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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up February 4-10, 2024



Auto Central February 11, 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 February 4-10, 2024

* Best in the Midwest. The 2024 Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, opened this week preceded by media press conferences and a charity preview. The show has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. This year marks the 116th edition. Concept vehicles on display are the Ford Bronco Wildland, Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear, GMC Hummer EV EarthCruiser and the Toyota Tacoma X-Runner. Making their debut were 25 new production vehicles. Lucid, Rivian and Tesla will be exhibiting for the first time.

* Slow sales. U.S. new vehicle sales fell around 1.5% in January from a year earlier on seasonally slower sales and signs of slowing demand for electric vehicles, according to industry reports. Total new vehicle sales, which include retail and non-retail transactions, are estimated at about 1,087,900 units. Cox Automotive reported that retail sales were estimated to be up 4.1% from last year, leading to an estimated retail SAAR of 12.3 million, which was down 0.1 million from last year’s 12.4 million pace and down from December’s 13.4 million pace. The estimated fleet share of 16.8% was down 1 percentage point compared to last year. Total (retail plus fleet) sales for 2024 are forecasted at 15.7 million, up from 15.5 million in 2023. Overall, retail sales will grow while fleet sales wil remain mostly flat.

* Happy Birthday. Volkswagen of America, Inc. released the two-minute extended cut of “An American Love Story” as part of its celebration of 75 years in America and countdown to the Big Game on this Sunday.. A 60-second version will air during the third quarter of the game on CBS and the Spanish-language broadcast on Univision.

* New Dodge. In new vehicle news, Dodge has confirmed they will reveal the brand's next-generation muscle car on March 5th. We're supposing this is the new Dodge Charger, based on the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept, and seen in recent teaser photos "leaked" by Dodge. Some reports say this new Dodge will offer both gas and electric powered versions.

* Smaller Rivian. And, Rivian has said it will reveal the new R2, a smaller and lower priced crossover utility vehicle, on March 7. The R2 is targeted to launch in 2026, according to reports.

* The Best. has named thier "Best" for 2024. Car, Pickup Truck, Electric Vehicle, SUV, Luxury Car & Family Car category winners can be found here.

* Too much. The Wall Street Journal writes in an opinion piece that the progressive climate folks may be interfering with the US economy a bit too much. A new bill in Washington state would give regulators the ability to ban tires that create a drag on fuel economy. The bill would prevent the sale of replacement tires that the state says have too much rolling resistance. The down side is the bill limits consumer options, makes tires more expensive and makes drivers less safe due to less tread which provides grip. Go figure. 

* Self-driving crash. Reuters reports a driverless Waymo car collided with a cyclist in San Francisco but the bicyclist suffered only minor scratches and left the scene on their own. Waymo said its vehicle was at a complete stop at a four-way intersection when a large truck turned into the intersection. At its turn to proceed, the Waymo car moved forward.  However, the cyclist was behind the truck and not visible by the car's sensors as they crossed into the Waymo vehicle's path. When the cyclist was fully visible, the Waymo's vehicle braked heavily, but wasn't able to avoid the collision, the company said.

* Use it or lose it. The Detroit free Press reports when it comes to parallel parking, you're on your own now. Ford Motor Co. announced this week during the 2023 earnings call the automaker is reviewing what customers like and actually use to determine which features on vehicles may be excessive or unnecessary. Say goodbye to the driver-assist parallel parking feature. "Very, very few people are using it. So we can remove that feature. It's about $60 per vehicle, another $10 million per year (in savings)," Kumar Ghalhotra, Ford chief operating officer, said Tuesday in an effort to illustrate how Ford is making little changes for big savings.

* Fix needed. American Honda Motor Co is recalling more than 750,000 vehicles in the United States due to an air bag that may deploy unintentionally during a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The front passenger seat weight sensor may crack and short circuit, failing to suppress the air bag as intended. The recall includes certain Honda Pilot, Accord and Civic sedan made between 2020 and 2022, and some Honda CR-V and Passport vehicles manufactured between 2020 and 2021.

* Keep it closed. General Motors is recalling 323,232 vehicles to address an issue with the tailgate that may open while driving, potentially causing a road hazard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The recall includes some Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 3500, GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 vehicles equipped with power-unlatching tailgates.

* Best Hot Rods. At the 2024 Grand National Roadster Show held at the Pomona Fairplex in Los Angeles, Beth Myers’ impeccable 1932 Ford two-door Phaeton has been crowned 2024 America’s Most Beautiful Roadster! The flamed Phaeton, built by Roy Brizio Street Rods, bested eight other contenders to take home the $12,500 prize sponsored by ARP Fasteners.

Stay safe. Be Well.

Kind regards, 
Larry Nutsonthe Chicago Car Guy