Nutson’s Auto News Weekly Wrap-up June 6-12 2021



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO June 13, 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
“take” on this past week’s automotive news, condensed into easy to digest new>s Nuggets.

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Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending June 12, 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.

* The auto industry entered June with historically low inventories of unsold new vehicles due to continued strong sales and further production disruptions caused mostly by the global computer chip shortage, according to a Cox Automotive analysis. The total U.S. supply of available unsold new vehicles stood at 1.78 million units–about 35 day supply– as the end of May approached, down from 2.24 million at the same time in April. Supply has been trending lower since mid-December. Interestingly, cars of all size and prices had higher than average inventories and are becoming the choice of some utility vehicle shoppers.

* According to recent research from leading digital automotive marketplace, nearly 10% of recent car buyers drove out of state to purchase their desired vehicle, with more than half (52%) of those traveling 25 miles, nearly 20% traveling 50 miles and 13% of buyers traveling more than 250 miles to a dealership due to ongoing new- and used-car inventory shortages. Shoppers are traveling the farthest distance for Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota car brands. Shoppers expanding their search radius should include larger cities because they have more inventory than their rural counterparts.

* Ford took the wraps off the all-new Maverick compact pickup with a starting price of $19,995 MSRP. The all-new Ford Maverick is the first standard full-hybrid pickup in America and the most fuel-efficient truck on the market with a targeted EPA-estimated rating of 40 mpg in the city. It’ll be popular in cities and will be coming soon to your high school student parking lot. It’s also Ford’s lowest price vehicle.

* Startup commercial electric vehicle maker Lordstown Motors says it may not be in business a year from now as it tries to secure funding to start full production of an electric pickup truck. In a quarterly regulatory filing, Lordstown said the $587 million it had on hand as of March 31 isn’t enough to start commercial production and begin selling the full-size pickup, called the Endurance.

* The AP reported that if the auto industry is to succeed in its bet that electric vehicles will soon dominate the roads, it will need to overcome a big reason why many people are still avoiding them: fear of running out of juice between Point A and Point B. Automakers have sought to quell those concerns by developing EVs that go farther per charge and fill up faster. Problem is, most public charging stations now fill cars much too slowly, requiring hours — not minutes — to provide enough electricity for an extended trip. Concerned that such prolonged waits could turn away potential EV buyers and keep them stuck on gas-burning vehicles, automakers are trying to cut charging times to something close to the five or 10 minutes of a conventional gasoline fill-up. The latest generation of EVs, many with ranges around 300 miles (480 kilometers) per charge, can accept electricity at a much faster rate than previous models could. So fast, in fact, that most charging stations cannot yet accommodate the vehicles’ advanced technology.

* People are traveling by car more in the United States but not so much planes or trains, according to monthly data compiled by transport researcher Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research. The population-adjusted changes for March 2021 compared with March 2019 are: Road vehicle miles: down 4%; Air passenger miles: down 44%; Rail passenger miles: down 68%; Unlinked trips on public transit: down 58%.
The following are the changes for May 2021 compared with May 2019: Vehicle sales: down 1%; Price of gasoline: down 1%.

* Reuters reports Apple confirmed it has hired former BMW electric car project godfather and EV startup leader Ulrich Kranz to help with its car project – a statement that clears away most doubt that Apple means to get into the vehicle business. Kranz led development of the innovative BMW i3 electric car and went on to found EV startup Canoo, which he left last month.

* Ferrari wants to be more than just a low-volume, ultra-premium car company. It wants to be a lifestyle brand as well. To that end, the company will show off a new fashion line and a fine-dining restaurant near its Maranello, Italy headquarters. Ferrari’s goal is to generate 10% of revenue from its lifestyle businesses.

* Nissan will reveal the all new Nissan Z sport car on August 17 in New York City. The company made the announcement official, just a few months after showing the Z Proto concept late in 2020. Speculation has the price at around $35,000.

* The 2022 Lexus NX was revealed via livestream and will feature an all-new interior now with touchscreen and not a touchpad controller along with new evolutionary looks and four powertrains from which to choose.

* To celebrate Corvette C8.R IMSA GTLM 2020 season dominance, Corvette Stingray enters model year 2022 with special edition, plus new exterior color and spoiler options. New are 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition based on the 3LT trim with Z51 Performance Package. Each car includes Corvette Racing-themed graphics packages. Accelerate Yellow No. 3 editions feature gray graphics and Hypersonic Gray No. 4 editions feature yellow accents.

* Tesla introduced via livestream its Model S “Plaid,” the new top of the Tesla lineup. At $129,990, the Model S Plaid is playing in the same slice of the automotive market as high end German sedans, both gasoline-fueled and electric. The Model S is nine years old and needed the refresh that Tesla is giving it.

* Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has agreed to pay $13.6 million in compensation for what the company called his failure to quickly get to the bottom of the 2015 scandal over Diesel engines rig to cheat on emissions tests. Winterkorn’s payment is his share of an overall 4341 million settlement with Volkswagen by him and three other former managers. VW said it would get $329 million from liability insurance.

* As part of the judicial investigations of several automakers commenced in 2016 and 2017, Automobiles Peugeot S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stellantis N.V., was placed under examination by the Judicial Court of Paris on allegations of consumer fraud in connection with the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles in France between 2009 and 2015. As typical in a French criminal inquiry, Automobiles Peugeot S.A. will have to pay a bail of 10 million Euros (of which 8 million for the potential payment of damages and fines and 2 million to ensure the company’s representation in court), and will have to provide a bank guarantee of 30 million Euros for the potential compensation for losses. Automobiles Peugeot S.A. is also in the process of assessing its defense options in this respect. Two other subsidiaries of Stellantis, Automobiles Citroën S.A. and FCA Italy S.p.A, have been summoned to appear before the Judicial Court of Paris, on June 10 and in July, respectively, as part of the same investigation.

* Waymo and J.B. Hunt, one of North America’s biggest truck fleet operators, will test automated Class 8 semis on Interstate 45 between Houston and Fort Worth, Texas. This is only a test, and human operators will be in the cabs, but it’s another step toward deployment of automated commercial trucks. The freight hauling industry is keen on self-driving trucks to help solve a shortage of drivers at current pay rates.

* For the sixth year, Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge returns as the traditional kick off to the Motor City’s weeklong celebration of classic cars and car culture with legal street drag racing, classic and modern muscle car show, exhilarating interactive experiences and immersive, fun-filled activities at M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan. Unlike any other event in the world, drivers of the fastest street-legal drag cars in America have the opportunity to drag race in front of spectators on historic Woodward Avenue as it is transformed from a street into a sanctioned, 1/8-mile drag strip. Be there on August 14.

* Sergio Pérez driving for Red Bull Racing won a dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix after team mate Max Verstappen crashed out when leading the race with two laps to go. Sebastian Vettel finished second in his Aston-Martin. For the first time in 54 consecutive Formula 1 races Lewis Hamilton was not in a points position finish after his off-course excursion left him in 15th place.

* Autoweek reports following a blowover crash involving Joey Logano at Talladega in April, NASCAR has issued rule changes for the remaining two superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega this season designed to slow the cars by 7-10 mph. The update mandates a smaller tapered spacer, with the opening reduced from 57/64-inch to 53/64-inch. It also removes the wicker from the spoiler and mandates a reinforced roll bar near the rear wheel well that was previously optional. Cup cars will make around 450 hp in these races.

Stay safe. Be Well.