to combine all his talents into a lifelong gallery of beautiful, fast cars, Giotto Bizzarrini, has died. Bizzarrini was 96 years of age. Credit him for the Ferrari 250 GTO, Lamborghini V12, Isos galore, and his own Bizzarrini 5300 GT, among many others. Last February the Bizzarrini Company revealed plans for a Giugiaro-designed V12-powered supercar bearing the engineer’s name.

Stay safe. Be Well.