AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO July 4, 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 July 3, 2021, 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.
* More than 47.7 million Americans are predicted to take to the nation’s roads and skies this Fourth of July, according to AAA. The report reveals that this is expected to be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, which would be a 40% jump in travel compared to 2020.
* Vehicle sales in June were forecasted by Cox Automotive to fall to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16.4 million, up from last year’s 13.0 million but down from May’s 17.0 million pace. The sales frenzy that fueled the market through the spring has clearly passed. Sales volume in June is predicted to show a 24% gain over last year, but volume is expected to decline nearly 200,000 units from May especially due to limited inventory at dealers. The average new vehicle sold eclipsed $40,000 for the first time in June, according to an estimate from J.D. Power.
* Volkswagen brand plans to stop selling combustion engines cars in Europe by 2035 as it shifts to full-electric vehicles, but later in the U.S. and China. Africa and South America will take even longer due to infrastructure and political climate. VW brand’s “Accelerate” strategy unveiled in March includes plans for 70 percent of the brand’s European sales to be all-electric vehicles by 2030.
* Joe White for Reuters reports Canada’s government said it plans to ban sales of new combustion engine vehicles from 2035, taking a step the United States so far has not. In the U.S., President Biden has so far heeded warnings from the United Auto Workers and manufacturers that setting a firm date for a transition to EVs-only could put jobs at risk.
* The new Corvette Z06 was set to arrive in the second half of the 2022 model year. GM Authority reports, due to delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the C8 Corvette Z06 has now been pushed back to the 2023 model year. It might be worth the wait with its 600-HP 5.5L V8 LT6 gasoline engine featuring a 32-valve DOHC design and flat-plane crank.
* The IIHS reports that curves in the road are posing a challenge to advanced driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control (ACC) and more sophisticated partial automation systems, limiting their potential safety benefits, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found. ACC and more advanced partial automation that combines ACC with lane centering are often disabled on some of the sharper curves present on limited-access roadways, either because drivers switch the features off or they deactivate automatically.
* Torrential rains in Michigan led to a flooded shipping yard near the Stellantis NA Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Vehicles of all kinds are temporarily stored in the area, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Dodge Durango, Pacifica minivans, Chargers, Challengers and trucks, Stellantis said. The shipping yard is a waiting point prior to being picked up to go on trains. In a follow-up report it was said about 25 vehicles were damaged and would most likely be scrapped.
* Los Angeles residents can no longer claim they have the worst traffic in the country, according to a study on traffic trends in 2020. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute study had ranked the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim region as the area with the country’s worst traffic since 1982. But the institute’s 2021 Urban Mobility Report showed the New York-Newark region now has the worst traffic in the nation. The rankings are based on the total amount of hours drivers were delayed. The Covid pandemic, flexible work hours and work-from-home led to an overall drop in traffic in 2020. But, don’t hold your breath. Traffic volume is on the rise.
* NHTSA has ordered automakers to report any crashes involving autonomous vehicles (AV) or partially automated driver assist systems (ADAS). The move indicates that the NHTSa is (finally) taking a tougher stance on AV safety. Since June 2015 the agency has investigated 31 such crashes. Of these crashes 25 involved Tesla’s Autopilot system. Crashes involving Lexus, Volvo and Cadillac have also been investigated.
* General Motors is recalling more than 380,000 older SUVs in the U.S., many for a second time, to fix a suspension problem that can cause them to sway at highway speeds. GM decided on the recall after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last year. The recall covers 2010 through 2016 Cadillac SRX and 2011 and 2012 Saab 9-4X SUVs. GM once owned Saab and manufactured its vehicles. Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for this new
* We celebrated National Corvette Day and the 68th birthday of the Corvette this week. On June 30th, 1953 the first-ever Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. The price: $3,250.
* The 2022 Concours of America will be held at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It will also move to September, but further details and show dates will be announced later. The show this year will still be at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan — where it’s been since 2010 —on July 23-25.
* In an unprecedented victory sisters Olivia (age 20) and Genna (age 18) Gentry of Newnan, Georgia have won the 2021 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty Drivers Club! The Great Race, a 9-day, 2,300-mile cross-country competition for vintage vehicles, wound its way from San Antonio, Texas up through the middle of the U.S. and east through Kentucky, into the Virginias and the Carolinas ending in Greenville, SC. The two sisters are the youngest winners of the time-distance rally. They have grown up around vintage car rallying and they wheeled their 1932 Ford five-window coupe with Flathead V8 power to a spectacular win! The prize: $50,000.
* The 99th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is complete. The course was shortened due to adverse course conditions from Devil’s Playground to the Summit. With ice and snow coating the surface, and temperatures near freezing, the decision was made early in the day to shorten the course. All competitors had the opportunity to run on the same course – Start Line to 16 Mile. Vehicle times to run the shortened course ranged from 5:55 minutes to 9:22 minutes.
* Shelby Mustang Nitro funny car driver Bob Tasca III got behind the wheel of the all-electric Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 at NHRA Nationals and set a new world record. Tasca ran the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 down the quarter mile in 8.12 seconds at 171.97 mph, besting the 8.27 seconds at 168 mph recorded in September of last year.
* Have a safe and happy Independence Day holiday.