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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up March 17-23, 2024



AUTO CENTRAL - March 24, 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.

Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up March 17-March 23 2024.

* First (Actual) on-line car purchase. Last week, Wyler Automotive Family in Cincinnati, a Cox Automotive client, conducted the first-ever 100% online NEW car transaction using WylerComplete, Cox Automotive’s Ecommerce solution for NEW cars. The transaction was for a 2023 Dodge Charger and was completed in 15 mins at 11:15pm on Wednesday March 13, when the dealership and banks were closed. Cox Automotive says there is an industry misconception that this has been done before, but it hasn’t—not without absolutely no human interaction and entirely at the buyer’s pace. The Jeff Wyler Automotive Family launched WylerComplete in July of 2022, allowing shoppers to buy a used vehicle 100% online. The addition of being able to shop and buy a new vehicle 100% online is a revolutionary step allowing shoppers to shop for a new car, select eligible rebates and incentives, put the vehicle into a shopping cart, and completing the transaction with remote signature. The Jeff Wyler Automotive Family operates 23 dealerships in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

* Best for Families. The U.S. News and World Reports 2024 Best Cars for Families awards honor the cars, SUVs and minivans that offer the best combination of safety, reliability, space, convenience and connectivity in their class. The awards cover nine different automotive segments, from sedans and compact SUVs to electric vehicles and large SUVs. There's a winner for families of all sizes and at all stages of life. Have a look here for the winners. HERE

* US DoE factoid of the week: By 2030, the US will need 28 million EV charging ports to support 33 million EVs. National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that by 2030 there will be 33 million EVs on the road and 28 million EV charging ports will be needed to support them. The majority of charging will be at home and work, with the public network for opportunity charging and less common long trips. Of the 28 million charging ports, 25.7 million (92%) are expected to be private Level 1 (L1) and Level 2 (L2) chargers at single-family homes. Additionally, there will be an estimated 2.1 million (7.6%) public and private L2 chargers at multifamily homes, workplaces, stores, restaurants, and hotels. Estimates show 182,000 (~1%) DC Fast charging ports would be needed at public charging stations, primarily to support those with no access to consistent off-street parking, as well as for long distance travel.

* Editor note to the above: As of 2021, there were more than 282 million vehicles registered in the U.S. Of these, only 4.3 million were publicly owned. That leaves about 278 million private and commercial cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles cruising the nation's streets. Do the math! 33 million EVs among the 278 million.

* Not ready for a BEV. American car buyers are increasingly seeking out a middle-ground between gas-powered and fully electric vehicles, prompting automakers to pivot toward investing in hybrid technology. This shift comes as rising hybrid sales outpace growth in demand for electric vehicles, with offerings like the Ford Maverick hybrid and Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid proving popular with consumers. US automakers race to build more hybrids as EV sales slow

* We'll see. Former President Donald Trump said he would hit cars made in Mexico by Chinese companies with a 100% tariff, double the levy he has previously said he would put on automobiles made south of the U.S. border. Earlier this month Trump threatened a 50% tariff on Chinese cars. He has also proposed tariffs of as much as 60% on all Chinese goods and 10% on goods made anywhere in the world. The Detroit News has more details: HERE

* More EVs by 2030. Stellantis NA, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram, will comply with California’s stricter emissions policy requiring two-thirds of new vehicles to be zero-emissions or all-electric by 2030 – and will commit to the deal even if former President Donald Trump makes a return to office and tries to dismantle the policy. Back in 2020, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW struck a special agreement with California to measure CARB compliance by sales nationwide, not just in the 14 states that have adopted California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules. Volvo and Geely also joined this agreement.

