AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO July 11, 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 July 10, 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.
* President Biden is being encouraged to get tough on carmakers to slow climate change. Biden, who plans to announce a proposal this month, can adopt changes through the executive branch’s administrative rule-making power. He can instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to write rules that phase out sales of gas-burning vehicles by 2030.
* Gasoline prices are the highest they have been in seven years. The national average is up over 3 cents since last week, and the national average stands at $3.12 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. Through August, motorists could see the national average rise another 10 to 20 cents, according to AAA, putting the national average over $3.25 per gallon this summer.
* Stellantis N.V. presented a comprehensive electrification strategy for the company’s 14 iconic brands. Plans are to invest more than €30 billion through 2025 in electrification and software. The target is for over 70% of sales in Europe and over 40% in the United States to be low-emission vehicles (LEV) by 2030. The plan to deliver battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) that meet demands of customers, with ranges of 300-500 miles (500-800 km) and class-leading fast charging capability of 20 miles (32 km) per minute. Get ready for an all-electric Ram pickup and the world’s first electric muscle car from Dodge.
* Toyota will stop making campaign donations to Republican Representatives and Senators, who voted on Jan. 6 against certification of the electoral votes from key states in the 2020 Presidential election. Toyota was included by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington or CREW in a report that listed corporations and industry PACs that contributed the most money to the 139 Republican representatives and 8 Republican senators who voted against certification.
* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a new “recall dashboard” designed to make it easier to search for auto safety recall information. NHTSA says the dashboard included more than 50 years of recall data and offers “user-friendly and transparent ways to sort, filter, visualize and export recall data.” The new dashboard is in addition to NHTSA’s VIN Look-Up Tool showing open recalls and its SaferCar app.
* The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E earned Car and Driver’s first Electric Vehicle of the Year Award. Car and Driver magazine named the Mustang Mach-E as better than 10 competitors in a head-to-head review of all-electric vehicles to win a debut “Best EV of the Year” award.
* Rimac, the Croatian electric hypercar start-up, will take control of Volkswagen’s Bugatti brand in a deal that cements its position as an established automotive force. Rimac, which is backed by Porsche and Hyundai, will own 55 per cent of the new company, while VW’s Porsche brand will own the rest. The new company will be called Bugatti Rimac and be led by Mate Rimac.
* Tesla again! The owner of a new Tesla Model S Plaid was driving through Haverford, Pennsylvania when his vehicle “spontaneously combusted,” according to reports. The driver was briefly trapped inside however finally escaped before the car even came to a complete stop. NHTSA has launched 30 separate investigations involving Tesla products. The majority of those involve the semi-autonomous Autopilot technology linked to a number of crashes and some fatalities.
* If you see a Ford pickup coming up fast behind you it just may be the all-new 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder which has the best acceleration of any pursuit-rated police vehicle tested. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department test data, as well as preliminary test results from Michigan State Police, show the 2021 F-150 Police Responder, America’s only pursuit-rated pickup truck, had the fastest 0-60 mph, 0-100 mph and quarter-mile times of any law enforcement vehicle, including SUVs and sedans.
* Lotus unveiled its Emira, new mid-engine, ‘every day’ sports car. Buyers will have a choice of two engines and three transmissions, with a starting price around $82,800. The Emira will be offered with either a new-to-Lotus turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder from AMG or the supercharged Toyota V6 used in the Exige and Evora. Manual, automatic and dual-clutch transmissions will be offered “to maximize global appeal.”
* The European Union handed down $1 billion in fines to four major German car manufacturers, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission-control systems. Daimler, BMW, VW, Audi and Porsche avoided competing on technology to restrict pollution from gasoline and diesel passenger cars, the EU’s executive commission said. Daimler wasn’t fined after it revealed the cartel to the European Commission. It was the first time the European Commission imposed collusion fines on holding back the use of technical developments, not a more traditional practice like price fixing. This story thanks to the Detroit News.
* Mazda is recalling nearly 261,000 older small cars because a plastic emblem on the steering wheel can shatter if the air bags are inflated, causing injuries. The recall covers certain Mazda 3 cars from the 2004 through 2007 model years.
* GM is recalling more than 400,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. because the side air bags can explode without warning and spew parts into the cabin. The recall covers certain 2015 and 2016 Chevrolet and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks.
* Maserati’s MC20 super sports car made its UK dynamic debut at Goodwood’s 27th Festival of Speed, taking on the famous hill climb in the Supercar Run. Over the four-day motoring event, taking place at Goodwood in West Sussex from July 8 – 11, Maserati MC20 has been put to the test on the 1.16 mile course. The MC20 is the Trident brand’s first mid-engine two-seater super sports car boasting a top speed of over 202 miles per hour, and is the first Maserati with a carbon fiber monocoque, meaning the whole car weighs in at a feather-light 1500kg / 3306 pounds.
* The last time NASCAR top guns raced at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin was 65 years ago in 1956. A new July 4th tradition may have just been born. Defending Cup Series champion Chase Elliott won the 62-lap 2021 Jockey Made in America 250. Elliott may just be NASCAR’s best road racer and he certainly showed his ability negotiating the 4-mile road course. Only two road course races were on the NASCAR schedule for the longest time. A third was added for 2018 to 2020. This year there are seven races on road courses.
Stay safe. Be Well.