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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up November 12-18, 2023




Auto Central November 19, 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 November 12-18, 2023.

* The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have just released the 2024 Fuel Economy Guide. The Guide provides detailed fuel economy estimates for model year 2024 light-duty vehicles, along with estimated annual fuel costs and other information for prospective car buyers. Find Links To This and Other Automotive Research Tools HERE

* US DoE factoid of the week: Six of the 13 EPA size classes had at least one vehicle with EPA-rated fuel economy greater than 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) for model year 2023. Midsize and large electric vehicles (EVs) had the highest fuel economy, tying at 140 MPGe. Vehicles with conventional gasoline-powered drivetrains had the best fuel economy in only three size classes, mid-size station wagons, two-seaters, and minicompacts, achieving 25, 30 and 32 MPG, respectively.

* According to GasBuddy, Gas prices have fallen to their lowest since February. More Americans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving. Over 50,000 stations at $2.99 per gallon or less, 12 states see average prices below $3.

* MotorTrend announced the Toyota Prius as the winner of its Golden Calipers as 2024 Car of the Year. Traditionally recognized for its commitment to efficiency and affordability over style and performance, the Toyota Prius has undergone an astounding transformation in its new incarnation. This latest model shatters expectations as the best-looking, best-driving, most powerful, and most efficient Prius yet. Moreover, the Prius handily beat a field of heavyweight contenders, including the newly revised and highly regarded Tesla Model 3 Highland, Lucid Air, and new Hyundai Ioniq 6, as well as many other hotly anticipated 2024 models. As a hybrid model, the Prius is well-positioned amid slumping EV sales growth and consumer charging anxiety.

* Michael Robinet, SAE Foundation trustee and executive director for S&P Global Mobility, writes that scaling up electric vehicle production due to higher costs, slow consumer acceptance and other challenges will be a "lumpy" process. "Little question that EVs will continue to bask in the hype, but [internal combustion engine] components and systems, though challenged, will continue to be a critical cog in the North American automotive ecosystem," Robinet writes. Further, "given that EVs marketed in the U.S. to this point have been “on the edges” in the performance, luxury and fullsize pickup segments, we have not yet hit the heart of the market. By 2025, more than 50% of the market is expected to be B-, C- and D-segment-sized offerings, according to S&P Global Mobility. Vehicles that are the size of a Jeep Compass or Ford Edge are core to EV penetration for the future. Major hurdles remain to reach 40%-plus BEV penetration in North America by 2030. One needs also to remember that although fullsize pickups/SUVs have been an early destination for BEV propulsion, more than half of this 3-million-sales-plus category still will be ICE-based in 2035. Specific vocation needs, range and towing/cargo requirements will extend ICE requirements in this sector."

* Mercedes-Benz HPC North America, a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and MN8 Energy, launching a network of premium electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across North America, inaugurated its first Mercedes-Benz Charging Hub, located at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz USA in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The inaugural charging hub at the Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters represents a benchmark for standalone charging hubs. Special features include: 400kW Chargers, Open to all from day one, Charging lounge, Solar Canopy and more. Article HERE

* Amazon and Hyundai Motor Company announced a broad strategic partnership to bring innovative new experiences to customers. This strategic collaboration includes Amazon launching online sales of Hyundai vehicles in the U.S. in 2024. Auto dealers for the first time will be able to sell vehicles in Amazon’s U.S. store, and Hyundai will be the first brand available for customers to purchase. This new digital shopping experience will make it easy for customers to purchase a new car online, and then pick it up or have it delivered by their local dealership at a time that works best for them. Complete Reveal Presentation +VIDEO

* Vehicles with especially tall front ends are most dangerous to pedestrians, but a blunt profile makes medium-height vehicles deadly too, new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Whatever their nose shape, pickups, SUVs and vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches are about 45 percent more likely to cause fatalities in pedestrian crashes than cars and other vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile, an IIHS study of nearly 18,000 pedestrian crashes found. However, among vehicles with hood heights between 30 and 40 inches, a blunt, or more vertical, front end increases the risk to pedestrians. Pedestrian crash deaths have risen 80 percent since hitting their low in 2009. Nearly 7,400 walkers — more than 20 people a day — lost their lives in 2021 after being struck by a vehicle.