* Slowed pace. As expected, the US Department of Energy softened its "petroleum equivalency factor" through 2027 and by 65% overall through the end of the decade, giving automakers more time to meet the government's fleetwide fuel economy standards. The move prevents automakers from paying hefty fines in the near term, but the rule "will curtail automakers' use of phantom credits they used to keep selling gas guzzlers," says the NRDC's Pete Huffman. HERE

* Slowed pace 2.0. The Biden administration finalized tough new greenhouse gas standards for cars sold in the U.S., but gave automakers worried that they might be too strict to comply with in the near-term a break in the first few years before they increase more steeply. The final standards didn't back off that ambitious 2032 target in terms of the fleetwide reduction in greenhouse gases, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and other pollutants. They did change the amount by which those reductions occur beginning with model year 2027, making them somewhat less strict compared with the current standards in the first couple of years, before ramping them up more steeply later. The EPA said, the percentage of light-duty trucks and cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) could drop from 64% of new vehicle sales in model year (MY) 2027 and 58% in MY 2028, to 29% in MY 2032; while the percentage of battery-only electric vehicles (BEVs) could increase from 26% in 2027 and 31% in 2028, to 56% in 2028, with other EVs — pure hybrids and plug-in hybrids — making up the difference. The final rule better reflects the expected trajectory of market demand and enabling charging infrastructure buildout.

* Pre-show news. In this week before the New York Auto Show, new vehicle news include images of the new Kia K4 that replaces the Forte nameplate, the all-electric BMW Vision Neue Klasse X showing how future versions of BMW's Sports Activity Vehicle line-up will look, the 2025 Nissan Kicks, and the early NYC live debut of the 2025 Infiniti QX80.

* What's the Buzz! The global reveal for the European Volkswagen ID. Buzz GTX was on March 21st. Volkswagen of America said, the U.S. version of ID. Buzz will receive the all-wheel-drive powertrain of this model, but not the GTX badging and equipment set. More details about the U.S. ID. Buzz offer will be forthcoming prior to launch later this year.

* Recall. Hyundai and Kia are recalling 147,100 U.S. vehicles over a damaged charging unit, according to NHTSA. Hyundai will recall 98,878 vehicles, affecting certain Ioniq and Genesis models; Kia will recall 48,232 EV6 models. The Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU) may become damaged and stop charging the 12-volt battery, which can result in a loss of drive power increasing the risk of a crash, the safety regulator said.

* Recall. Stellantis is recalling nearly 318,000 Dodge and Chrysler sedans worldwide because the side air bag inflators can explode with too much force and hurl metal fragments at drivers and passengers. The recall covers air bag inflators on both sides of certain Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 large cars from the 2018 through 2021 model years.

* Historic GM. The Petersen Automotive Museum's newest exhibit, “GM's Marvelous Motorama: Dream Cars from the Joe Bortz Collection,” is now open in the Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation Gallery. This exhibit showcases the legacy of GM Motorama shows in the 1950s, featuring six extremely rare GM concept cars displayed together for the first time. Cars on display include the 1955 LaSalle II Roadster, 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne, 1955 LaSalle Sedan, 1953 Buick Wildcat, the 1953 Pontiac Parisienne and a completely original and unrestored 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special. The exhibit highlights the history of General Motors’ traveling Motorama shows, which legendary GM stylist Harley Earl used to present experimental non-production cars that featured unique design and technological concepts. A few of the vehicles, like the Corvette, even went into production.

* NHRA history. Autoweek informs a new Shirley Muldowney documentary is a must-see NHRA history lesson. The new documentary entitled, Shirley is the definitive racing biography of the first woman champion in NHRA history. The documentary debuted March 20 on FS1.

* 12 hours of Sebring. The 72nd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac was decided by an intense battle for the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the classic endurance racing contest. Louis Deletraz in the No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 stalked Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R throughout the last of 12 hours of hard-fought racing before finally forcing his way past to claim the overall and Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class victory in Round 2 of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Felipe Nasr, Dane Cameron and Matt Campbell rounded out the podium after finishing 8.898 seconds back in third place in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963. The No. 7 and No. 40 teams left Sebring tied for the lead of the GTP standings with 706 points each.

* RIP. Rally driver Kenjiro Shinozuka, who joined Mitsubishi Motors in 1971, has died. Shinozuka made brilliant achievements in domestic and international rally competitions, and left many memorable scenes with Mitsubishi cars. In the 1991 and 1992 World Rally Championship, he won the Ivory Coast Rally with the Galant VR-4. In 1997, he became the first Japanese driver to win the overall championship in the Paris-Dakar Rally with the Pajero.

Stay safe. Be Well.