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Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up October 8-14, 2023



Auto Central October 15, 2023; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior Detroit 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 October 8-14, 2023

* The week started off with the UAW rank-and-file rejecting a new Mack Trucks contract. The union said about 73% of workers voted against the a proposed five-year contract deal covering 4,000 workers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland. Workers saw the deal that was in negotiation with the Detroit-3 automakers and decided they wanted the some of the same. In a surprise move, the United Auto Workers on Wednesday sent 8,700 workers at Ford Motor Co.'s largest and most profitable plant out on strike after claiming the automaker "refused to make further movement in bargaining." The union ordered UAW Local 862 members at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant to walk off the job. Kumar Galhotra, in charge of Ford Motor's combustion vehicle unit, said the automaker can't go higher on wages or benefits in its contract offer to United Auto Workers members, saying "Going further will hurt our ability to invest in the business." As the week came to a close the UAW strike against the D-3 companies stood at one month.

*The average price Americans paid for a new vehicle in September 2023 was down 3.4% from the start of the year, as higher inventory levels and increased incentives continued to put downward pressure on pricing. The average transaction price of a new vehicle in September was $47,899, down $360 from one year ago (0.7%), according to Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. Prices decreased by $227 (0.5%) from August’s downwardly revised ATP of $48,126. Tesla’s price cuts have moved the market, pushing electric vehicle (EV) prices down more than 22% year over year, from $65,295 to $50,683. The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in September was $44,626, an increase of 1% from one year ago. Luxury transaction prices were down 6.2% year over year to $62,342.

* The New York Times reports according to AAA, the average annual cost in the first five years of new-car ownership rose to $12,182 this year, from $10,728 last year. This reflects increased prices, maintenance costs and finance charges. That's 16 percent of the median household income, before taxes. The figure includes depreciation. About 92 percent of households have at least one car and 22 percent have at least three. That comes out to about 223 million personal vehicles and trillion dollars of spending.

* Come January 1, the EV Federal tax credit will change to an up-front $7,500 discount taken off the purchase price right at the dealership. No longer will there be waiting until buyers file their tax return to get the tax credit, according to the IRS. President Biden's 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) made this change. If purchasing, only certain EVS qualify for the discount and there are limits on both vehicle MSRP and personal income that apply. If leasing, there is a workaround in the IRA and all EVs qualify, and the limits on MSRP and income do not apply. The $7500 credit is given to the leasing company and they should apply it to the lease contract vehicle price.

* Hilton hotels is joining forces with Tesla to install 20,000 new charging stations at its properties throughout North America to give EV drivers a little more confidence—and a little less range anxiety—when they hit the road. The charging stations, known as Tesla Universal Wall Connectors, are able to charge Tesla and non-Tesla EVs alike. Starting in 2024, the plan is to install a series of six chargers at each of some 2,000 Hilton properties in the United States, Canada, and Mexico—more than doubling the number of Hilton-owned hotels that have charging stations. As a point of reference, as of March 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center estimated that there are around 51,000 public EV charging stations across the entire United States, the majority of which are in California—which has a little more than 14,000 public charging stations.

* One of the biggest hassles in renting a car is finding a gas station near an airport due to the requirement to fill the fuel tank before returning it. Otherwise, the refueling charge can be crazy expensive. Perhaps you've heard that Hertz now rents electric cars. This writer rented a Polestar 2 from Hertz at Miami Airport back in March. I was mostly curious about the overall process and the return requirement regarding battery charge. Hertz is now openly communicating what I experienced. You can either: Return your EV at any charge level for just a ?$25? recharge fee. Or bring it back at the same charge level you started with at pickup and pay ?$0. (Note: You will not receive a credit for returning the vehicle with more charge than when you received it.) With Hertz's Skip the Recharge, it’s more convenient to drive electric.

* Auto Pacific’s recent Future Attribute Demand Study shows that pickup truck buyers may be the most hesitant of all market segments to go electric. Only 12% of full-sized and 8% of mid-sized pickup buyers surveyed are interested in fully electric trucks. Auto Pacific says that although charging infrastructure and range are big reasons why pickup buyers in particular aren’t interested in EVs, price is one of the biggest for any type of EV consumer.The price gap between an ICE-powered pickup and a battery-powered pickup can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

* Meanwhile, it appears Ford will eliminate one shift at its F-150 Lightning production plant. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that a UAW official said Ford was considering cutting a shift at its Lightning plant due to lagging demand.