* The NTSB urged 17 automakers to install intelligent speed-assistance technology in all new vehicles that, at a minimum, warns a driver when the vehicle is speeding. Intelligent speed assistance technology, or ISA, uses a car’s GPS location compared with a database of posted speed limits and its onboard cameras to help ensure safe and legal speeds. Passive ISA systems warn a driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit through visual, sound, or haptic alerts, and the driver is responsible for slowing the car. Active systems include mechanisms that make it more difficult, but not impossible, to increase the speed of a vehicle above the posted speed limit and those that electronically limit the speed of the vehicle to fully prevent drivers from exceeding the speed limit.

* On the eve of media previews at the Los Angeles Auto Show Toyota unveiled the ninth-generation 2025 Camry which will be exclusively powered by a hybrid engines and be available with all-wheel drive when it comes to market next spring. Toyota also unveiled the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia SUV, and expansion of the Crown carline. The Signia is expected to arrive in showrooms next summer.

* Three cars, three trucks and three utility vehicles were named finalists for the 2024 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards at the Los Angeles Auto Show. 2024 North American Car of the Year Finalists are the Honda Accord, Hyundai Ioniq 6* and Toyota Prius/Prius Prime. 2024 North American Truck of the Year Finalists are Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado EV* and Ford Super Duty. 2024 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year Finalists are Genesis Electrified GV70*, Kia EV9* and Volvo EX30*. (*Indicates electric vehicle)

* At the 2023 AutoMobility LA and Los Angeles Auto Show Genesis unveiled the first-ever 2025 GV80 Coupe and the new 2025 GV80 SUV. Hyundai’s radically-redesigned Santa Fe SUV, the Subaru Forester, the Kia EV3 and EV4 concept models were also shown. Lucid revealed its Gravity SUV, the second vehicle in the brand’s portfolio after the sleek Air sedan. Just weeks after its global debut at the Japan Mobility Show (JMS), the hybrid-electric Prelude Concept makes appearance at LA Auto Show.

* The Vatican signed an agreement with German carmaker Volkswagen to replace the city-state's entire car fleet with electric vehicles by 2030. In 2024, VW will deliver around 40 fully electric models from the ID. family, ranging from the ID.3 to the ID.4 and ID.5. The vehicles are part of the decarbonization strategy of the Vatican City State, aiming to make the Vatican fleet climate-neutral by 2030.

* Dallas-based Neiman Marcus unveiled their annual Christmas Book including the always anticipated list of Fantasy Gifts. If you're car shopping, the One-of-One Commissioned by Cadillac Carmen CELESTIQ is the gift for you. The Cadillac CELESTIQ, a handcrafted, all-electric, ultra-luxury flagship for the Cadillac brand, can be yours for $975,000. The buyer gets a two-day trip to Detroit to watch the car get hand built, tour Cadillac House at the GM tech center and stay at a luxury hotel. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Detroit Opera House.

* Austin Coil, the winningest crew chief in NHRA Drag Racing history, leads an all-star cast of 2024 inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Joining Coil in the Class of 2024 are six-time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon (Open Wheel), HANS Device inventors Jim Downing and Dr. Robert Hubbard (Technology), desert racing legend and Hollywood stuntman Bud Ekins (Motorcycles), seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (Stock Cars), four-time SCCA national champion and eight-time IndyCar title-winning owner Paul Newman (At Large), and 1966 Can-Am champion and championship-winning constructor John Surtees (Sports Cars). The 36th Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Induction Celebration presented by Toyota Racing, which will formally usher the Class of 2024 into the MSHFA, will be held in the Hall’s home in Daytona Beach, Fla., in March of 2024.

* Top Fuel veteran Doug Kalitta claimed his first career NHRA world championship last Sunday at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, knocking off Leah Pruett in a winner-take-all final round, while Funny Car’s Matt Hagan gave Tony Stewart Racing its first world championship at the 58th annual In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals. Erica Enders is the Pro Stock World Championship, her sixth championship. Gaige Herrera earned the Pro Stock Motorcycle world title.

* General Motors announced that it has formally registered with the FIA as a Formula 1 power unit manufacturer starting in the 2028 season. Last month, the FIA approved Andretti’s Expression of Interest application for Andretti Cadillac to race in the FIA Formula One World Championship. GM’s development and testing of prototype technology is already underway. Engineering a F1 power unit will advance GM’s expertise in areas including electrification, hybrid technology, sustainable fuels, high efficiency internal combustion engines, advanced controls and software systems.

* Legendary NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier has died at age 88, according to a report. Dave Moody of the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM broke the news on Thursday morning. He said Squier passed shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, surrounded by family, after spending time in the hospital and in hospice care. Squier was one of NASCAR’s original broadcasters, and his lasting legacy led to his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2018.

Stay safe. Be Well.