The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up 2/11 2/17/2024

Sales slow. The U.S. new-vehicle market sales pace slowed in January 2024, despite lower prices and higher incentives. According to an analysis by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, the U.S. new-vehicle average transaction price (ATP) last month in the U.S. was $47,401, down 2.6% from December 2023 and down a remarkable 3.5% compared to January 2023. The average price paid for a luxury brand vehicle in January was $60,978, down from $62,834 in December and the lowest average transaction price since the summer of 2021.  At $44,052, non-luxury vehicle prices were lower in January 2024 by 2.1% year over year. The average price paid for a new electric vehicle in January 2024 was $55,353. Year over year, EV prices have tumbled 10.8%.

*  EV info gap. Consumer Reports (CR) has a new survey of what Americans think about battery electric vehicles and low carbon fuels. The survey finds that around seven in ten Americans express some level of interest in buying or leasing an electric-only vehicle (EV). Among Americans who said they expect their next vehicle to be new, 38% said they would at least seriously consider getting an EV if they were to get a vehicle today. This however highlights a significant gap between consideration and actual purchases, as only around 7% of new vehicle purchases in 2023 were battery electric vehicles. Deeper analysis of the survey findings showed that overall consumer experience with EVs is very low.

EV Sales annual increase. US DoE factoid of the week: Monthly sales of new Light-Duty EVs in the United States increased every month compared to the same month of the previous year from 2021 to 2023. A comparison of monthly EV sales data for the last three calendar years shows that for each individual month, EV sales increased significantly from the year before. The highest sales for a single month in 2021 was about 50,000 vehicles, for 2022 was about 80,000 vehicles, and in 2023 was over 100,000. Sales are often lowest in January following a rise that usually takes place in December.

EV price cuts. The Wall Street Journal reports some electric-vehicle startups are making another round of price cuts. Lucid Group cut the starting price of its Air sedan by 10%, to $69,900. Rivian cut the starting proice of its vehicles by $3,100, or about 4%. The auto industry's overestimation of EV demand during the past year has led to price reductions and discounts. Tesla, GM, Ford, Hyundai and Kia all cut prices as the pace of EV sales slowed.

* Another EV charging network. Seven automakers joined forces to create Ionna, an electric vehicle charging network for North America, with the goal of 30,000 EV charging stations online by the end of the decade. BMW and Mercedes-Benz led the initiative for Ionna with General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Stellantis joining as well. Expectations are the first chargers will be operational by early 2025.

* Fill 'er up, fast. Current public charging stations for electric vehicles are far from meeting consumer wants and expectations. According to data from AutoPacific’s recent EV Consumer Insights Study, future EV consumers have a long list of charging station attributes that are important to them. From easy to see and read charging speed and pricing signage to offering additional basic vehicle care services like windshield cleaner, air pumps for filling tires, and vacuums, future EV consumers would like a public charging experience that more closely mirrors traditional gasoline fueling stations. The study, conducted as a part of AutoPacific’s annual Future Attribute Demand Study, surveyed over 7,200 future EV acceptors, those who either intend to purchase or will consider purchasing an EV in the near future, about their ideal public charging station attributes, reasons for wanting an EV, concerns about EV ownership and more. 

* Dependability issues. Vehicle owners are experiencing lower levels of vehicle dependability after three years of ownership, according to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). The high number of problems owners encounter indicates a decline in long-term vehicle dependability, with increased levels of problems reported for nearly two-thirds of brands included in the study. The industry average has increased 4 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) year over year to 190 PP100 from 2023. The rate at which problems have increased between 90 days and three years of ownership has increased to 17%, up 5 percentage points from 12% in 2023. Lexus ranks highest among all brands for the second consecutive year; Toyota ranks highest among mass market brands.
Vehicle Dependability Slumps as Rate of Deterioration Increases, J.D. Power Finds

* NIMBY. San Francisco police are investigating after a Waymo self-driving car was vandalized and set on fire in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood during a Lunar New Year celebration. Video posted on social media shows the driverless car in flames. Waymo said a crowd vandalized the car and broke the window, before someone threw a firework inside that set the car on fire. No one was inside the car, according to the company. The incident was not the first time people harassed self-driving cars, but its severity signals growing public hostility toward the vehicles.

* Dream on. Chrysler unveiled the Chrysler Halcyon Concept, exemplifying a fully electrified future of the Chrysler brand that embraces sustainability-driven exterior and interior design, full autonomy paired with personalized driving experiences and futuristic technology that expands on the brand’s “Harmony in Motion” ethos of customer-focused seamless connectivity. Chrysler will launch the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle in 2025 and will feature an all-electric portfolio in 2028. Reveal of Chrysler Halcyon Concept can be viewed online at

* Bad drivers. Fatal car accidents are increasing across the country, with the number of deadly crashes climbing by nearly 10% from 2020 to 2022. Forbes Advisor compared the 50 most populated U.S. cities across five key metrics. Their analysis identifies the cities where drivers engage in the most hazardous behavior that threatens public safety. See where your city stacks up.

Get trucks off the street. From the Gothamist we read, New York City officials plan to turn six waterfront locations into maritime shipping hubs as a way to handle the booming number of e-commerce deliveries across the five boroughs. Details of the initiative were published through a request for proposals by the city Economic Development Corporation. It marks the latest step in Mayor Eric Adams’ “Blue Highways” plan to shift more of the city’s freight off the streets and onto the rivers and harbors. The request seeks an engineering firm to design barge landings and access points where e-bikes and small delivery vehicles can transport cargo for the “last mile” of its journey. 

* Woops. In the Wall Street Journal we read the U.S. has impounded thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles from its Audi, Bentley and Porsche brands at U.S. ports because the cars contained a part made by a Chinese supplier on a sanctions list for using forced labor in Xinjiang. VW said it had notified the U.S. after learning from the supplier that its products included parts made by the banned company. VW said it is process of retrofitting the vehicles and delivering them to dealers. 

Auto rock stars. The Automotive Hall of Fame will induct six industry veterans in September, the Dearborn, Michigan nonprofit said. Inductees are: Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.; Betsy Ancker-Johnson, the first woman vice president in the automotive industry when she was hired in 1979 at General Motors Corp.; Aftermarket pioneer Vic Edelbrock Sr. and son Vic Edelbrock Jr.; John James Sr., who was the first African American given the ability to transport goods within Michigan and across state lines; Wendell Scott, the first Black team owner and driver to win in the Grand National Series of NASCAR (now Cup Series); Vivek Chaand Sehgal who founded Motherson Group with his mother, growing it into a major Tier 1 supplier.

* Park Outside. Hyundai Group is recalling more than 90,000 Genesis vehicles due to a fire risk and owners are advised to park outside and away from structures until a repair is completed. The recall includes certain 2015-2016 Genesis, 2017-2019 Genesis G80, Genesis G90, and 2019 Genesis G70 vehicles. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, water may enter the starter solenoid and cause an electrical short, which can result in an engine compartment fire while parked or driving.

Start your engines. The 66th NASCAR Daytona 500, "The Great American Race", is Sunday. Joey Logano in his new Team Penske No. 22 Ford Dark Horse Mustang qualified fastest and won the pole. Logano secured his first Busch Light Pole Award at Daytona with a final-round lap of 181.947 mph. It is also the first Daytona 500 pole for Team Penske. The forty car field includes 17 Chevrolets, 14 Fords and 9 Toyotas.

Stay safe. Be Well.

Kind regards, 
Larry Nutsonthe Chicago Car Guy
The Auto Channel