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Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up July 10



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AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – July 17, 2022; 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.

Nutson’s Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up – Week Ending July 16, 2022 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-understand automotive universe news nuggets.

* Gas prices fell this week to a national average of $4.67, 12 cents lower than last week’s average, according to new data from AAA. The national average is 32 cents less than a month ago, but $1.53 more than last year, AAA reported. Just last month, gas prices reached an all-time high, surpassing $5 per gallon and hitting the highest point since AAA began tracking prices in 2000.This recent decrease came despite a surge in demand for gas after the July 4th holiday, according to AAA.

* Michael Sivak Sivak Applied Research examined the differences between the prices of gasoline in blue and red states. Blue states were defined as those states where in 2020 Joe Biden won all or a majority of electoral votes (26 states); red states are those where Biden won no or a minority of electoral votes (25 states). The average prices of regular gasoline on July 14, 2022 came from AAA. The average of state averages in blue states was $4.81 per gallon, while in red states it was $4.50. There was only 1 blue state in which the average price was below $4.35 (GA), compared with 11 red states (AL, AR, FL, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, SC, TN, and TX). Conversely, there were only 3 red states in which the average price was above $5.00 (AK, ID, and UT), compared with 6 blue states (CA, HI, IL, NV, OR, and WA).

* The average price paid for a new vehicle in the U.S. in June was the highest on record and marked the first time the average transaction price (ATP) surpassed the $48,000 mark, according to new data released by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. The new-vehicle ATP increased to $48,043 in June 2022, according to KBB, beating the previous high of $47,202 set in December 2021. June prices rose 1.9% ($895) from May and were up 12.7% ($5,410) from June 2021. The average price paid for a new non-luxury vehicle last month was $43,942, up $615 from May, the highest price for a non-luxury vehicle on record. The average luxury buyer paid $66,476 for a new vehicle, up $1097 month over month, the highest price for a luxury vehicle ever.

* Tesla Inc.’s new assembly plant in Gruenheide, Germany, is building the Model Y only in black or white, according to a report from Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche. Customers who choose red, blue, or silver vehicles will be supplied from the automaker’s Shanghai factory and will not receive their vehicle until March 2023 at the earliest. If they opt for black or white, they can expect their cars in October. Facing a global shortage of semiconductor chips and other supply-chain disruptions, other automakers in Europe are offering pared-down options for cars so customers can get their new cars quickly. Renault is offering “fast track” delivery for its Arkana crossover to customers who choose black, pearl-white or gray.

* New-vehicle sales in the second quarter struggled, up only modestly from the first quarter and down more than 20% from Q2 2021. But, Cox Automotive reports sales of battery-powered electric vehicles – pure EVs – jumped to 196,788, a record high and a 13% increase from Q1. Sales of electrified vehicles – combined EVs, hybrids, and fuel-cell-powered vehicles – jumped to 442,740 in Q2, an increase of 12.9% from year-ago levels. Electrified vehicles account for 12.6% of the U.S. market last quarter. In Q2, EV sales accounted for 5.6% of the total market, an increase from 5.3% in Q1 and a record high. EV share in Q2 2021 was 2.7%.

* Electric vehicle chargers are coming to highway truck-stop gasoline stations. GM and Pilot Company (Pilot and Flying J) are collaborating on a national DC fast charging network that will be installed, operated and maintained by EVgo. This network of 2,000 charging stalls, co-branded “Pilot Flying J” and “Ultium Charge 360”, will be powered by EVgo eXtend and open to all EV brands at up to 500 Pilot and Flying J travel centers. Many of these sites will feature canopies to help protect customers from the elements while charging, as well as pull-through capability allowing convenient charging for electric pickup trucks and SUVs pulling trailers.

* There is an alarming increase in people being struck and killed while walking. The number of people struck and killed while walking reached yet another new high in 2020. More than 6,500 people were struck and killed while walking in 2020, an average of nearly 18 per day, and a 4.5 percent increase over 2019. This epidemic continues growing worse because our nation’s streets are dangerous by design, designed primarily to move cars quickly at the expense of keeping everyone safe. The result in 2020 was a significant increase in all traffic fatalities, even with less driving overall due to the pandemic. See the report here: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/dangerous-by-design/

* Various members of the automotive media were all abuzz over a story that BMW was going to charge a subscription fee for features such as heated seats to be activated in a vehicle. This led BMW of North America to issue a clarifying press release saying that’s not the case. BMW Functions on Demand on the other hand is designed to offer premium features through software upload that use data and sensors from factory option hardware already built into BMW vehicles. As an example, some BMW models equipped with certain specific options from the factory can currently add the first two Functions on Demand features available in the US – namely a dash cam function called BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Remote Engine Start function—through a software download in a customer’s vehicle.

* Yay, a new sedan is coming to market–and not another utility vehicle. Toyota pulled the sheet off the 2023 Toyota Crown. The Crown is a 4-door sedan with coupe-like styling, a traditional trunk opening and slightly lifted ride height. It will be have a hybrid powertrain and come with all-wheel drive as standard. The Crown is a premium sedan that will replace the Avalon.

* Bloomberg reports Chinese drivers are souping up their electric scooters, helping to grow one of the most successful corners of battery-powered transportation. Electric two-wheelers sold by companies like Niu Technologies have proved to be incredibly well-received in China’s megacities by delivery drivers and commuters who need to bypass traffic and travel short distances in little time. Their popularity has endured despite a 2019 move by the government to force manufacturers to cap speeds at 25 kilometers per hour (16 mph). Drivers and sellers have fought back by hacking software and taking online tutorials that allow them to bypass the controls, enabling some advanced models to hit speeds of 50 kph (31mph or more.)

* The Jeep brand is being recognized for the 20th consecutive year as America’s Most Patriotic Brand in the annual Brand Keys Inc. 50 Most Patriotic Brands survey. “Since 1941” is a badge of honor proudly displayed on all Jeep brand vehicles, recognizing the Jeep brand’s long-standing military heritage for over 80 years. Consumers surveyed based results on brands that best embody the value of patriotism in 2022.

* Nissan is recalling certain 2020-2022 Frontier and Titan vehicles. The transmission parking pawl may not engage when the vehicle is shifted into park, which can result in a vehicle rollaway. 180,176 units are affected.

* Autoweek reports former NASCAR driver and three-time USAC National Champion racer Bobby East died following a stabbing attack at a gas station in Westminster, Calif., on July 13. East was 37. East is credited with 56 career USAC feature race wins, including 48 in national divisions. He won the USAC Silver Crown Series championship in 2012 and 2013 with Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing. In 2012, East became just the ninth driver in USAC history to win on dirt and pavement tracks in the three top categories: Silver Crown, National Sprint Car and National Midget. He made 31 career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and 11 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series between 2005 and 2008. His best NASCAR finishes were eighth-place finishes in the Truck Series for team owner Jack Roush at Texas and Memphis in 2008. He raced for the famed Wood Brothers Racing team in the Truck Series in 2006.

Stay safe. Be Well.