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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up January 21-27, 2024



Auto Central January 28, 2024; 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 story picks from this past week's important to you, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy-to-understand automotive news nuggets. for Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up January 21-January 27, 2024

* US DoE factoid of the week: Cumulative sales of new Light-Duty Plug-in Electric Vehicles since 2010 reached 4.7 million in 2023. Cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), including all-electric (EVs) and plug in hybrids (PHEVs), have been growing at an increasing rate, particularly in the last three years. From the introduction of the first mass-market EVs and PHEVs in December of 2010, it took about eight years for cumulative PEV sales to reach 1 million. After that, it took less than three years to reach 2 million, just over a year to reach 3 million, and only nine months to reach 4 million cumulative sales.

* Tap the Brakes on EVs. AP reports: More than 4,700 auto dealerships across the United States urged President Joe Biden in a letter to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to enforce stricter vehicle-pollution standards. It is the second letter that auto dealers have sent to the White House in two months on the EPA’s upcoming ruling, which could codify the agency’s strictest-ever tailpipe emissions limits, proposed last April. The dealerships say customers are not ready to switch to solely battery-powered vehicles because of unresolved challenges. The EPA says its proposed regulations could mean that up to two out of every three vehicles sold in the U.S. are electric by 2032. The signers said the supply of EVs on dealer lots is twice that of internal combustion engine vehicles, and that they won’t be able to sell EVs at the rate the regulations would require.

* US Mail goes electric. The United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled its first set of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its South Atlanta Sorting and Delivery Center (S&DC). Charging stations like these will be installed at hundreds of new S&DCs across the country throughout the year and will power what will be the nation’s largest EV fleet. Electrification and modernization of the Postal Service’s delivery fleet is part of the organization’s $40 billion investment strategy to upgrade and improve the USPS processing, transportation, and delivery networks. USPS also showcased new battery-powered and domestically manufactured commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) delivery vehicles that will make up a portion of the Postal Service’s EV fleet. Deployment of electric delivery trucks will start in Georgia and then expand to other locations across the country throughout the year. The vehicles feature air conditioning and advanced safety technology and are designed to meet modern operational requirements. See It Here

* Hi Torque eats tires. Jalponik reports Florida drivers have discovered the hard truth about EVs: They Eat Tires. Some EV owners in the Sunshine State are reporting having to buy tires after just 5,000 to 7,000 miles of driving. Why? It’s a combination of lots of torque, heavy curb weights, and individual driving style. Tire companies are aware of the problem and are working on EV-specific solutions. (Editors note: Tire particulate pollution will become regulated) Read it here: See It Here

* Super drivers should go electric. A New York Times story says the key to cutting emissions from cars and light trucks that are heating the planet could lie with the nation’s super drivers, the small percentage of American motorists who drive, on average, about 110 miles per day. If more of those super drivers switched to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered models, it would make a major dent in greenhouse gases from transportation, which have so far been slow to decline, according to a new analysis published by Coltura, an environmental nonprofit group based in Seattle. While the average American driver travels about 13,400 miles per year, people who buy electric vehicles today tend to drive them less than that, limiting the climate benefits of switching to a cleaner car. By contrast, the top 10 percent of motorists in the United States drive an average of about 40,200 miles per year and account for roughly one-third of the nation’s gasoline use. See It Here

* Car buying improves. Cox Automotive’s annual Car Buyer Journey (CBJ) Study reveals that satisfaction with the overall vehicle shopping and buying experience improved in 2023 after declining in both 2021 and 2022. The 2023 CBJ Study indicates that car buying improved from last year: 69% of consumers being highly satisfied with the process compared to 61% in the 2022 study. 68% of buyers considered both new and used vehicles, up from 64% in the previous report; 78% of used-vehicle buyers considered a new vehicle during the shopping process. Close to 80% of shoppers visited a third-party website during their buying journey. Only 7% of car buyers in 2023 completed 100% of the steps online, while 43% completed steps in a mix of online and in-person and 50% completed all the steps in person. One of the biggest take-aways for dealers is that buyers are not pursuing an entirely digital buying experience—but they do want it to be seamless. See It Here

