Nutson’s Weekly Automotive News Recap May 29 – June 5, 2022
AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – Jun 5, 2022; Every Sunday, Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with the able assistance of Editor-in-Chief Thom Cannell of the Auto Channel Michigan office, compiles Auto Channel’s “take” on the automotive news from the past week, condensed into easy-to-digest Nuggets.
LEARN MORE: Full versions of today’s news nuggets, plus thousands of pages of relevant news and opinion, information stored in a million-page library published and indexed on The Auto Channel over the course of of the last 25 years. Full information can be found by copying a title in bold then inserting it into any site search field.
Nutson’s Automotive Weekly Automotive News Summary – Week Ending June 4, 2022 Below are the major, relevant, semi-secret or high-profile automotive news, opinions and insider stories from the past week, packaged as easy-to-understand nuggets of automotive news designed by experts.
* US DoE Factoid of the Week: The fuel economy of a light-duty vehicle traveling at 80 miles per hour (mph) is approximately 27% less than that of a vehicle traveling at 60 mph. Between 40 and 50 mph is the optimal cruising speed for the best fuel economy in cars and light trucks, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study of 74 different vehicles. The best fuel economy is usually achieved when the vehicle is driven at the lowest gear in the vehicle’s highest gear.
* According to a joint forecast by JD Power and LMC Automotive, new vehicle prices continue to set records, with the average transaction price expected to hit a record high of $44,832 in May, a 15.7% increase from to a year ago and the third highest level. record high despite rising interest rates. Average interest rates for new vehicle loans have increased. The average loan interest rate in May is expected to rise 62 basis points from a year ago to 4.92%. However, high used vehicle values continue to contribute to affordability for new vehicle buyers who have a vehicle to trade in. The average trade value for May is trending toward a record high of $9,922, a 59.4% increase from a year ago.
* New vehicle sales in May were not so good, even with the long Memorial Day weekend shopping opportunity. Sales of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru fell again. Overall, the industry was down 11% from April. With retail inventories still stuck below 1 million cars, the U.S. light-vehicle market lost more momentum in May, with the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate falling to 12.8 million according to Bloomberg News. Of note, Genesis sales were up 39% for the year.
* The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline topped $4.70 for the first time this week. California has the highest average price at $6.25 per gallon. Since last Thursday, AAA said these 10 states have seen the biggest increases in their averages: Indiana (+33 cents), Ohio (+31 cents), Illinois (+30 cents), Kentucky (+26 cents), Wisconsin (+26 cents). cents), Michigan (+24 cents), Colorado (+21 cents), New Mexico (+19 cents), Nebraska (+18 cents) and Minnesota (+18 cents).
* Michael Sivak of Sivak Applied Research noted the big differences between recent increases in the cost of fueling gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles. The cost of electricity was expected to rise recently much less than the cost of gasoline and diesel. The reason is that in the United States, oil is used to produce less than 1% of electricity. Thus, the recent surge in oil prices (due to the war in Ukraine), should have only a relatively small indirect effect on the cost of electricity. Calculations show that March prices (the last month for which electricity prices are available) rose sharply for gasoline (+27.4%) and diesel (+37.1%), while the price of electricity increased only modestly (+5.5%). See more details here: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2022/06/20220602-sivak.html
* The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford CEO Jim Farley said consumers should expect dramatic changes in the near term as companies compete in the shift to battery-powered vehicles. “We need to move to non-negotiated prices. We need to move to 100% online. There is no inventory (at dealerships), it goes direct to the customer. And 100% remote pickup and delivery “, he said in New York during the 38th annual conference on Bernstein strategic decisions broadcast live.
* Are you planning to visit San Francisco. Now you can go to dinner in a self-driving carpool. Cruise Automation, a majority-owned autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors, has received final approvals to operate a commercial robotaxi service in San Francisco, the company announced. The California Public Utilities Commission granted its permit to Cruise after the California DMV authorized the deployment of autonomous vehicles by Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo.
* DeLorean Motor Company, Inc. gave the public their first full look at the highly anticipated Alpha5, their all-new electric vehicle. Images are available on the company’s redesigned website, where early access subscribers were given the opportunity to view the vehicle a full day before the site went public globally. Gallery photos explore the coupe’s exterior and interior, revealing clean lines, classic louvers and signature DeLorean gullwing doors. Accompanying images and details highlight the car’s dimensions, two of its exterior paint colors, including an introductory edition debuting at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August, and specifications both expected. Estimated specs include a range of over 300 miles, a battery of over 100kWh and electronically limited top speeds of 155mph.
* General Motors said its Buick brand will become fully electric in North America by 2030. Buick showed off a sporty and stylish electric concept car (yes, a car), called the Wildcat. The concept revives a name from the muscle car era. Buick will also bring back the venerable “Electra” badge, reports Automotive News. China is Buick’s biggest market, accounting for about five times its sales in the United States. Almost all of these vehicles in both markets are still equipped with gasoline engines. Buick said its Chinese lineup won’t be fully electrified until after 2030.
* Jaguar Land Rover joins the celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s Jubilee, with 26 of its cars in the Platinum Jubilee competition, today, Sunday June 5. To further commemorate the Queen’s 70 years of dedicated service, Land Rover is donating a new Defender 130 to the British Red Cross to support its operations in the UK. Iconic vehicles from the two British brands will include two of Her Majesty’s beloved Land Rover Defenders and several historically significant Jaguar E-Types. A Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day is joined by Land Rovers from Skyfall and No Time To Die. A specially commissioned, bespoke 1965 Jaguar Series 1 Roadster E-Type will make its public debut at the parade.
* The Hagerty Drivers Foundation announced that the 31st and 32nd vehicles will be inducted into the National Register of Historic Vehicles, the only federally recognized program for documenting the historical and cultural significance of the automobile. To preserve America’s automotive heritage for future generations, the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, maintains the National Register of Historic Vehicles with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Historic American Engineering Record (HAER ). Selected vehicles are permanently listed in the Library of Congress. This year’s inductees are the 1952 Hudson Hornet (7B-185596) “Fabulous Hudson Hornet”, driven by Herb Thomas and Chrysler Corporation Turbine Car (Serial No. 9912-31).
* Memorial Day weekend brought us a three-headed motorsport spectacle. The Indy 500 is better than ever This edition saw former Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson win the 106th Indianapolis 500 under a yellow flag after Sage Karam crashed into Turn 2 on the final lap. Before the warning flag, Ericsson and Pato O’Ward battled for the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Incidentally, Scott Dixon set an Indy 500 qualifying speed record, averaging 234.046 mph over four laps. Denny Hamlin qualified on pole for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and won the longest race in NASCAR history, 619.5 miles with two overtimes. It was Hamlin’s second Cup Series victory this season and the 48th of his career. The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix was delayed by rain on the first lap and after a hard-fought afternoon, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez claimed his first victory of the season while becoming a legitimate title contender. Carlos Sainz finished 1.154 seconds behind Perez and Max Verstappen took the podium with third place. After seven races, Verstappen holds a nine-point lead over Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings and Perez is third, 15 points off the lead.
* From the Hagerty community, we learned this automotive trivia nugget. The 1939 Packard was the first production car to feature air conditioning. They built 300 cars with A/C, and Cadillac built 300 A/C cars in 1940. After World War II, A/C did not return until 1953 or 54 when Pontiac introduced the first integrated unit to the dashboard. Previous cars had the evaporator in the trunk. In 1955, Nash had “Weather-Eye”, the first combined heating and air conditioning unit, and the 1961 Corvair had the first factory-installed air conditioning in the compact car line.
Be careful. Be well.