Nutson Weekly Auto News Roundup June 20-26, 2021
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO June 27, 2021 Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel’s
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Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending June 26, 2021; Below are the past week’s important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy to digest news nuggets.
* President Biden struck an infrastructure deal with a bipartisan group of senators, signing on to their plan to provide about $579 billion in new investments in roads, broadband internet, electric utilities and other projects in hopes of moving a crucial piece of his economic agenda through Congress. The plan includes $15 billion for electric-vehicle infrastructure and electric buses. Of this, $7.5 billion is for a network of EV charging stations across the country.
* The Detroit News reports global electric vehicle supremacy will arrive by 2033 — five years earlier than previously expected — as tougher regulations and rising interest drive demand for zero-emission transportation, according to a new study. Consultant Ernst & Young LLP now sees EV sales outpacing fossil fuel-burners in 12 years in Europe, China and the U.S. — the world’s largest auto markets. And by 2045, non-EV sales are seen plummeting to less than 1% of the global car market, EY forecast using an AI-powered prediction tool.
* Our friends at The Detroit Bureau report new data from Experian reveals that new vehicle registrations for electric vehicles are up 95% during the first four months of 2021. The entire market isn’t languishing as its up 36% overall. The jump pushed the U.S. market share for EVs to 2.3% — a jump from 1.6% for the same period in 2020, Automotive News reported. Tesla Inc., the top seller of electric vehicles around the world, saw registrations decline on three of its four vehicles during the period. Only the Model Y rose.
* Audi has said it will phase out internal combusting engine development by 2026 and become an all-electric brand by 2033. Starting in 2026, Audi will only launch new all-electric models on the global market. The exact timing of the combustion engine’s discontinuation at Audi will ultimately be decided by customers. It could come before 2033.
* Tesla has knocked Ford out of the top spot in the annual Cars.com ranking of which vehicles are most American. The Tesla Model 3, assembled in Fremont, California, is No. 1 in the 2021 American-Made Index, the first time an electric vehicle has held the spot. The index dates to 2006. The Ford Ranger midsize pickup, assembled in Wayne, Michigan, was No. 1 last year, but has fallen out of the top 10 in part because of “a fairly steep reduction” in content under the American Automobile Labeling Act, which relates to whether parts are considered domestic or foreign.
* In the past year, used vehicle prices on average have climbed 30%, according to Black Book, which tracks car and truck data. That’s created many crazy situations where high-demand vehicles are selling for more than they did when they were new, said Alex Yurchenko, the company’s senior vice president of data science. Yurchenko has found 73 models of 1- to 3-year-old vehicles being sold at auctions (where dealers buy their vehicles) for prices above their original sticker, which is called the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Used vehicle price increases accounted for one-third of the large rise in inflation last month, according to the Labor Department. Prices shot up a record 10% in April and another 7.3% in May, as inflation spiked 5%, the biggest 12-month increase since 2008.
* The recently released CarGurus Self-Driving Vehicle Sentiment Survey compiled and analyzed consumer feedback on autonomous vehicle (AV) related topics like comfort with self-driving, how people imagine utilizing the technology, and timeline to adoption. The study has shown that over the past two years, familiarity with AVs has grown while excitement has remained stagnant. When asked how comfortable they were with the advancement of self-driving technology, 37% of respondents were neutral and 33% expressed excitement.
* Infiniti finally pulled the cover off its new QX60 three-row luxury crossover for all the world to see. The QX60 is all new for 2022, except for the 3.5-liter V6. It was brought to life in the short, branded-film “INFINITI Presents: Conquer Life in Style with All-New QX60” created to reveal the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX60 to customers around the world. The film starred Golden Globe-winner and Academy Award-nominated actress, producer, entrepreneur, and mother, Kate Hudson. The QX60 will arrive in showrooms in late-2021.
* Honda unveiled the 11th generation of its Civic compact car featuring a hatchback it will build in Indiana. Honda is betting that younger buyers, bored by SUVs they grew up in, will be attracted to efficient, sporty small cars with advanced technology features.
* Following the leak of some photos, Toyota gave us the first look at the all-new 2022 Tundra pickup which will be powered by a brand-new iForce Max engine, which is likely the same twin-turbo V6 found in the 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser. The Tundra should also have some sort of electrification option, as part of Toyota’s commitment to building hybrid and electric trucks.
* Ferrari unveiled an all-new production plug-in hybrid. The 296 GTB will be the marque’s new mid-rear-engined berlinetta. The model will be powered by an aluminum V6 paired with a 7.45-kWh battery, with this powertrain producing a combined 818 hp.
* At the upcoming Chicago Auto Show in July Jeep will debut a refreshed 2022 Jeep Compass crossover utility and the Wrangler Xtreme Recon package that features 35-inch tires from the factory for the first time and has a 100:1 crawl ratio.
* Reuters reports the ultra-premium Bugatti brand’s future within the Volkswagen Group will be decided soon, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said. Volkswagen has been deliberating whether to fold Bugatti into a partnership with Croatian electric supercar maker Rimac – a move that would bring Mate Rimac and his talented band of electric vehicle engineers even closer to the heart of VW’s premium EV operations.
* Hagerty announced its acquisition of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The move follows Hagerty’s recent acquisitions of other premiere automotive events, including the Concours d’Elegance of America, the California Mille and the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. Bill Warner, who founded the concours in 1996, will remain as Chairman Emeritus. Hagerty will work with the concours’ existing operational team to expand the annual event. The 27th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place March 3-6, 2022.
* Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis, Eric Malone, star of MotorTrend’s series “Fastest Cars in the Dirty South” and Mike Finnegan, host of MotorTrend’s series “Roadkill” gave us more details on the upcoming “MotorTrend Presents Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge” event and the new celebrity showdown format. The event in Pontiac, Michigan will kick off Woodward Dream Cruise week Aug. 13-14. The sixth annual event will feature drag racing on 1/8-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue with high horsepower, street-legal dragsters vying for a $10,000 prize. Dodge is giving $10,000 to each of four popular online muscle-car celebrities and “Fastest Cars in the Dirty South” TV host Eric Malone to modify a Dodge Hellcat to complete in a grudge match.
* The Nissan Sentra is being recalled for a bent tie rod in the steering linkage. Nearly 139,000 units of model-year 2020-21 of the compact sedan are affected.
* Factoid of the week: The Jeep Wrangler 4Xe was the best selling plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in the U.S. in May.
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