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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Round-up May 12-18, 2024



Auto Central May 19, 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 top 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 May 12-18, 2024.

* Average vehicle prices rise. In April, new vehicle prices saw their first increase of 2024, rising to $48,510 on average, according to the latest data released by Kelley Blue Book. While average prices were up 2.2% from March, incentives in April decreased to 6.3% of the average transaction price, the first decline in incentives since October 2023. Luxury transaction prices increased 2.4% from the prior month and incentives were notably lower, at 6.0% of ATP, down from 7.4% of ATP in March. Electric vehicle transaction prices in April were essentially flat versus March – up roughly 0.1% – at $55,252, an increase of only $75 from the prior month.

* Chinese EV tariff. President Joe Biden slapped major new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, advanced batteries, solar cells, steel, aluminum and medical equipment as he embraced a strategy that’s increasing friction between the world’s two largest economies. The President said that Chinese government subsidies ensure the nation’s companies don’t have to turn a profit, giving them an unfair advantage in global trade. The tariffs are to be phased in over the next three years, with those that take effect in 2024 covering EVs, solar cells, syringes, needles, steel and aluminum and more. There are currently very few EVs from China in the U.S., but officials worry low-priced models made possible by Chinese government subsidies could soon start flooding the U.S. market. The hike on Chinese EVs is from 25% of the cost currently to 100%. Official Biden Notice

* More HP for the PD. As automakers have stepped away from muscle cars powered by big V8 engines, Ford Motor Co. remains the Last Man Standing with the Mustang GT. And police agencies have taken notice. After years of ordering the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro, state patrol agencies in Georgia, North Carolina South Carolina confirmed they're adding the 2024 Mustang GT to their fleets. Full story from the Detroit Free Press:  HERE

* Tesla flip flop. Elon Musk touted plans to expand Tesla Inc.’s Supercharger network just over a week after firing almost all of the roughly 500 people who ran the business. Tesla will spend “well over” $500 million on growing its network this year, Musk said on X, the social media network he owns. Ten days ago, the automaker’s chief executive officer wrote that Tesla planned to add chargers at a slower pace and focus more on uptime and existing locations. Tesla is also rehiring many of the people that were fired. The head of BP Plc’s electric-vehicle charging business in the US told Bloomberg this week that the oil major was eager to step in and work with any real estate partners that Tesla may have abandoned. Full details in this Detroit News story: HERE

* US DoE factoid of the week: Full-size vans had the highest average on-road fuel economy of all medium and heavy truck types with an average of 10.1 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2021. The average fuel economy of medium and heavy trucks is typically below 10 mpg, which presents a good opportunity for fuel savings through electrification or other alternative fuels. Those with fixed routes, such as garbage trucks, which average 4.5 mpg are especially suited to alternative fuel use due to short travel distances, opportunities for regenerative braking from frequent stops, and company operated refueling. Of all the truck types, concrete mixers had the lowest average fuel economy at 4.0 mpg.

* Enclosed bike parking. In an effort to encourage cycling and fight bike theft, the New York City Department of Transportation wants to open 500 new secure bike storage facilities throughout the city during the next five years. The agency is looking for companies to build the enclosed facilities. Most of the facilities would house around a dozen bikes, occupying one parking space. The agency is also planning to build larger bike parking facilities near major transit hubs. The secure bike parking spots would not be free. Full story: HERE

* Smart traffic lights. Researchers at the University of Michigan and North Carolina State University are looking at how changes with traffic lights could improve traffic flow, especially in light of new technologies. An N.C. State team is looking at adding a fourth traffic light that would signal autonomous vehicles "are in charge." Michigan is using signals from General Motors vehicles that indicate speed and location could alter traffic lights. More : HERE

* Corn and EVs. Nearly all U.S. gasoline contains ethanol to reduce emissions, and nearly all of that ethanol is made from corn starch. But, electric and hybrid vehicles offer even further emissions reductions. This poses a threat to corn demand that could be devastating for a state such as Illinois, the second-largest corn producer in the country. Get the full story:HERE

* Car theft.  Kia and Hyundai vehicles experienced the highest theft rates in 2023, breaking the years-long trend of full-size pickups topping the list, according to a new report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the insurance industry’s association dedicated to preventing and prosecuting insurance crime and fraud. HERE

* Theft ring busted. Six alleged members of a car theft ring that operated throughout southeast Michigan and stole more than 400 vehicles worth about $8 million have been arrested. The six are charged with stealing the vehicles from Michigan dealerships and factories. The stolen vehicles are worth approximately $8 million.

* Recall. Honda is recalling 187,290 Ridgeline pickups over an issue with rearview cameras. Rearview cameras may fail when the tailgate is repeatedly opened in the presence of freezing temperatures and salt due to a wire harness failure. Vehicles built between 2020 and 2024 are affected. 

* A Driver's Road. Hagerty announced California State Route 33 as its inaugural ‘Road of the Year.’ With more than 4 million miles of road in the United States, the ‘Road of the Year’ celebrates the unique emotional experiences created by driving, taking into consideration location, drivability, condition, scenery and more. Located within a two hours’ drive north of Los Angeles, California State Route 33 winds its way through the Transverse Mountain Ranges. The stretch of Route 33 celebrated by Hagerty starts from the quaint town of Ojai and rises to 5,160 feet to Pine Mountain Summit before plunging thrillingly into a gorge created by the Sespe Creek, eventually spilling out into the broad agricultural and ranching valley of Cuyama. For the full editorial story from Hagerty Drivers Club, go. HERE

*  First all-electric pace car. The all-electric 2024 Acura ZDX Type S will be the first all-electric pace car at the 102nd running of The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb brought to you by Gran Turismo on June 23. Driving the ZDX Type S pace car up the challenging 12.42-mile hill climb will be pro BMX athlete, car tuner and amateur drifter Coco Zurita. With nearly 500 horsepower and 544 lb. ft of torque delivered at all altitudes, the all-electric ZDX Type S—the performance brand's first all-electric model—will pace the field on the challenging mountain course with dual-motor all-wheel drive, a low center of gravity with near 50/50 weight distribution, height adjustable air suspension, performance-tuned adaptive dampers and massive 15.6-inch Brembo front brakes with 6-piston calipers. Known as the Race to the Clouds, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of America's longest running motorsports competitions. Since 1916, drivers from all over the world and a wide variety of vehicles from multiple motorsports disciplines have raced against the clock as they take on the 156-turn course, starting at 9,390 feet and climbing to the 14,115-foot summit.

Stay safe. Be Well.