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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up April 15-20, 2024



Auto Central April 21, 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 April 14-20, 2024.

* Prices still high. New-vehicle transaction prices (ATP) in March 2024 held mostly steady, according to an analysis by Kelley Blue Book, down 1% from the revised February ATP. Last month, the average transaction price of a new vehicle in the U.S. was $47,218, down 1% from March 2023 and down 5.4% from the market peak in December 2022. Still, new-vehicle prices in the U.S. remain higher by 15.5% compared to March 2021. The industry’s vehicle mix and focus on luxury continue to make affording a new vehicle more difficult for the average consumer. In March, of the roughly 275 new-vehicle models available in the U.S. market, only eight had average transaction prices below $25,000 and only two transacted for less than $20,000. The average price Americans paid for an electric vehicle in March was $54,021, up from a revised $53,707 in February, according to Cox Automotive and Kelley Blue Book estimates. EV transaction prices in March were lower year over year by 9.7%. The average incentive spend from manufacturers increased 11% to $3,121, which was up 102% year over year.

* Good value can be found. The 2024 Affordability Report lists the Best Value New Cars. New-car inventory is rebounding in a big way, with the fastest growing segment so far this year being cars listed for under $30,000. According to data, the average new-car list price is the lowest it’s been in over a year. See the best values here. HERE

* Pace slows-sales rise. Electric vehicle (EV) sales growth in the U.S. continues to slow, according to sales data analyzed by Kelley Blue Book. In the first quarter of 2024, Americans bought 268,909 new electric vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book counts. EV share of total new-vehicle sales in Q1 was 7.3%, a decrease from Q4 2023. While annual EV sales continue to grow in the U.S. market, the growth rate has slowed notably. Sales in Q1 rose 2.6% year over year, but fell 15.2% compared to Q4 2023. The increase last quarter was well below the previous two years. In Q1 2023, EV sales volumes were up 46.4% year over year and 15.5% quarter over quarter. In Q1 2022, EV sales were higher by 81.2% year over year and 20.4% higher than the previous quarter. Get more details here: HERE

* Best places to live for EV owners. In 2023, 1.2 million U.S. vehicle buyers chose to go electric, according to Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive brand. For electric vehicle (EV) owners certain factors, like home-charging ability and easy access to charging facilities are necessary for smooth EV ownership. A new report from and Cox Automotive has uncovered the top housing markets for EV owners. These markets include; San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco; Boston; Seattle, Wash.; Durham, N.C.; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Denver, Colo. See the top EV-friendly markets: HERE

* Better EV batteries. Nissan expects to mass produce electric vehicles powered by advanced next-generation batteries by early 2029, the company said during a media tour of an unfinished pilot plant. Solid-state batteries, which replace the corrosive liquids found in conventional batteries with solid metals, are widely seen as the next step for EVs, and leading automakers are racing to develop versions that can be mass produced. Rivals like Volkswagen and Toyota have also announced efforts to produce solid-state EVs, with Toyota setting a date of 2027-28 to begin bringing them to market. So folks, check back later in this decade.

* E-mobility expansion. The U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation has a new Communities Taking Charge funding opportunity designed to extend the benefits of electric mobility to more people and places. Funding topics include expanding charging access for communities without home charging, expanding e-mobility for all types of fleets, and managed charging for clean energy. More details here: HERE

* EV tires are different In a recent Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast host Tom Appel talks to the folks at Goodyear about electric-vehicle tires. Joining Tom are David Zanig, Goodyear’s Senior Director of Tire Technology, and Brad Heim, Vice President for Product Development. Listen in to learn why EV tires are different from those found on gasoline-powered vehicles. HERE

* EV infrastructure blitz. Almost 600 public fast-charging stations were switched on for US drivers in the first three months of the year, a 7.6% increase over the end of 2023, according to a Bloomberg Green analysis of federal data. There are now almost 8,200 quick-turn EV stations across the country, or one for every 15 gas stations. Tesla is responsible for slightly more than one quarter of them. The first-quarter infrastructure blitz was fueled in part by the Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, a $5 billion plan to fill in the remaining gaps in the charging map.