* No speeding. California would become the first state to require new vehicles be equipped with speed governors — technology that limits how fast they can be driven — under legislation by San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener. The bill would require cars and trucks of the 2027 model year or later that are built or sold in California to include speed governors that would prohibit motorists from driving more than 10 mph over posted speed limits. Also known as speed limiters or “Intelligent Speed Assistance,” some speed governors can use GPS technology or cameras to cap vehicle speeds based on where the car is driving. Several auto manufacturers, such as Hyundai, already offer speed governor features in their newest models, which some motorists utilize as a form of cruise control. The legislation aims to address the epidemic of traffic deaths in the Bay Area and California,The legislation aims to address the epidemic of traffic deaths in the Bay Area and California. See It Here

* Automotive Art. A new art book by Steve Purdy — writer, photographer, producer, historian — celebrating 40 years of photographing the details of special cars and of telling their stories. Mascots in Motions will make an amazing gift for those who appreciate art, automotive design, history, and culture, and artistic photography. See It Here

* Flying trim parts. Kia is recalling 101,409 vehicles over a roof molding. Vehicles' roof molding can become loose or detach while driving, which may have been a result of improper installation during vehicle assembly. A detached roof molding can create a road hazard for other vehicles. The recall includes certain 2023-24 Sportage and 2022-24 Carnival vehicles

* More flying trim parts. Ford is recalling more than 1.8 million Explorer vehicles due to a potentially safety hazard with a part connected to the windshield. The A-pillar trim retention clips, the metal piece that runs up the left and right side of the front windshield, may not be properly hooked due to improper assembly, allowing the trim to detach. All Ford Explorer 2011-2019 models are affected.

* Recall with no dealer visit. Tesla is recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles in the United States due to a "software instability" that may prevent the rearview camera image from displaying. The recall covers certain 2023 Model S, X, and Y vehicles equipped with driver-assistance self-driving computer 4.0 and running software release version 2023.44.30 through 2023.44.30.6 or 2023.44.100. Tesla has released a free, over-the-air (OTA) software update, according to the NHTSA.

* bene! Autoweek reports, Italian cars won the two Best of Show awards at the Arizona Concours in Scottsdale last weekend, as the big Arizona auction week got underway. An immaculate 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C with body by Touring took Best of Show in the pre-war category. A 1967 V12-powered Lamborghini Miura took the post-war Best of Show. This Miura was originally owned by the Shah of Iran. The Miura was the fastest production road car in the world when it debuted in 1966.

* NASCAR Hall of Fame. Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus were inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame late last week. Together, the duo won a record-tying seven Cup championships. The first ballot inductees joined driver Donnie Allison, an original member of the "Alabama Gang," in a celebration at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of the Class of 2024. Janet Guthrie was inducted as the Landmark Award winner for contributions to NASCAR. Guthrie was the first woman to race in both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. Johnson won 83 Cup races in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, all but two of them with Knaus as crew chief.

* New track record for Rolex 24 qualifying; Cadillac in a 1-2 sweep. Pipo Derani, driving the No. 31 prototype for Whelen Cadillac Racing, posted a new track record to take the pole position for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Brazilian racer, part of the 2016 Rolex winning team, toured the 3.56-mile layout in one minute, 32.656 seconds. His lap time was less than a 10th of a second faster than the 1:32.727 posted by Sebastien Bourdais in Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 01 Caddy GTP.

* It's time for motor racing. This weekend is the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. It's the start of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar series for 2024 where international performance brands put their race cars against the best in the world. Four different classes of cars race in the Rolex 24, with 10 entries in GTP, 13 entries in LMP2, 13 entries in GTD Pro and 23 entries in GTD for a total of 59 cars racing around Daytona International Speedway. A total of 228 drivers, among them nine women competing on four different teams, from 32 countries across six continents will compete over the 24 hours.

Stay safe. Be Well.