Auto Central April 30, 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.
Nutson’s Weekly Auto News Wrap-up Week April 23-29, 2023.
* New-vehicle sales in April are likely to reveal the market has caught spring fever when announced this week. According to a forecast released by Cox Automotive, the sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), in April is expected to finish near 15.1 million, a large gain over last year’s supply-constrained level of 14.3 million. April’s sales pace is also forecast to show improvement over last month’s 14.8 million pace.
* US DoE factoid of the week: The number of light-duty vehicles registered per capita varies across the country. States with more rural populations and less access to public transit options tend to have more registered vehicles per capita. Wyoming and Oklahoma have the highest registrations per capita, at 1,112 and 1,057 per 1,000 people respectively, while the more urban District of Columbia has the lowest number—just 480 registered vehicles per 1,000 people. The average number of light-duty vehicle registrations per 1,000 people for the United States in 2022 was 847.
* Reuters reports that without China there is no EV success, of the nearly one in five vehicles sold worldwide, 60% were sold in China the world’s acknowledged primary beneficiary of the US government tax benefits designed to encourage a Green New Deal transiton to elctric powered vehicles. As more affordable EVs come on stream (Virtually All “Made In China”), Global EV sales could jump 35% this year according to the EV mouthpiece International Energy Agency . Less than three years ago, EVs accounted for just 4% of the global market. One consequence of the EV Shift: World oil consumption could drop by 5 million barrels a day by 2030. That’s about 5% of daily world oil consumption forecast by the U.S. Energy Department for this year.
* Autoweek informs there were two model years when American car shoppers had 47 station wagons to consider. With the rise of the minivan in the 1980s and the SUV in the 1990s, most Americans lost interest in buying station wagons. Autoweek applied a bunch of definitions, clarifications and caveats as to what really is a station wagon. After all that, 1964 is the year of Peak Wagon. The number of wagons available here dropped as the 1960s became the 1970s. In 1977, Americans could once again buy 47 different wagon models. That means Peak Wagon in America was either 1964 or 1977. LEARN MORE: HERE
* GM plans to end production of its last E Sedan, the electric Chevrolet Bolt models by the end of this year, CEO Mary Barra told investors when discussing the company’s first-quarter earnings. The Chevy Bolt EV hatchback and Bolt EUV utility vehicle make up the vast majority of the company’s electric vehicle sales to date. However, the battery cells in the cars are an older design and chemistry than the automaker’s newer electric vehicles such as the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, which utilize GM’s Ultium architecture. GM is retooling the Bolt factory to produce electric pickups, which some experts view as a step backward for road safety, emissions mitigation, and EV affordability.
* The upfront sticker price on a new vehicle can be misleading if car shoppers don’t take into consideration the total cost of ownership—the long view of ownership with ongoing costs like fuel, maintenance, insurance and even vehicle depreciation. Kelley Blue Book issued its 2023 5-Year Cost to Own Award winners, and Toyota and Lexus take home the top brand prize. And no surprise in the EV category, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV are listed—but it could be its last. For more information from Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own Awards
* According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, the nation’s auto insurers are locked in a vicious cycle of inflation, rising premiums and steadily increasing customer defection rates. Auto insurance costs rose 14.5% in February 2023, more than twice the rate of inflation (6%), making auto insurance account for a steadily increasing share of consumer discretionary spending. UBI programs, which use telematics software to monitor a customer’s driving style and assign rates based on safety and mileage metrics, are now offered to 22% of insurance shoppers and are purchased 18% of the time. Average overall satisfaction among auto insurance shoppers is 861 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is flat from a year ago, even though shopping and switching rates have increased in the same period.
* Efforts to grow workplace charging for electric vehicles, as well as charging opportunities in apartment buildings and disadvantaged neighborhoods continues with new programs at the state and other levels. One example of this momentum is the Oregon Community Charging Rebate program — administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation — aimed at locating charging in “priority communities,” which include rural and disadvantaged areas. The community charging rebate program wants to place charging in areas like shopping districts where drivers can charge while dining, shopping or other tasks. Applicants are reimbursed $4,250 to $5,500, or up to 75 percent of eligible costs. The program is set to open in June with $1.75 million available for the first round of funding, with 30 percent set aside for non-priority communities, and 70 percent for priority communities.
* New vehicle affordability is a hot topic and a big issue. The average transaction price is now $10,000 more than what motorists spent during the same period in 2020. Sedans, less costly sedans, are now in conversation. Do you drive a sedan? Could your next car be a sedan? Industry publication Aurtomotive News is writing about sedans. Our friends at The Detroit Bureau have a written about a possible sedan revival. MORE HERE:
* Motor Trend reports late last year, the National Council of Corvette Clubs quietly banned all vehicles with lithium-ion batteries from competing in any of its events, with no exception made for the new 2024 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray. The rule even goes so far as to say if a vehicle with a lithium-ion battery is driven to the event but not competing, it must be parked at least 30 feet from structures and other vehicles.
* Another park outside warning! General Motors is recalling certain Chevrolet Silverado medium-duty trucks for model year 2019 to 2023 following the discovery of a potential leak in brake fluid that could result in a fire. Potentially 40,428 vehicles could be affected. They include 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD models from the 2019 to 2023 model years.. The vehicles may have a brake pressure sensor assembly that allows brake fluid to leak and cause a short circuit. That in turn increases the risk of a fire that could occur when the vehicle is either driving or parked.
* Shelby American announced it will offer a custom retrofit package for the all-electric Ford Mach-E GT. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Carroll Shelby’s birth, it will produce 100 of the packages. The package is a post-purchase installation and will be offered only in Europe due to greater EV sales growth in that market. The package inlcudes weight-reduction and aerodynamic mods as well as the new Borla Active Performance Sound System. Shelby package starts at an estimated $25,000.
* The Corvette Hall of Fame announced its 2023 member-elect. Each year, a leader is inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame from each of three categories: GM-Chevrolet, Racing and Enthusiast. These members-elect will be formally inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Saturday, September 2, 2023. Since its inception in 1998, the Corvette Hall of Fame has inducted only 79 people. Read who is being recognized here
* NASCAR drivers do more than only race on Sunday. Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman will miss at least the next three NASCAR Cup races with a fractured vertebra he suffered in a sprint car crash in a mid-week night race at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.
Stay safe. Be Well.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.