AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – January 16, 2022; 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 “take” on this past week’s automotive news, condensed into easy to digest news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Full 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 bold headline and then inserting into any Site Search Box.

Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending January 15, 2022; 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-understand automotive universe news nuggets.

* Cox Automotive is optimistic about 2022, which is underscored by expectations of new vehicle sales to reach 16M (7% more from 2021) and inventory improvements in the second half of the year. The 10 trends they’re expecting to shape the auto business this year are: 1) Vehicle demand will remain robust, especially through the first half; 2) Used-vehicle values will depreciate again, after the spring; 3) Tight vehicle supply will gradually improve; 4) EV growth will outpace industry growth; 5) Auto loan rates will rise; 6) Lease demand will improve; 7) Service revenue opportunities will continue to be robust for dealers; 8) Dealership consolidation will continue; 9) Consumer shift to online will become dominant; 10) Direct-to-consumer model will force dealers to adapt. 

* New-vehicle average transaction prices (ATPs) increased further into record territory in December 2021 to reach $47,077, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book. Prices are sharply elevated from last year, up nearly 14% ($5,742) from December 2020 and up 1.7% ($808) month over month. New-vehicle inventory levels remain tight, and with sufficient consumer demand, dealers continue to hold prices at or above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

* According to the average price of a used vehicle in November was $29,011, more than 39% above a year ago. No wonder the new Ford Maverick compact pickup with a starting price of $19,995 is so popular.

* New vehicle sales in 2021 were not so bleak for one automaker. Rolls-Royce set a new 117-year-old sales record and sold 5,586 vehicles during the year, up 49 per cent over 2020 and the highest in its history. The BMW-owned company said the demand for the brand’s cars rose worldwide, with increased sales in every big market. Growth was led by China and the Americas, which each accounted for about 30 per cent of sales, with Europe at 20 per cent and the Middle East ay 10 per cent. Sales in South Korea and Russia were also strong.

* The 2022 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year(NACTOY) award winners were announced during a joint press conference at Huntington Place in Detroit. After three rounds of independently verified voting stemming from hundreds of hours of test driving, research and evaluation, the winners are: North American Car of the Year: Honda Civic, North American Truck of the Year: Ford Maverick: North American Utility Vehicle of the Year: Ford Bronco. We note, with an abundance of new electric vehicles coming to market this may mark the end of internal combustion engine vehicle award winners. 

* At the NACTOY winner announcement the head of the North American International Auto Show said the 2022 show will take place Sept. 14-25 in downtown Detroit. Press and tech days will take place Sept. 14 and 15. The annual Charity Preview, which raises millions of dollars for Detroit area nonprofits, will happen Sept. 16. Public days will run from Sept. 17-25. The show will take place in both Detroit’s Huntington Place convention center and around downtown Detroit with indoor and outdoor interactive displays. Detroit, the Motor City, has been without one of its signature events for three year, since January 2019.

* Here’s something to think about, thanks to the AutoBeat Group. In July, new passenger and commercial vehicles sold in the European Union must be equipped with “Intelligent Speed Assistance” (ISA) capability, which, as described by HERE Technologies (which is owned, in large part, by VW Group, BMW and Daimler), helps “drivers to acknowledge and comply with legal speed limits on any given road.” HERE has its ISA Map product on the market that will be deployed by most all EU OEMs. According to the company it can provide “speed limit information at any time, irrespective of environmental conditions.”

* Taking this technology a step further, what if speed limit information was provided to a vehicle’s powertrain electronic control uint and it took over limiting how fast a vehicle could be driven in certain geographic locations. It’s just like the geofencing of electric scooters by municipalities. Something to think about!

* Access to charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to plug-in vehicle adoption. In a National Renewable Energy Laboratory online survey conducted in May of 2020, respondents provided information on their household parking options, existing electrical access, and potential electrical access. Most of those with a personal garage had electrical access or potential electrical access, while less than half of those with driveways/carports had electrical access. Single-family attached housing had a smaller share of electrical access for their parking in personal garages and driveways/carports. Apartment/condomiium residents had the least access, with each of the three apartment categories having less than 25% access or potential access to electricity. As electric vehicle adoption progresses, residential charging access among electric vehicle owners is likely to decrease and become more uncertain. Projection results reveal that residential charging access is expected to remain high (78%–98%) while electric vehicles comprise a small share of the U.S. light-duty fleet (less than 10%), but that uncertainty increases as electrification penetrates the light-duty passenger fleet more broadly. Specifically, in a future where electric vehicles make up over 90% of the fleet, a range from as low as 35% to as high as 75% of electric vehicles are projected to have consistent residential charging access, depending on the scenario considered.

