Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up – Aug 29



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO – Septrmber 5, 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 news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Links to full versions of today’s news nuggets along with a million pages of the past 25 year’s automotive news, articles, reviews and archived stories residing in
The Auto Channel Automotive News Library can be found by just copying and then inserting the main headline into the News Library Search Box.

Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending September 4, 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.

* U.S. vehicle sales cratered in August owing to the persistent microchip shortage, which has been crippling the auto industry lately. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia sales all slipped. August volume dropped 2 percent at Toyota and 16 percent at Honda with some key nameplates posting notable declines. After a stretch of records, deliveries fell 4 percent at Hyundai and 5.3 percent at Kia. Ford sales dive-bombed down 33%. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) declined to 13.09 million light vehicle units, down 17% over last month.

* Cars and Trucks Selling Over Sticker Price:: Heading into the historically-hot-car-shopping Labor Day Weekend, buyers may be surprised to find themselves paying over sticker price for some of the most popular vehicles right now, according to a recent report from Autotrader. The laws of supply and demand are clearly at play in the current car-shopping environment, as the global microchip shortage and resulting automaker production delays continue to affect dealer inventories. Several popular, hard-to-find models currently have even harder to find deals, and buyers are paying well over MSRP as a result. After examining the latest data, Autotrader recently named the Toughest Twenty: 20 new vehicles consistently selling above full retail price. Read the details here: Autotrader Reports 20 New Vehicles Consistently Selling Over Sticker Price

* Kelly Blue Book has named the best beach cars. Their 10 Picks for your next trip to the shore are: Ford Bronco Sport, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Ford F-150 Raptor, Mercedes Benz GLS, Land Rover Defender, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Jeep Gladiator, Subaru Outback, Toyota Sienna & Porsche Cayenne.

* Ford is no longer accepting online customer reservations for its all-new, full-size 2021 Bronco, as the automaker had been since the launch of the high-profile SUV a year ago. Ford wrote to dealers “The decision to pause reservations is due to the high number of Bronco 2 and 4-door model orders and current commodity constraints.” If you want a new Bronco visit your local Ford dealer.

* JD Power Initial Quality Report; New-vehicle quality improved 2% from 2020, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) that was just released . This is slightly lower than the average rate of improvement (3%) seen during the past decade. Infotainment systems are the primary area preventing faster improvement, remaining the most problematic area for new-vehicle owners. The Ram truck brand beat all other automotive brands as the highest quality vehicle lineup for the 2021 model year. The Nissan Maxima sedan ranked as the highest quality vehicle. Read all the details here:

* Gas Prices At Highest Since 2014: Joe White from Reuters points out a concern that U.S. gasoline prices will bounce up again because of the damage Hurricane Ida did to Gulf Coast petroleum infrastructure? You should be, but you shouldn’t be surprised.

* How’s driving in your city? WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 30 key indicators of driver-friendliness. Their data set ranges from average gas prices to annual hours in traffic congestion per auto commuter to auto-repair shops per capita. As you might imagine, major metros like New York and Chicago rank low. Moderate size cities rank high. Raleigh, NC is the best and Oakland, CA the worst. Find your city here:

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has added a 12th crash to its investigation of why Tesla’s on Autopilot are hitting emergency vehicles. The latest incident happened Saturday, when a Tesla operating on Autopilot hit a Florida State Trooper’s patrol car parked on the side of a highway. NHTSA investigators have sent Tesla an 11-page letter with detailed questions about Autopilot and the company’s testing and validation processes for the driver assist technology.

* Highway fatalities in the U.S. rose 10.5% during the first three months of 2021 compared to a year earlier, even though miles driven fell by 2.1%, the government reported. The death rate per miles traveled rose 12.5%, based on the latest data. The Transportation Department said risky behavior coincident with the pandemic that spiked 2020 fatalities – drinking, driving fast and not wearing seat belts – continued into 2021.

* The State of Michigan is teaming up with Ford, Bedrock and Bosch to launch the nation’s first-of-its-kind, real-world test site for emerging parking technology – called the Detroit Smart Parking Lab. The lab opens in September, allowing mobility and smart infrastructure pioneers and real-estate innovators and startups to test parking-related mobility, logistics and electric vehicle charging technologies. Led by Enterprise, the collaboration also aims to test more seamless and efficient rental car returns.

* Reuters reports Volkswagen has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to shield it from state claims for damages due to the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating. The state of Ohio wants to pursue damages against VW, which the company says could cost it $127 billion a year over a multi-year period.

* Subaru unveiled the all-new 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness, the second member of the Subaru Wilderness family and the most capable Forester ever. With a bold new look and rugged off-road adventure capability thanks to 9.2 inches of ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, an enhanced drivetrain, and the trail-tested confidence of standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the Forester Wilderness is ready for adventure, on a deeper level.

* Subaru of America, Inc. announced a safety recall on select 2021 model year Subaru Impreza vehicles. The issue affects 802 model year 2021 Subaru Impreza vehicles. The affected vehicles may be equipped with a left front lower control arm with an improper weld near a connection joint between the lower control arm and the crossmember.

* BMW At IAA The IAA in Germany, formerly better known as the Frankfurt auto show, opens Monday. Ahead of the Munich auto show, BMW outlined an ambitious goal to cut lifecycle carbon emissions from its operations by 40% compared to 2019 levels. BMW’s focus on the full cycle of a vehicle’s life – from raw materials to manufacturing to operation – is smart, because that’s increasingly the focus of climate action groups and government regulators.

* NASCAR starts its playoffs this weekend with a “round of 16” clash in the Southern 500 at Darlington. It’s hard to pick a driver favored to win since the season has been somewhat random although Kyle Larson might be the guy in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Stay safe. Be Well.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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