* US DoE Factoid of the Week: Commuting times vary widely around the country. Commute times for workers in New York State averaged 33.2 minutes (one-way) in 2022. Maryland, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia also had average commute times over 30 minutes, likely due to traffic and urban sprawl. The United States as a whole averaged about 27 minutes (yellow bar). On the other end of the scale, South Dakota and North Dakota had average commute times of less than 18 minutes. Find your state here: HERE

* Grab and go! From MotorTrend we read: Eight cars, including a rare 2023 Dodge Challenger Demon SRT 170 valued at $158,000, were stolen from the North County Ford dealership in Arab, Alabama, and investigators are still trying to piece the whole thing together. The thieves used a rock and a laptop to pull off the heist. Get the scoop here: HERE

* Safest pickup of all. The 2024 Rivian R1T is the only pickup truck to earn a Top Safety Pick+, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced. The IIHS conducts the most rigorous crash-testing assessments in the automotive industry, and a TSP+ designation is considered the highest safety recognition. The electric pickup truck earned top “Good” ratings in all crash tests performed by the insurance-industry-funded safety agency, including its updated moderate front-overlap test. It’s the only pickup proven by the IIHS to adequately protect rear occupants.

* Ford Recall. Ford is recalling 456,565 Bronco Sport SUVs and Maverick compact pickups over a loss of drive power, NHTSA says. An undetected low battery charge could lead to some electrical accessories such as hazard lights not functioning properly or cause a loss of drive power. The recall includes Bronco Sports manufactured between 2022 and 2024, and Mavericks made between 2022 and 2023.

* Toyota Recall. Toyota is recalling 2023-2024 Prius models to fix the rear door switches. About 55,000 2023-24 Prius and Prius Prime models in the U.S. are affected. The issue is water may enter and short-circuit rear door latches causing them to possibly open when moving or in a crash.

* Tesla Recall Tesla is recalling 3,878 Cybertrucks to fix an accelerator pedal pad that could come loose and get lodged in the interior trim, according to the NHTSA. A trapped accelerator pedal could cause the vehicle to accelerate unintentionally, increasing the risk of a crash.

* Mustang turns 60. Ford Motor Co. celebrated the Mustang's 60th anniversary this week and unveiled a special edition of the classic pony car to commemorate its legacy. In honor of the Mustang, which made its debut at the 1964 New York World's Fair, Ford held an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The company planned for over 2,000 Mustang owners and fans to be in attendance with their own Mustangs. The Ford Mustang 60th Anniversary package features unique wheels, grille, body stripes and badging and will be available on the GT Premium model with a 5.0-liter V8 in both coupe and convertible models with either manual or automatic transmissions and has classic design features that will harken back to the Mustang's debut.

* BMW supports veterans. In tribute to the stories of America's veterans and their unwavering spirit, Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) Old Glory Relay is set to embark on its 10th-anniversary journey, presented by BMW of North America. The 1,600-mile event spanning from Philadelphia, PA, to Chicago, IL, is a fundraising initiative to support Team RWB, a nonprofit organization helping veterans live healthier lives through in-person and in-app events, training, and programs. Commencing at a Philadelphia Phillies game on April 19, 2024, and culminating in Chicago with an activation around the Cubs Armed Forces Day game on May 18, 2024. BMW Central Region and BMW Southern Region dealers will donate $25 for each new car retailed during May. Rally stops along the way in partnership with BMW North America will celebrate the journey of the flag. Support the team here: HERE

* Vespa Party. Vespa World Days is taking place from April 18 to 21, 2024 in Pontedera, Italy the birthplace of the iconic scooter and the place where Vespa scooters have been in continuous production since 1946. Around 8,000 Vespa riders from more than 54 countries will be attending. More than 660 Vespa Clubs from five continents are also expected to attend. The Tuscany Region and Terre di Pisa are sponsoring the event. Twenty other municipalities in the Valdera region will also be taking part in the event.

Stay safe. Be Well.