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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up May 26-June 1, 2024



Auto Central June 2, 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 26-June 1, 2024.

* May Sales Outlook. Cox Automotive forecasts that May’s new-vehicle sales will show improvement over last year, driven by significantly increased inventory levels leading to more appealing incentives. However, vehicle affordability issues, driven partly by high interest rates and elevated new-vehicle prices, continue to weigh negatively on sales, as typical monthly payments for new-vehicle loans are above $750. The new-vehicle SAAR, or annual sales pace, in May is forecast up from last May’s 15.5 million level and a modest uptick from last month’s 15.7 million pace. Sales volume is expected to rise 3.5% over last year and 6.4% above last month. There are 26 selling days this May, one more than last year and last month.

* Carfax Used Car Index: May 2023 marked the peak price for models in almost every segment of the Used Car Index. Now, a year later, prices have fallen by roughly 10% in nearly every category. What does that mean? It’s time to get off the fence if that’s where you’ve been sitting and waiting for the right moment to act. Why? Because prices are starting to heat up, and there are several indicators that suggest they’ll be moving up even more. Read the details:  HERE

* Cars for College grads. The experts at Autotrader, a Cox Automotive brand, studied the automotive landscape to determine the Best Cars for Recent College Graduates for 2024. Autotrader's Great Cars for Grads feature affordable prices, high safety marks, and cool features. HERE

* EVs are for urban use. Most EVs in the US are still being shipped to the same few states, according to the Detroit News. Much of new EV production is ending up in the same few places: along the coasts and in the nation’s busiest auto markets. Almost one-third of new electric vehicles are going to one of three states: California, Florida or Texas, according to CarGurus data. There's more to this story:

* No speeding.The Hill" reports that the California Senate has passed Bill 961, a bill that mandates all new cars manufactured or sold in California be equipped with “passive speed governors,” referred to as " intelligent speed assistance systems." Unlike the electronic limiters that physically limit a vehicle’s speed, SB 691's proposed intelligent speed assistance system would "utilizes a brief, one-time visual and audio signal to alert the driver each time they exceed the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour." The builds off “similar requirements” that are going to effect in the European Union starting in July. The Bill was authored based on recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), American Academy of Pediatrics, and AAA. The Bill passed in the Senate 22-13 and will now move to the Assembly where it has to pass by August 31, 2024. If the Bill is passed in the Assembly, it would go into effect in 2032 with a 50 percent phase-in by 2029.

* Replacement parts nightmare. Insurance companies and law enforcement saw big declines in the number of catalytic converter thefts nationwide in 2023. However, the number of catalytic converter replacements fell at a slower rate, Carfax data shows. That’s because it’s still a challenge to find replacement converters – it sometimes takes months to get one installed. Insurance company State Farm reported a nearly 40% drop in claims for catalytic converter theft during the first half of 2023 versus the first half of 2022. Full story : HERE

* US DoE factoid of the week: Model year (MY) 2023 had 19 light-duty EV models from 11 different manufacturers with an Environmental Protection Agency certified driving range of 300 miles or more. MY 2016 marked the first time an EV model was certified for 300 miles or more on a single charge. The number grew slowly until 2022 when 14 models exceeded that range. Note: EPA certified driving range is a calculated number based on the combination of 55% city driving range and 45% highway driving range determined by test-cycles conducted in a lab with a full 100% battery charge. Actual range will vary with vehicle options, driving conditions, terrain and speed, driving habits, vehicle maintenance, charging practice, battery age, weather, temperature, and your vehicle’s condition. 

* Who do you ask? The non-profit Forth Mobility, whose mission is to electrify transportation by bringing people together to create solutions that reduce pollution, recently asked: Where do you turn for the latest on electric vehicles? The answers were: Industry websites/newsletters-45%, Social media-18%, Manufacturer resources-9%, News outlets/journals-27%. Although the sample was small, the response is telling.

* Goodbye Geneva Auto Show Automotive News reports the 2025 Geneva moter show has been canceled and the event will not be revived. Organizers of the show, first held in 1905, cited 'uncertainties linked to the auto industry' and the 'eroded attractiveness' of European auto shows.

* Mazda Recall Mazda is recalling 9,914 CX-90 Hybrids due to a potential fault with the vehicle's forward collision warning system. All vehicles included in the recall are 2024 models. According to documents filed with the NHTSA, the CX-90's brakes may activate suddenly, increasing the risk of a crash.

* Tesla recall. Tesla is recalling 125,227 vehicles in the United States due to a malfunction in its seat belt warning system that can increase the risk of injury in a collision, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The regulator said the vehicles failed to comply with the federal safety requirements as their seat belt warning light and audible chime may not get activated when the driver is unbelted. The recall affects certain 2012-2024 Model S, 2015-2024 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles.

* Replace Takata air bags. Ten years after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated the recall of Takata airbags nationwide because of the risk they pose for bodily harm – or even death – to occupants, more than 6.4 million vehicles in the U.S. still have those airbags, according to CARFAX data. Read more.HERE/

* Do not drive. U.S. regulators warned owners of 84,000 Nissan vehicles, most more than 20 years old, to stop driving the cars because their defective Takata airbag inflators could explode. Age amplifies the risk for owners of vehicles with Takata airbag systems. 

* Indy 500. The four-hour rain delay of the Indianapolis 500 didn't impact the excitement of the race for the more than 300,000 fans. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden fought off Pato O’Ward in a last-lap showdown to take back-to-back Indianapolis 500 victories. Newgarden, who started third, was forced to pull off a stirring last-lap pass, delivering a thrilling outside move around Arrow McLaren’s O’Ward into Turn 3 to win by 0.3417s. He becomes the first driver to go back-to-back since Helio Castroneves did so with Team Penske in 2001 and 2002.  

* End of a race team. Stewart-Haas Racing, which has won two Cup titles and captured 69 wins since its formation in 2009, will close after the 2024 season, shuttering a four-car Cup operation. Co-owners Gene Haas and Tony Stewart have appeared focused on other aspects of their businesses in recent years. Haas has a Formula 1 team that has struggled and the three-time Cup champion Stewart started an NHRA drag-racing team a couple of years ago that his wife drove for last year and Stewart is driving for this year. SHR has struggled in recent years and its hefty support from Ford is set to end after this season.

Stay safe. Be Well.