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Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up January 8-14, 2023

Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up January 8-14, 2023


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Nutson’s Auto News Weekly-Wrap-up January 8-14 2023

Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel 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: Complete 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 headline and inserting it into any Site Search Box.

Here are Larry’s picks among 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.

* Kelley Blue Book released its December new vehicle average transaction price (ATP) report with record-breaking data, as prices are up 4.9{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} overall from 2021. The average price paid for a new vehicle in December was $49,507—a record high and up nearly $1K from November. Truck sales were particularly strong last month, more than 270,000 sold for the first time since the spring of 2021, and the average price paid for a new truck was more than $59,000. And, on the decrease are EV prices which went down more than $3,500 month over month with Tesla slashing prices and commanding more than 65{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the electric vehicle segment.

* The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act brought about changes in the electric vehicle tax credit. If an individual bought and placed in service a new qualified plug-in electric vehicle (EV) or fuel cell vehicle (FCV) on January 1, 2023 or later and meet certain income limitations, they may be eligible for a clean vehicle tax credit up to $7,500 under Internal Revenue Code Section 30D. A new price limitation prescribes that the vehicle not exceed a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $80,000 for vans, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks and $55,000 for other vehicles. Of interest is the classifiction of some vehicles by the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service. For example they did not classify the Cadillac Lyriq as an SUV, meaning its retail price cannot be above $55,000 to qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. Similarly the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mach-E and Escape PHEV, Lincoln Corsair, select VW ID.4 models and the Tesla model Y with 5-seats cannot excedd the $55,000 limit. The IRS is following the 40 CFR 600.002 criteria that legally defines vehicle types. Recenlty, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she thinks there is a sense of understanding from industry and consumer groups ‘about what the credits will entail and what will be eligible.’ PS: Not all so-called SUVs are in reality an SUV.

* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office estimates the cost of an electric vehicle lithium-ion battery pack declined 89{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} between 2008 and 2022 (using 2022 constant dollars). The 2022 estimate is $153/kWh on a usable-energy basis for production at scale of at least 100,000 units per year. That compares to $1,355/kWh in 2008. The decline in cost is due to improvements in battery technologies and chemistries, and an increase in manufacturing volume.

* According to NHTSA the number of traffic deaths on U.S. roadways fell slightly during the first nine months of 2022, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths continued to rise. NHTSA estimates that 31,785 people were killed in crashes from January through September last year, down 0.2{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} from the same period of 2021. The number of cyclists killed in crashes rose 8{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} compared with a year earlier, while motorcyclist deaths rose 5{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} and pedestrian deaths were up 2{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809}. NHTSA said that Americans are driving more than during the height of the pandemic, with preliminary Federal Highway Administration data showing a 1.6{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} increase in vehicle miles traveled in the first nine months of last year.

* Inrix published the 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard that identified and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 1,000 cities, across 50 countries. Chicago (155 hours), Boston (134 hours), and New York (117 hours) lost the most time to traffic congestion in the U.S. and were all in the top five for most congested cities in the world, alongside London (156 hours) and Paris (138 hours). The typical American driver lost 51 hours in congestion, up 15 hours from 2021 but still nearly 50{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} below pre-pandemic levels.

* The head of the National Transportation Safety Board expressed concern about the safety risks that heavy electric vehicles, such as the 9,000-pound GMC Hummer EV, pose if they collide with lighter vehicles. “I’m concerned about the increased risk of severe injury and death for all road users from heavier curb weights and increasing size, power, and performance of vehicles on our roads, including electric vehicles,” Jennifer Homendy said in remarks prepared for the group. Also of concern is electric vehicles have very high horsepower ratings, allowing them to accelerate quickly even in crowded urban areas. “People are not trained to handle that type of acceleration,” said Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

* The Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Developed by the departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Blueprint is a landmark strategy for cutting all greenhouse emissions from the transportation sector by 2050. It exemplifies the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s goals of securing a 100{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} clean electrical grid by 2035 and reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

* According to research from S&P Global Mobility, the US will need more than 2.3 million chargers for electric vehicles by 2030 to service the projected 28 million EVs on the road by then. “Developments in battery technology, and how quickly EVs can receive power, will be as critical to improvements here as how quickly and plentifully infrastructure can provide the power,” said Graham Evans, research and analysis director for S&P Global Mobility.

* More than 90{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of vehicle-owning households in the United States would see a reduction in the percentage of income spent on transportation energy—the gasoline or electricity that powers their cars, SUVs and pickups—if they switched to electric vehicles. And more than 90{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of households that replace gas-powered vehicles with EVs would also reduce the amount of climate-warming greenhouse gases they generate, according to a new University of Michigan study. However, more than half of the lowest-income U.S. households (an estimated 8.3 million households) would continue to experience high transportation energy burdens, defined in this study as spending more than 4{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of household income on filling the tank or charging up. Hat tip to our friends at The Detroit Bureau.

* Rolls-Royce has achieved its highest-ever annual sales in 2022, delivering a total of 6,021 motor cars, up 8{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} on 2021, to clients in around 50 countries worldwide. This is the first time in the company’s 118-year history that its sales have exceeded 6,000 in a single 12‑month period. The USA was once again the marque’s largest overall market as a new generation of younger American entrepreneurs, wealth generators and job creators were drawn to Rolls-Royce for the first time, according to Rolls-Royce.

* Check back next week: Chevrolet plans to introduce the Corvette E-Ray on Jan. 17. The E-Ray, a gasoline-electric version of the eighth-generation sports car, also adds all-wheel drive for the first time.

* The 2023 NACTOY winners were announced. The Acura Integra is the 2023 North American Car of the Year. The Kia EV6 is the 2023 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is the 2023 North American Truck of the Year. Congratulations to the winners. PS – The Detroit Free Press choices we mentioned last week were right on.

* Hertz believes in the saying “Let the good times roll.” Whether you’re planning a night out on the town for a big birthday; looking to arrive in style for your bachelorette party; or celebrating a milestone anniversary, you can celebrate your next exciting moment with a rental vehicle from Hertz complete with a custom-wrapped exterior. Hertz offers 19 different designs to choose from.

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* Reuters reports Federal vehicle safety regulators said they want Tesla officials to explain a tweet by Elon Musk suggesting he could order a software update that turns off the system that nags drivers to keep hands on the wheel while a Tesla driver operates the vehicle on Autopilot. Acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Ann Carlson said Monday that the agency is working “really fast” on its investigation of Tesla and Autopilot safety.

* A fire broke out at Guangzhou, China auto show on the eve before it opened. The fire, in IAT Automobile Technology Co. booth, was caused by an accident involving an external power switch, according to a company statement. The show opened with no delay and is currently running.

* Kevin Harvick announced that the 2023 NASCAR season will be his final season in the Cup Series. Harvick, 47, is in the last year of his contract with Stewart-Haas Racing and had previously said that an announcement would be made regarding his future before the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 19. Harvick was thrust into the Cup Series in 2001 after the death of Dale Earnhardt. He took over Earnhardt’s renumbered No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing the week after Earnhardt died in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick then went on to be one of the most successful drivers of the 2000s. Overall, Harvick has scored 60 wins in 790 Cup Series starts and is a surefire NASCAR Hall of Famer on the first ballot

Stay safe. Be Well.