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Nutson's Weeky Auto News Wrap-up September 3-9, 2023



Auto Central September 10, 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. for Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up September 3-9, 2023

* August new vehicle sales were up 17% overall for the month. Ford was up. Acura, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota all saw positive increases. Sales of battery-electric and hybrid vehicles continue to climb, while ICE-powered vehicle sales fell a bit.

* In California, 22% of new-car sales are electric vehicles, which makes the state the fourth-largest EV market in the world. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Green, once EV sales represent 5% of new-car sales, it represents a tipping point for mass market adoption, and analysts predict 25% of new-car sales in the US could (yes, could) be EVs by 2026.

* IAA Mobility, Europe’s and Germany’s largest auto and mobility trade show, is making its second Munich appearance starting this past week and running through next week. The event was held for many years in Frankfurt before Munich became its home in 2021. The show is notably named IAA Mobility with displays and exhibits throughout many downtown plazas showcasing various modes of personal transport. Most debuts in the way of new vehicles were of those intended for the European market, especially from China's automakers. Mini unveiled new up-sized models. VW premiered the new all-electric ID. GTI Concept, Mercedes-Benz previewed the Concept CLA Class which is its entry to the brand, and BMW showed its ‘Neue Klasse’ concept car which features its new EV architecture.

* Heavier EVs are causing safety and pollution problems. The progress automakers made taking weight off vehicles over the past decade is quickly being erased by EVs, jeopardizing safety and causing pollution. Concerns over safety in collisions with smaller vehicles, road degradation, airborne particles from tires are some of the issues.

* An EV tax credit workaround has spurred EV leasing. Changes to U.S. tax credit rules are propping up EV leasing as the most affordable way for consumers to get EVs. There was a surge in EV leasing this summer, accounting for 26% of all EV transactions in July, up from 7% in December J.D.Power data shows.

* US DoE factoid of the week: Model year 2022 Light-Duty Vehicles sold in the U.S. averaged 26.4 miles per gallon. The production-weighted average fuel economy for model year (MY) 2022 light-duty vehicles was 26.4 miles per gallon (mpg). Historically, fuel economy rose in the 1970’s and 1980’s and then plateaued in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Average fuel economy began growing again in 2005 and has risen nearly every year since. The average for passenger cars in MY 2022 was 33.3 mpg while the average for light trucks, including pickups, vans, and SUVs, was 23.4 mpg. For the past 10 years, the mpg average has more closely tracked with light truck mpg since more trucks are sold in the U.S. than cars.

* The voluntary oil production cuts made by Saudi Arabia and Russia have been extended through year's end. The US imports some oil from Saudi Arabia and OPEC countries. The benchmark Bent crude was trading at $90 a barrel after the announcement, up from between $75 and $85 since last October. Over Labor Day weekend regular gasoline in the US stood at $3.81 per gallon, according to AAA. Since gasoline demand usually drops after the holiday, it is unclear at this point if there will be an effect from the oil production cut.

* From Autoweek: On the heels of the death of the manually shifted VW GTI in the United States, Mini is formally going automatic only. With the launch of the next-generation Mini Cooper, Mini boss Stefanie Wurst told "Top Gear" the company won’t offer a manual transmission. Bluntly, Wurst told the publication, “We won’t have a manual, unfortunately.” This manual departure joins the growing trend of discontinuing manual transmissions. Mini dropping the manual transmission might be sad for Mini fans, but it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

* Kia is recalling 319,000 cars to fix the trunk latch. The recall covers the Optima midsize car from 2016 through 2018, Optima hybrids and plug-ins from 2017 and 2018, and the Rio small car from 2016 and 2017. A person inside the trunk compartment could become trapped, increasing the risk of injury, NHTSA said.

* In IndyCar Alex Palou driving for Chip Ganassi Racing wrapped up the season champions title with his win at Portland International Raceway. It's his fifth win for the season with one race left to go. This is the first time the season title was not decided in the final race since Dan Wheldon won in 2005. Palou's teammate Scott Dixon was the only other driver mathematically eligible to challenge for the championship.

* The Goodwood Revival is a three-day festival held each September at Goodwood Circuit since 1998 for the types of racing cars and motorcycles that would have competed during the circuit's original period—1948–1966. The 25th Goodwood Revival is being held this weekend, Sept 8 - 10, and, from birthday celebrations to iconic cars, there was plenty to see to at an extra special edition of the historic motorsport extravaganza. In January of this year, Carrol Shelby, whose connection to Goodwood stretches back to the 1950s, would have been 100 years old and Goodwood marked the centenary with a celebration of his career.

* With over 200 new images, the new edition of We Were the Ramchargers is perfect for drag racing enthusiasts. This book takes readers behind the scenes with the group of Chrysler engineers who, from the 1950s through the 1970s, became one of the most successful and influential drag racing teams of all time. The only team of engineers from an automobile manufacturer to drag race successfully, the Ramchargers broke the most time barriers in drag racing history and earned the most National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Super Stock titles during the sport’s golden era of factory competition. The book is published by SAE International with a Product Code of R-537, ISBN of 978-1-4686-0575-4, and 396 pages in a hardbound binding.

Stay safe. Be Well.