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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up June 4 - 10, 2023



Auto Central June 11, 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 June 4-10, 2023.

* From Reuters we read: Preliminary sales figures for May show that U.S. car and light truck sales achieved a 15.05 million annualized sales pace, according to Wards Intelligence. That’s well below pre-pandemic levels that bobbed around the 17 million level, but it’s not a recession. Full second quarter U.S. sales figures from all automakers won’t be released until early July. But based on the first five months of the year, Detroit automakers are sticking with forecasts of relatively robust profits for 2023 –a point leaders of the United Auto Workers used last week to rally members to fight for big pay increases in contract talks this fall.

* And from Cox Automotive we read: U.S. auto sales are expected to be stronger than a year ago, but set to decline compared with April as concerns simmer about the U.S. economy and whether people will delay or forgo buying new cars amid rising interest rates and higher car prices. Cox Automotive has forecast the annual new-vehicle sales pace in May to be near 14.9 million, up 2.3 million from last May’s 12.6 million pace but down from April’s 15.9 million level. Sales volume for May is expected to rise about 20% from a year ago to reach 1.35 million vehicles, but to fall about 1.1% from April, which had one additional selling day, Cox Automotive said. Car buyers are seeing more incentives on dealerships, however, which could lead to lower prices in the second half of the year, some analysts said. Incentives had all but dried up in recent months.

* The price of gasoline in the US will be going up. Saudi Arabia will reduce how much oil it sends to the global economy, taking a unilateral step to prop up the sagging price of crude after two previous cuts to supply by major producing countries in the OPEC+ alliance failed to push oil higher. The Saudi cut of 1 million barrels per day, to start in July, comes as the other OPEC+ producers agreed in a meeting in Vienna to extend earlier production cuts through next year.

* With graduation season in full gear, it’s time to celebrate the huge accomplishments with the ultimate gift, but where do you start? The experts at Autotrader are here to set consumers on the road to the perfect present by unveiling the top 10 best vehicles for graduates. Have a look at the full list: Best Cars For Recent Graduates From Auto Trader

* On June 2nd, Volkswagen of America hosted media and brand fans for the first International Volkswagen Bus Day, in Huntington Beach, California. Created with The National Day Calendar, the inaugural celebration set the stage for the world premiere of the all-electric, three-row ID.Buzz. In addition to new and current EV offerings, plus historic vehicles from Volkswagen, more than 200 privately-owned VW buses of all ages and genres showed up to be part of the event.

* Following the report of the Ford-Tesla partnership with the Tesla charging network Reuters informs: Andrew Fox, CEO of charging infrastructure startup Charge Enterprises, told the Auto File he’s happy to see Ford and Tesla pushing for standardization. “We need the big drums to beat for a universal standard for charging,” he said. The charging industry’s bigger challenge is matching the reliability of gas stations, Fox said. EV chargers need to work 99.9% of the time he said. “That is the only thing to be thinking” about, he said.

* And then this: General Motors announced a collaboration with Tesla to integrate Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector design into its EVs beginning in 2025. Additionally, the collaboration will expand access to charging for GM EV drivers at 12,000 Tesla Superchargers, and growing, throughout North America. This agreement complements GM’s ongoing investments in charging, reinforcing the company’s focus on expanding charging access across home, workplace, and public spaces and builds on the more than 134,000 chargers available to GM EV drivers today through the company’s Ultium Charge 360 initiative and mobile apps. The Tesla Supercharger Network will be open to GM EV drivers starting in 2024 and will initially require the use of an adapter. Beginning in 2025, the first GM EVs will be built with a NACS inlet for direct access to Tesla Superchargers without an adapter. In the future, GM will make adapters available for drivers of NACS-enabled vehicles to allow charging on CCS-capable fast charge stations.

* The Ford and GM tie-ups with Tesla may lead to other auromakers joining in. One thing is for sure, we should have only one type of connector plug for all EVs in the US. EV owners should be able to recharge at evey charging station, just like buying gasoline. Of note, the NEVI program may now need to recalibrate. NEVI requires CCS charging plugs but allows for other types, such as the Tesla plug.

* The Auto Channel reports Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to receive authorization to sell or lease cars with Level 3 autonomy in California. The "eyes-off" system will be an option on its S-Class and EQS vehicles in the state. Consultant Philip Kooperman expresses: The driving safety requirement for a Level 3 feature such as 'DRIVE PILOT' is the same as for a Level 4 robotaxi. The driver should have no responsibility to pay attention to the road while driving. If there is a crash while automated driving is normally engaged, the responsibility should be fully with Mercedes-Benz. The difference from a robotaxi is that the driver does have a responsibility to take over in a reasonable time when (but only when) requested by the vehicle.

* A freight train carrying new vehicles was involved in a massive derailment in northern Arizona, say officials. The Coconino County Emergency Management agency says that 23 BNSF train cars were badly damaged in the incident, which took place east of Williams, Arizona, at around midnight on Wednesday. The cars that came off the rails were carrying a variety of new cars, trucks and vans, with photos from the scene showing heavily damaged freight cars and vehicles. No one was injured in the incident. With railcars capble of carrying 10 to 20 vehicles the damage could impact well over 200 new vehicles.

* Ford is recalling over 125,000 crossovers and trucks over a fire risk. The recall covers various versions of the vehicles equipped with 2.5-liter hybrid or plug-in hybrid engines. Certain engine production issues could cause the engine to fail prematurely. The recall, which expands on a similar recall from a year earlier, covers some Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossovers and Maverick compact pickup trucks manufactured between 2020 and 2023.

* Crain's Detroit Business reports the Detroit auto show expects more auto brands to show up in 2023. The North American International Auto Show said this year's show will feature more automotive brands than last year's first forray into a September show that extended outside the walls of downtown Detroit's convention center.

* The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet will display a selection of some of the most majestic models from a golden era in car design; the late '50s and early '60s. An array of these 'Golden Age Coup's' will join a display of nearly 100 of the world's most desirable privately owned cars in the immaculate grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company, from June 6th-8th, at what is set to be London's ultimate automotive garden party.

* A 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B owned by Lawrence Auriana was chosen as this year’s Best of Show at the 27th annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The winner at Saturday’s inaugural Concours de Sport was a 1965 Ford GT40 Mk I displayed by Benjamin Levy from Andover, Massachusetts. This year’s concours d’Elegance classes included including Pre- and Post-War Alfa Romeo, Steam Cars, Post-War American, Italian, German and English cars, Supercars, as well as the Cars of Wayne Carini, this year’s Grand Marshal.

* Autoweek reports an EV Nürburgring lap record battle is under way, as Tesla just broke Porsche's previous Taycan Turbo S lap record by 8 seconds. Tesla's new track-pack equipped Model S Plaid managed to run a 7-minute, 25-second lap with former Formula 3 and touring car driver Tom Schwister behind the wheel. That's nearly 9 seconds faster than the previous record from Porsche, in line with models like the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S. And there doesn't appear to be any funny business this time either, as almost all Nürburgring lap attempts with production cars have implemented roll cages and bucket seats.

Stay safe. Be Well.