* With Americans losing an average of $869 per year due to time spent in traffic, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2023's Best & Worst Cities to Drive in. WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from average gas prices to annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter to auto-repair shops per capita. The details are here:

* Gas Buddy reports the national average price of gasoline continues its decline and stands at $3.638/gal, the lowest since July 25, and in a week or so will likely fall under $3.49, heading to the lowest level since April.

* Wanted: Electricians to fix thousands of broken EV chargers. Nearly 4,000 public charging stations were out of service as of Oct. 5, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That's an outage rate of more than 6 percent. Yes, this is a big issue that is critical to the further transition to plug-in electrified vehicles.

* From Reuters we read Stockholm plans to ban internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles from the center of the city starting in 2025, a senior city official said. The ICE ban would affect 20 blocks in the center of town, so it’s not the end of ICE in Sweden. But it is a sign that concerns about the climate grow and automakers cannot count on a hospitable regulatory status quo to continue.

* BASF, a supplier of automotive paints, says the classic automobile color wheel has had its day. The Americas palette seeks optimism and divergence that celebrates possibilities in all modes of art and design. The collection features softer hues, minimized textures and subtle moves that aspire toward future goals near and far. Colors in the Americas contribute to cooling effects in the vehicle with solar reflectance, work with sensor-based mobility concepts, and explore more approaches with responsible raw material sourcing. “In this year’s collection, red leaning pastels and mid-tones are replaced by restorative yellow and green effects suggesting renewal,” said Liz Hoffman, head of Automotive Color Design for the Americas.

* Jaguar is commemorating the end of its internal combustion sports car lineage in 2024 with an exclusive limited-edition F-TYPE inspired by two iconic 1960s racing E-type vehicles. Just 150 examples of the F-TYPE ZP Edition will be the last internal combustion-engine sports cars designed by Jaguar. These 575HP supercharged petrol V8 F-TYPE vehicles feature specially curated interior and exterior details by the personalization experts at SV Bespoke. Jaguar will transform into an all-electric luxury brand by 2025.

* Stellantis' Mopar brand hinted at an electric concept car ready to unveil at the 2023 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas. The teaser photo from Mopar shows a vehicle's hood that appears to have the look of a second-generation Dodge Charger. The blue tint in the photo echoes the blue that Jeep brand uses on its electric SUVs.

* Ford is recalling more than 238,000 Explorers in the U.S. because a rear axle bolt can fail, potentially causing a loss of drive power or allowing the SUVs to roll away while in park. Affected are certain Explorers from the 2020 through 2022 model years.

* The 2023 Rebelle Rally kicked off this week with 65 teams competing. Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid of its type in the United States. It is the ultimate road trip for the adventurous and competitive woman. The Rebelle is designed for 4×4 and X-Cross vehicles and takes place on the stunning dirt roads, double tracks, trails, and sand dunes of the vast American West. Many automakers have joined with sponsorship entries, including BMW, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Rivian, and Toyota. The eighth-annual all-women off-road navigation rally covers 1,500 Miles of challenging desert terrain beginning Oct. 13. The Rebelle Rally has launched their own digital docuseries, "Dead Reckoning", detailing the story of the longest competitive off-road rally in the United States. It just happens to be for women. Watch it here:

* Max Verstappen clinched his third Formula 1 world championship in Qatar. The Red Bull racer secured the driver’s title at an exciting “sprint race” — a relatively new format designed to give the fans more action over the weekend — one day before the Qatar Grand Prix. Verstappen finished 2nd place, with McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri taking the sprint win. The achievement puts Verstappen, 26, in an elite club of F1 drivers who have won three championships — and just the fifth driver to win in a row, alongside Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

* From Hemmings we read, Lia Block continues to impress racing fans with her skill and determination. Most recently, she, with co-driver Rhiannon Gelsomino, piloting a freshly built Subaru BRZ won the American Rally Association (ARA) Open 2WD Championship with just two rounds left to go in the season. During her first full ARA rally season, the new rally champion has pulled off a feat that her late father, Ken Block, had strived for during his racing career. Ken Block was an impressive professional rally driver with the Hoonigan Racing Division, earning several runner-up and second place finishes in American rally. Lia and Rhiannon now hold the two-wheel-drive American Rally Association title for 2023, which makes Lia Block the youngest winner at 16 years old in the series' history.

Stay safe. Be Well.