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Nutson’s Wekly Auto News Wrap-up February 20-26, 2022



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AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – February 27, 2022; 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 news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Full 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 bold headline and then inserting into any Site Search Box.

Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending February 26, 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.

* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a listing of “off-cycle” vehicle technologies that reduce emissions but are not sufficiently accounted for in city and highway test cycles. These technologies include active aerodynamics, thermal control technologies, active warm up, engine idle stop-start, high efficiency lighting and alternators. Manufacturers can gain credit toward meeting their emissions requirements by adopting these technologies and several saw widespread adoption by vehicle manufacturers for the 2020 model year. The use of thermal glass or glazing to reduce transmission of heat from the sun reached a production share of 89%, followed by high efficiency lighting at 85% and passive cabin venting at 78%. The oft not-loved Engine Idle Stop-Start system had a production share of 50%.

* For the eighth consecutive week, the nation’s average gas price has climbed, rising 3.2 cents from a week ago and stands at $3.52 per gallon according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average is up 20.7 cents from a month ago and 88.9 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 5.7 cents in the last week and stands at $3.93 per gallon, the highest since May 20, 2014. Oil prices have seen a see-saw between two different situations. Oil is rising due to the Russian incursion, and falling on the potential Iran nuclear deal unleashing Iran’s crude oil.

* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is recognizing 65 models with the 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, as improved headlight offerings boost more vehicles into the top tier. Another 36 models earn the lower-tier TOP SAFETY PICK award for a total of 101 winners overall. This time last year, there were 90 winners, including 49 earning TOP SAFETY PICK+. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, has the most 2022 awards overall and the most awards in each category — 11 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 10 TOP SAFETY PICK awards for a total of 21. Volkswagen Group, which includes the Volkswagen and Audi brands, is not far behind with eight TOP SAFETY PICK+ and three TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Volvo earns 10 TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards. See the full report here.

* Automotive consulting firm AutoPacific just issued its forecast of fully electric light vehicle sales in the U.S. of around 700,000 units in 2022 with strong annual increases throughout the 6-year forecast period. The forecast comes as consumer demand for EVs is also at its highest yet, having spiked significantly in the past two years.

* DeLorean will return as an electric vehicle, according to various reports including a recent story in the San Antonio Business Journal, which says DeLorean Motor Co., now known as DeLorean Motors Reimagined, plans to hire 450 people for its new home in Port San Antonio. DeLorean teased its return to the automotive market with a 30-second advertisement that aired in selected markets as part of Super Bowl LVI pre-game coverage.

* Volkswagen has launched the countdown for the electric ID. Buzz! The World premiere of the zero-tailpipe-emission ID. Buzz is scheduled for March 9th. Two versions to be sold in Europe. The new electric Bus debuts this year as ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo. Production of the ID. Buzz starts in the first half of this year, and the European launch follows just a short time later in the Fall. The ID. Buzz is also set to be sold as a long-wheelbase model in the U.S. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz will make its first-ever U.S. public appearance at SXSW from March 11-20, 2022.

* Raptor everything! The 2023 Ford Ranger Raptor made its debut and it’s coming to the U.S. with a 392-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-liter engine paired up with a 10-speed automatic. So get ready to fly across the Mojave Desert. It’ll arrive next year.

* The cargo ship carrying a load of VW Group vehicles continued to burn all week with less intensity. By week’s end fire crews were able to board the vessel to douse hot spots. The cause of the fire is not yet determined. Battery electric vehicles on board had made the fire difficult to extinguish. VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini dealers are scrambling to try and find replacement vehicles for their customers. The latest estimate of the total loss is $335 million.

* French authorities are installing “sound radars” in some cities to detect and photograph vehicles making excessive noise, which they say is a public health hazard. New sensors, or “sound radars,” were placed in seven cities last week as an experiment. The sensors can detect and take pictures of vehicles making excessive noise, a problem that officials say has gotten worse in recent years. The hope is to eventually set a noise-pollution limit and fine those motorists exceeding it.

* Ford is recalling more than 330,000 Mustangs in the U.S. to fix backup camera displays that go blank or become distorted. The recall covers cars from the 2015 to 2017 model years. The rear view camera wiring can become loose or damaged, causing the problem.

* Ford is also recalling nearly a quarter-million heavy duty pickup trucks in the U.S. because the drive shafts can fracture and cause a loss of power. The recall covers certain F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups from the 2017 through 2022 model years. The trucks have gasoline engines and aluminum drive shafts.

* Stellantis NV has issued a temporary stop sale on a limited number of Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles for a problem preventing the vehicles and their key fobs from communicating. Customers have reported being locked out of their vehicles and unable to start them. Both the two-row Grand Cherokee and the three-row Grand Cherokee L are affected. Parts to fix the problem are being expedited to dealers.

* From ClassicCars.com we read Denise McCluggage will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in early March as a member of a Class of 2022 that also includes Pete Brock, Helio Castroneves, Jack Roush and Banjo Matthews. While she won’t be there, she died in 2015 at the age of 88, the car in which she won her first race will be. The car, a Jaguar XK140, was a gift from Briggs Cunningham, the wealthy American sportsman she met in the early 1950s while covering a yacht race as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.

* The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, has announced its 2022 inductee class: The Green Book publishers Alma and Victo Green; Lamborghini founder Feruccio Lamborghini; motorsports pioneer Lyn St. James; Lu Guanqui, founder of Chinese automotive supplier Wanxiang; and Taicho Ohno, pioneer of the Toyota Production System.

* Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Vice President for Design and Chief Creative Officer has been named 2022 World Car Person of the Year by the The World Car Awards jury panel representing 102 journalists from 33 countries. The 2022 World Car Awards program will end at the New York Auto Show on April 13, 2022 with the announcement and presentation of the: World Car Design, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Urban Car, World Electric Vehicle and World Car of the Year.

* On the 85th birthday of his car owner, Roger Penske, 23-year-old NASCAR Cup Series rookie Austin Cindric beat Bubba Wallace to the finish line by .036 seconds in overtime to win last Sunday’s 64th running of the Daytona 500. Cedric piloted the Discount Tire sponsored No. 2 Team Penske Ford to a packed house at Daytona. It was the first big race for NASCAR’s Next Gen race car. It was the first time a rookie won the Daytona 500 since 2011.

* Michael Andretti is targeting expanding his motorsport portfolio into Formula 1 in time for the 2024 season. Formula 1 has featured 10 teams since 2017, with the most recent addition being the US firm Haas, but the regulations allow for as many as 13 entrants. Andretti Autosport’s empire includes teams in the NTT IndyCar Series and Formula E, but it has recently targeted a further expansion into Formula 1. Andretti had submitted an entry to the FIA to field a new F1 team, starting in 2024, under the name of Andretti Global. The application requires approval from Formula 1’s governing body the FIA.

Stay safe. Be Well.