AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – May 8, 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 current affairs. automotive from the past week, condensed into easy-to-digest news Nuggets.
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Nutson Automotive News Summary – Week Ending May 7, 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: In California, 12.5% of new light-duty vehicle registrations were plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in 2021. PEVs include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles ( BEV). The Districts of Columbia, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon are next, each having VPI registrations representing more than 7% of new registrations. Of all light vehicle registrations in California for 2021, including new and existing registrations, 2.5% were PEVs.
* We attended the Ninth Annual Green Drives Conference and Expo hosted by Chicago Area Clean Cities. The event promotes and supports cleaner energy for transportation and automotive fleets in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. It is one of more than 75 coalitions across the country affiliated with the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program. In 2023, the organization will expand across the state of Illinois, a recognition of the ever-growing interest and popularity in alternative fuel vehicles. From passenger cars to trucks, vans, school buses, large construction vehicles and more, alternative fuel is the way to go.
* In the New York Times, we read that high gas prices are not the only concern. Many Americans are being affected by rapidly rising electricity bills, compounding the financial cost of inflation to individuals and businesses. The national average residential electricity rate rose 8% in January from a year earlier, the biggest annual increase in more than a decade. The latest figures, from February, show an annual increase of almost 4%, reaching the highest level for this month and approaching summer rates, which are generally the most expensive. The immediate reason for the spike in electricity prices is that the war in Ukraine has driven up the already high cost of natural gas, which is burned to produce about 40% of US electricity. The concern is that rates will continue to rise in the years to come.
* A recent Carfax story indicates that according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks crimes reported to insurance companies, the number of reported catalytic converter thefts has risen from around 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021 , the most recent year for which data are available. This is an increase of approximately 1,215% compared to 2019. The reason? Costs of precious metals in catalytic converters have skyrocketed in recent years, making converters more attractive to thieves. You should read this to learn more: https://www.carfax.com/blog/catalytic-converter-theft
* US auto sales fell 17% in April; the SAAR slips to 14.7M. Sales of Toyota, Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Kia fell double digits again as chip issues persist. Sales are down for virtually every car brand except Genesis with its growing portfolio of new models. Ohm and Bentley are on the right track, the British brand announced that it had just had the best first quarter in its 103-year history thanks to an increase in revenue per car.
* SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, reports that the specialty equipment industry continues to see strong growth and demand as the United States puts COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) new “State of the Industry-Spring 2022” report, 75% of manufacturers, 68% of distributors and 53% of retailers/installers say sales are currently higher than what they were. before the pandemic, and consumer demand remains robust for most businesses. However, despite the industry’s strong growth, concerns remain over ongoing supply chain issues, inflation, economic uncertainty and the war in Ukraine. The SEMA report says 80% of Americans plan to take a road trip this summer. Pickup trucks, classics, track racing and sports car parts make up the top four spots for manufacturer and retailer sales in the SEMA report. Electric and hybrid car parts are at the bottom. On the retail side, classic auto parts lead with 26% of the market segment.
* Meanwhile, two of the biggest automaker exhibitors at SEMA, Ford and Honda, are dropping out of the show this year. And, Volkswagen will return to the show with an official presence.
* Reuters reports that Leaseplan, a company that manages 1.8 million vehicles worldwide, has carried out a new study on the extent to which US states are ready to support large fleets of electric vehicles, and concluded that none of them were. LeasePlan said it looked at the ratio of electric vehicles to public chargers, the availability of public chargers, the level of state incentives, current market shares of electric vehicles, and “climate adequacy,” meaning , how cold is it? On these measures, the best prepared states are Nevada, Mississippi and Hawaii, LeasePlan found. This may surprise California, the US state with by far the highest EV market share at 12.5%, according to data from the US Department of Energy.
* Supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine again took their toll. MINI is suspending the availability of manual transmissions on all its models. The word of the story first reported by Autocar is that it is only temporary and necessary to ensure maximum production. Manual transmissions are in less and less demand, although a MINI is the perfect car to have one. Our friends at the Detroit Bureau point out that in the third quarter of 2019, more electric vehicles were sold in the United States than vehicles with manual transmissions, according to JD Power.
* Seven Chevrolet Camaros were stolen from a General Motors plant in Lansing, Michigan and after a high-speed chase, nine suspects were apprehended. Five of the Camaros were on the I-96 freeway that connects to high-speed Detroit, traffic stops were attempted, but all five vehicles did not stop and multiple chases ensued. Some of the stolen Camaros crashed after police used stop sticks and no injuries were reported.
* Formula 1 returns to Florida after a 63-year absence. In 1959, the race was held at Sebring on a track at a former military airfield that featured several hairpin turns. This year, the races will be held at the Miami International Autodrome, located at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. It is a 5.41 km (3.36 mile) long street circuit with three straight sections and 19 corners but with various gradients, notably between turns 13 and 16.
* Automotive News reports that Volkswagen Group’s premium brands Audi and Porsche have decided to join Formula 1, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said. Audi is ready to offer around 500 million euros ($556.30 million) to British luxury sports car maker McLaren as a way to enter, a source told Reuters in March, while Porsche has the intention to establish a long-term partnership with the Red Bull racing team from several years of time. Diess, speaking on YouTube, said Porsche’s preparations were a little more concrete. Last month, the VW Group said its supervisory board had backed plans for the brands to potentially join F1 as soon as 2026. Porsche and Audi will provide further information on details at a later date, a spokesperson said. word of VW.
* New NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees were named this week. Drivers Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, and Hershel McGriff and team manager Kirk Shelmerdine were selected for the 2023 class. Mike Helton was named the winner of the Landmark Award for outstanding contribution to the sport. The group will be inducted on January 20, 2023.
* The 2022 Tire Rack One Lap of America presented by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine took place this week. This was the 37th edition of One Lap with 86 teams competing in the week-long event that began at Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend, Indiana. The route took the teams through Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas and back to Indiana. The One Lap began in May 1971 with the original Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash hosted by Brock Yates. with its start at Red Ball Garage in New York City and ending at the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California.
Stay safe. Be well.