AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO March 14, 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 news Nuggets.
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Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending March 13, 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 U.S. Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s EPA pick Michael Regan. Regan takes the helm of the agency as the new administration looks to revamp vehicle efficiency standards and accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles.
* A couple weeks ago we reported the jury of the Women’s World Car of the Year had announced the winners in each of nine categories. These vehicles represent excellence in their segments based on safety, comfort, technology, and value for the money. As an update, the Land Rover Defender has been selected as the Women’s World Car of the Year for 2021. This was announced as part of the International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This is the eleventh year for WWCOTY, a team of fifty motoring journalists from 38 countries spanning five continents. It is the only jury in the automotive world composed exclusively of women. See more at the Women’s World Car of the Year website. https://www.womensworldcoty.com
* Automotive News reports the U.S. government sued the automobile device manufacturer EZ Lynk, accusing it of selling “defeat devices” to enable car and truck owners to disable their vehicles’ emission controls at the push of a button. In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the U.S. Department of Justice said the company’s EZ Lynk System has enabled thousands of drivers to “delete” emissions controls from Ford, GMC and Chrysler trucks, among other vehicles.
* Bonjour! Stellantis has now dropped Peugeot’s return to U.S. market. The new group, formed from the merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler, will focus on “existing brands” in North America such as Jeep and Ram, a spokesman said.
* Mitsubishi announced a new 24-hour digital showroom. Hosted on mitsubishicars.com, customers now have a shopping experience completely customized to their needs, interests and budget, as well as more transparency in the car-buying process. ClickShop allows customers to browse real-time inventory at their area dealers; build a custom deal, with pre-populated, applicable incentives, including payment, trade, and taxes; submit their credit application and book an in-person or virtual appointment. For customers, this means no more driving from dealership to dealership looking for a particular car, and a greatly reduced amount of time in the store to finalize a purchase. Mitsubishi joins Nissan, Toyota and Lexus who have new online sales portals. Volvo announced it will be shift to an online sales with its all-electric line-up.
* Jeep shared a teaser of an electric Wrangler concept it plans to show during its annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah from March 25 to April 4. The name Magneto appears in black lettering outlined in electric blue on the Jeep design sketch. We expect a number of Jeep concepts to appear. When an all-electric Jeep Wrangler will hit the market is up in the air.
* An American icon has returned. Jeep unveiled the all-new 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer premium 3-row SUVs. Designed to offer alternatives rot Cadillac and Lincoln the 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models are priced from $57,995 to $103,995 and are scheduled to arrive in showrooms in the second half of 2021. Customers interested in purchasing a Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer can go to Wagoneer.com, select a dealer and place a $500 deposit. Debuting in 1962 for the 1963 model year, Wagoneer was the first four-wheel-drive vehicle mated to an automatic transmission, pioneering the first modern SUV.
* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research reports highlights of the population-adjusted changes in transportation indexes from December 2019 (before the onset of the pandemic) to December 2020. Road vehicle miles traveled are down 11%, Air passenger miles are down 62%, Rail passenger miles are down 78% and Unlinked trips on public transit are down 61%.
* Drivers are using adaptive cruise control (ACC) as a tool for speeding, possibly undermining the feature’s potential safety benefits, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found. Drivers are substantially more likely to speed when using ACC or partial automation that combines that feature with lane centering than when not using either technology, the study showed. When selecting a speed to “set and forget,” many drivers choose one that’s over the limit.
* Kia is recalling 380,000 Sportage and Cadenza vehicles from the 2017 to 2021 model years for electric fire risk. The circuit in the vehicles’ hydraulic electronic control units could short-circuit, upping the risk of fire.
* Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office signals that Chicago’s huge convention and trade show business will be able to begin reopening by mid-summer, with the Chicago Auto Show first up for the green light.
* The COVID-19 pandemic has caused yet another delay — this time its the EyesOn Design traditional Father’s Day car show the Detroit, Michigan suburb of Grosse Pointe Shores. Last year, the EyesOn Design show was held on June 21 as a drive-thru car show to keep attendees safe from COVID-19, but that will not be the case this time around. The new date is Sunday, Sept. 19, according to a press release. It will take place at the historic Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.
* Broadcasting legend Murray Walker who made a huge contribution to growth in interest in Formula 1 in Britain has died. Several generations of fans grew up listening to his voice describing the exploits of the likes of Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jenson Button. To the wider public he was best known for his occasional gaffes and the “trousers on fire” commentary style so famously described by Clive James. His fame extended well beyond the UK, since his commentaries went also to Australia, New Zealand, Canada (and thence much of the USA) and South Africa. Walker was 97 years old.
Stay safe. Be Well.