Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up March -March 6-12, 2022



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – March 13, 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 February 26, 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.

* According to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, the combination of vehicle owners needing service more often due to accumulating mileage at pre-pandemic levels along with the disruption of the auto parts supply chain and significant staffing shortages is causing auto dealership service departments to navigate unique capacity challenges. Lexus ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among premium brands with a score of 897. Cadillac (880) ranks second, followed by Porsche (879), Acura (871) and BMW (866). MINI ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among mass market brands for a second consecutive year, with a score of 873. Buick (872) ranks second, followed by Mazda (856), Mitsubishi (854) and GMC (853).

* Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, announced the 2022 Brand Image Award winners, based on annual new-car consumer perception data. Award categories are calculated among luxury, non-luxury and truck shoppers. Honda wins Best Overall Brand among non-luxury brands for the sixth time in the past nine years. Tesla wins Best Overall Brand Luxury Brand for the third year running. Toyota wins Best Overall Truck Brand for the fourth year in a row. Read about all the brands here:

* New-vehicle average transaction prices (ATPs) decreased to $46,085 in February 2022 after reaching a record high in December 2021, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book. Prices fell 0.5% ($253) month over month due to fewer luxury vehicles being sold in February, but prices remain elevated compared to one year ago, up 11.4% ($4,719) from February 2021. Notably, the average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle in February was $42,467, down $227 from January and marking the fourth consecutive monthly decrease.

* The average price of gasoline in the U.S. hit a record $4.17 per gallon this week as the country banned Russian oil imports after its invasion of Ukraine. The national average rose by 10 cents per gallon in one day, and it’s up 55 cents since last week, according to AAA data. The previous high was set 13 years ago when the national average price hit $4.10 per gallon. The U.S. imports about 100,000 barrels a day from Russia, only about 5% of Russia’s crude oil exports, according to Rystad Energy. Last year, roughly 8% of U.S. imports of oil and petroleum products came from Russia. High oil prices could send an average gallon of U.S. gasoline past $5 a gallon.

* EPA is proposing tougher emissions rules to make heavy-duty trucks cleaner. The potential regulations aim to decrease nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 60 percent by 2045 and make engines and emissions systems in heavy-duty semi trucks last longer. Truck makers are also pursuing electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks. However, the heavy-duty-truck industry will continue to predominantly rely on internal combustion (diesels) for the foreseeable future.

* The U.S. EPA has reinstated California’s authority to set vehicle emissions rules and zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandates. The EPA is withdrawing its portion of the interpretation of the Clean Air Act that would prohibit other states from adopting California’s greenhouse gas emission standards. This is a reversal of the decision made under the Trump administration. EPA found the actions under the previous administration as a part of SAFE-1 were taken in error and rescinded them.

* London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that he’s calling on the city’s transport authority to expand the experimental Ultra Low Emission Zone citywide in 2023. Such a change would remove up to 40,000 of the most polluting cars from London’s roads each day, according to the announcement. It also cited a report last month saying London must cut car traffic by at least 27% by the end of the decade to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

* In 2021, Santa Monica launched the United States’ “first of its kind” voluntary zero-emissions delivery zone, a one-square-mile zone where delivery companies are encouraged to use electric or low-emission vehicles. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, which helped create the zone, also recently received a federal grant to explore zero-emission delivery and electric vehicle use by commercial fleets in LA and efforts to bring commercial curb management to encourage low-emission trucks and explore clean trucks in other cities.

* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research reported on the percentages of persons with a driver’s license by age in the 2019 and 2020 time periods. Licensing of younger persons—those between 16 and 29 years of age—decreased in 2020 (the first year of the pandemic) compared with 2019. For example, while in 2019, 70.9% of 19-year-olds had a license, that percentage in 2020 dropped to 67.7%. Furthermore, for each age in this group, the licensing percentage in 2020 was the lowest of the 4 years examined. On the other end of the age spectrum, the trend was in the other direction. Licensing of older persons—those 60 and older—increased. The most pronounced change was for those 70 and older, with the percentage increasing from 81.8% in 2019 to 84.6% in 2020. Furthermore, for those 65 and above, the licensing percentage in 2020 was the highest of the 4 years examined. See all the data here:

* Volkswagen pulled the cover off the 2023 VW ID.Buzz, the battery powered reincarnation of the Microbus. It was 72 years ago this week that the 1950 Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter entered production First versions will come to European market with 82 kWh battery powering 201-hp electric motor with maximum torque of 229 lb-ft. European models go on sale this year, with a long-wheelbase passenger model to debut for the North American market in 2023 and go on sale in 2024.

* Select Dodge dealerships across the country, numbering close to 100, have opened the doors on a new business catering specifically to performance enthusiasts. Known as the Dodge Power Brokers, these dealerships are the exclusive home to new factory-backed performance parts developed under Dodge’s Direct Connection program announced last November. The program includes Dodge parts for the driveline, powertrain (including crate engines) and suspension, including various stages from mild to wild.

* BMW is recalling more than 917,000 cars and utility vehicles in the United States to fix a problem with the heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV) that may short-circuit and may cause an engine compartment fire. According to NHTSA, the recall covers vehicles built between 2006 and 2013, including some 1 Series, 3 Series, X3, 5 Series, X5 and Z4 models. This supersedes and expands the previous recalls in 2017 and 2019 which covered 740,000 and 184,000 U.S. vehicles, respectively.

* Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Rally Jameel will be held from March 17th to 19th and has attracted 33 two-person teams from around the globe, including seven female competitors from the United States. This historic, women-only navigational rally is taking place during International Women’s History Month and will take teams through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, as they compete over three days on a variety of off-road tracks. Rally Jameel competitors will be motoring in an assortment of AWD and 4WD vehicles that are considered “normal” vehicles, including Toyota, Lexus, Porsche, Jeep, Ford and other marques, rather than “specially-equipped” off-road models. Rally Jameel has received the backing of the organizers of the Rebelle Rally, the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States.

* From Hagerty media we read: The Detroit Autorama returned this year, following a pandemic-related hiatus that canceled the 2021 event. While show organizers haven’t yet released official attendance figures, the sense on the ground was that car lovers returned in droves. Lest you think that the Detroit Autorama is a showcase reserved for hot rods or wild customs based on vintage American cars, you may surprised to learn that Autorama’s 800-or-so roster boasts a startlingly diverse range of enthusiast automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles. Detroit Autorama is the place to see the competitors for the show’s Ridler Award, named after Don Ridler, one of the show founders more than 60 years ago. The Ridler is arguably the custom world’s most prestigious award. The winners of the 2022 Ridler Award are Rick and Patty Bird of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, for their radically customized 1931 Chevrolet Independence coupe: the “Sho Bird.”

* A 1934 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe with engine code J-531 and a 2017 Cadillac DPi-V.R were crowned this year’s Best in Show winners at The Amelia Concours d’Elegance — its 27th annual event. The Best in Show Concours d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to a Duesenberg J-531 displayed by Harry Yeaggy of Cincinnati, Ohio. A Cadillac DPi displayed by the Jackson Collection, of Ellicott City, Maryland took home the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy. This was the inaugural year for The Amelia under the stewardship of Hagerty Inc.

* The Gatornationals have had a history of record-breaking performances with one of the fastest tracks on the NHRA circuit. Cooler weather provided some extra excitement for the 22 Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) entries vying for the 16 spots on the eliminations ladder as the top half of the ladder posted runs that were quicker and faster than the previous national records of 7.718 seconds and 183.10 mph. Among the seven Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Paks making their first qualifying runs of the season was Mark Pawuk who powered his 2021 Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak to an impressive and record setting 7.608-second elapsed time run at 183.15 mph to earn his third career No. 1 qualifier position and reset both ends of the nationals record.

Stay safe. Be Well.