AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO July 25, 2021 Every Sunday, Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Executive Producer, with the expert assistance of Senior Editor Thom Cannell of The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, puts together the “recording” of the Auto Channel for last week’s automotive news in easily digestible new nuggets.
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Below are the all-important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions, and insider backstories from the past week, presented as expertly crafted, easily digestible news nuggets.
Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending July 24, 2021; Below are the all-important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions, and insider backstories from the past week, presented as expertly crafted, easily digestible news nuggets.
* JD Power 2021 U.S. Automobile Brand Loyalty Study says vehicle owners remain largely loyal to their specific brands, in part due to the impact of pandemic lockdowns. Lexus ranks highest among premium brands for the third year in a row with a loyalty rate of 51.6%. In second place is Porsche (50.2%), followed by Mercedes-Benz (47.0%), BMW (45.6%) and Audi (45.5%). Subaru ranks highest among mass market brands and highest overall in the automotive industry for the third year in a row with a loyalty rate of 61.8%. Toyota ranks second (61.1%), followed by Honda (59.3%), RAM (56.8%) and Ford (53.9%).
* Electric truck startup Lordstown Motors confirmed that the Justice Department is investigating its deal. It is investigating matters related to his reverse merger deal last year and pre-orders for his upcoming pickup trunk, Endurance. The truck is critical to the survival of the business, which is experiencing accelerated cash burn and higher than expected costs.
* Electric car purchases in China accounted for more than 10% of new car sales in China. Foreign manufacturers, other than Tesla, are struggling to convince Chinese buyers that their electric vehicles can keep up with local competition. VW has built its own factory for its ID.4. Electric vehicle sales in China exceeded 1 million units in the first half of this year.
* Volkswagen announced that it will end assembly of the Passat sedan in Chattanooga in model year 2022, which is part of the plant’s transformation to build future electric vehicles. After 50 years on the US market, VW will stop selling the mid-range car from model year 2022. The reality is that the Passat is the latest victim in the harsh US market shift towards trucks and SUVs.
* With a video showing the driver’s view of a racetrack, the sound of an engine screeching, and the headline “The Road Will Never Sound the Same”, Chevrolet confirmed that a Corvette Z06 supercar will be unveiled this fall. The new performance car will debut as the 2023 Made In Kentucky model.
* Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars with safety drivers (HUH?) On the Lyft network under a network access agreement, with passenger rides in Miami starting later this year and Austin starting in 2022. When the vehicles are deployed, Lyft users can select a self-driving Ford vehicle within the defined service areas for a ride. This initial deployment phase will lay the foundation for the operations to scale as the parties are now working to finalize agreements that aim to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network in multiple markets over the next five years.
* Despite the recently announced delay in the start of production of Rivian’s first vehicles, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced that it is partnering with electric vehicle (EV) automaker and automotive technology company Rivian to add Rivian Waypoint EV charging stations install install in Tennessee State Parks. The aim is to have charging stations system-wide in all 56 state parks, depending on the availability of electricity and planned future park upgrades.
* Stellantis CE) Carlos Tavares said he expected a global microchip shortage to persist through 2022. The shortage has led most automakers to cut or stop production. Vehicle bottlenecks have been created that drive prices up. According to the Kelly Blue Book, the average cost of a new car in the US hit a record $ 42,000 in June.
* Mercedes-Benz is preparing to go fully electric by the end of the decade, if market conditions permit. The transition from a purely electric drive to a purely electric car manufacturer is accelerating the path to an emission-free and software-controlled future. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles (BEV) in all segments it serves. From 2025, all newly introduced vehicle architectures will be purely electric and customers can choose a fully electric alternative for each of the company’s models. Mercedes-Benz wants to cope with this accelerated change while adhering to its profitability targets.
* Last week, GM told Chevrolet Bolt EV owners to park them outside due to fire hazard. Now GM has recalled 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs after two more electric vehicles caught fire. The recall concerns defective battery modules. GM has advised electric car owners not to charge them over 90%.
* The prestigious St. John’s Concours d’Elegance of America takes place today, July 25th, at the Inn at St. John’s Golf Course, Plymouth, Michigan. This will be the final Concours of America to adorn the grounds of St. John’s, a former seminary that has been converted into a hotel and convention center. The show’s new owner, the well-respected Traverse City, Mich., Hagerty company recently announced that starting next year the venue for the Concours of America will be the Detroit Institute of Art near downtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue . And they’ll postpone the show until September. Details are sketchy and we assume that few have yet been determined.
* CR Patterson, Frederick Patterson, and Charlie Wiggins were early auto entrepreneurs, innovators, and champions who made a profound impact on the industry, even if they had to break through racial barriers. This week they were inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, one of the highest accolades in an industry that largely shunned their entries during their lifetime because they were black. The introductory event also honored newcomers and award winners from the 2020 class of the Dearborn Hall of Fame. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration was postponed last year.
* The Petersen Automotive Museum has announced the opening of its very first exhibition entirely dedicated to Formula 1. Pole Position: The Juan Gonzalez Formula 1 Collection presents a diverse collection of modern F1 cars, surrounded by immersive 180-degree video broadcasting the energy of the races in which these cars participated. The 10 cars on display tell the stories of various drivers and manufacturers from three decades of racing. Vehicles on display include a 1987 Lotus 99T, a 1994 Williams FW15D, a 1995 McLaren MP4-10, a 1999 Ferrari F399, a 2005 McLaren F1 MP4-20, a 2008 McLaren F1 MP4-24, a 2011 McLaren F1 MP4-26 , a 2013 Ferrari F138, a 2017 Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso’s 2018 McLaren MCL33 in bold colors. Each vehicle is from the collection of Juan Gonzalez, CEO of Mission Foods, a sponsor of the McLaren F1 team and the Arrow McLaren SP INDY team.
* The Klairmont Kollection team in Chicago announced the death of its founder Larry M. Klairmont at the age of 92. Larry had achieved many successes over the course of his life. A distinguished marine and World War II veteran, Larry returned from the war, raised a family, and became a very successful businessman as President of Imperial Realty. Together with his fiancée Joyce Oberlander, Larry founded the Klairmont Collections, a 350-car automobile museum. Larry’s passion for collecting rare and historic vehicles will not be lost. Klairmont Collections will be continued as a non-profit museum.
Take care. Be good.