* First reported by the F150Gen14 forum, Ford is warning dealers that abusive actions in regards to orders for the  F150 Lighting such as demanding additional deposits or marking up the price may lead to loss of allocation of future F150 Lightning vehicles. They also are giving dealers the option to require customers to sign an agreement that they will not sell the vehicle for one year after purchase. Media reports say that some reservation holders are considering to cancel due to the financial demands.

* Tesla Inc. aims to start initial production of its much-anticipated Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023, pushing back its plan to begin production late this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The person said the delay comes as Tesla is changing features and functions of the electric pickup to make a compelling product as competition heats up in the segment.Tesla is expected to make limited production of the Cybertruck in the first quarter of 2023 before increasing output, the source said. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who unveiled the futuristic vehicle in 2019, had already delayed its production from late 2021 to late 2022.

* Three years ago California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would not buy any GM vehicles for its government fleets. This was because GM had supported the efforts by former President Trump to ban California from making its own emissions rules. This week the automaker sent a letter to Gov. Newsom saying it is “committed to complying with California’s regulations.” This will now put GM on the list of carmakers to be eligible for government fleet purchases by the state of California. Other companies already on the list include Ford, BMW, Honda, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo.

* We’ve been hearing about flying cars for some time now from the likes of GM and Hyundai, to name a couple. Last week at CES 2022 the Japanese startup SkyDrive Inc. displayed its Cartivator zero-emissions flying vehicle. We wonder what the U.S. FAA and Homeland Security have to say about flying cars and the overall security risks they my present.

* From the U.S. Dept of Energy we read: When modern all-electric vehicles (EV) were introduced in model year (MY) 2011, there were four models available with ranges spanning from 63 to 94 miles with a median range of 68 miles. Over time, the number of models and the ranges of EVs have increased. By MY 2021 the maximum range for an EV had more than quadrupled to 405 miles on a single charge, while the median range was 234.

* Back in September, a Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo electric vehicle was driven from the lowest point in America accessible by car — Eagle Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. A Porsche team covered a vertical distance of more than 3 miles, setting the Guinness World Record for the greatest altitude change achieved by an EV. The team traveled more than 1,400 miles between the two points, stopping only for the drivers and the car to charge. Eagle Mine, in Upper Peninsula wilderness outside of Marquette, has a steady decline plunging more than 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface. It’s the only currently-operating nickel mine in the United States and provides critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries.

* From John Rettie writing for Autoweek: “Ladies and gentlemen, start your software.” And with those history-making words, uttered by Karen Chupka, EVP of CES, Consumer Technology Association, the world’s first ever race for autonomous race cars got booted up at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Officially this was the second round of the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) but as it turned out the first “race” held last October at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was only time trials where nine autonomous race cars drove one-at-a-time around the famous oval. This time the organizers created a head-to-head elimination race with two cars on the track at a time—somewhat similar to how drag races are conducted. There’s more HERE

* Dodge//SRT and Mopar announced their support of the newest team in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Camping World Drag Racing Series, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR). Dodge//SRT and Mopar will be primary sponsors for Top Fuel driver Leah Pruett and three-time Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan in TSR’s inaugural 2022 NHRA season. This announcement opens the sixth “garage door” of the Dodge Never Lift campaign, a 24-month road map to the brand’s electrified performance future. The Dodge 24 Months of Muscle calendar can be viewed HERE

* This past week on January 14 Big Daddy Don Garlits celebrated his 90th birthday. As former Hot Rod magazine editor Jim McCraw put it “Garlits has been thrilling drag racing fans for about 70 of those 90 years, operates the best drag racing museum in the country, has a fabulous car collection, and still builds cars in Don’s Garage every day.”  

Stay safe. Be Well.