AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO June 6, 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 easily digestible new nuggets.
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Nutson’s Automotive News Wrap-up – Week Ending June 5, 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.
* More people died on US freeways in 2020 than in any year since 2007, and the death rate per mile driven reached its highest level since 2006. The NHTSA report said many motorists who dared considered freeways during the pandemic -Blockings 2020 were empty too quickly, impaired or were not buckled up. In the second half of 2020, road deaths rose 13% as coronavirus infections increased. The industry’s claim for “zero crashes” through automated driving and advanced safety technology is being called into question. Modern vehicles are crammed with safety technology Technology alone cannot reduce the number of road deaths on motorways, let alone bring it to zero. Change of behavior on a mass scale is required.
* A hydrogen-powered, emission-free Toyota Mirai broke the world record for the distance driven on a hydrogen filling. The new Toyota Mirai, which is driven on public roads south of Paris, has increased the world record distance to 1003 km (622 miles). After the record was broken, the Mirai was ready to drive again in just 5 minutes. Toyota demonstrated that hydrogen fuel cell technology is a leading solution for emission-free long-distance driving.
* Toyota’s new bZ4X concept, first shown at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, made its US debut at Toyota’s headquarters in Plano, Texas. The concept was developed as part of a joint program with Subaru that will launch a production version of its Solterra prototype in late 2022. The production version bZ4X Concept will be the first of seven battery-electric Beyond Zero vehicles from Toyota.
* Toyota also introduced the 2022 Corolla Cross subcompact UV, which fits between the Toyota C-HR and RAV4 in size. To top things off, Toyota has also announced a number of special models in its lineup.
* Auto sales in May show tremendous growth for many brands, despite a shortage of inventory with a delivery time of only 44 days. However, the pace of sales is slowing compared to April. According to Ward’s Intelligence, US passenger car and light truck sales peaked at 17 million in May. Interestingly, sedan sales were particularly strong for the Toyota and Kia brands as people in need of a new vehicle bought what was available.
* Americans are divided over the idea of phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035, and many are unsure whether they would buy a prime alternative themselves: an electric car or a truck. A recent report from the Pew Research Center finds that 47% of adults in the US support a proposal to end production of gasoline-powered cars and trucks, while 51% oppose it. About four in ten Americans (39%) say they are at least more likely to think seriously about an electric drive the next time they buy a vehicle, while 46% say they don’t, or not at all. Another 14% do not expect to buy a car or truck in the future.
* Piplsay, a global consumer research platform, conducted a nationwide survey to find out what Americans think of a battery-powered pickup truck – 25% of Americans plan to purchase an all-electric pickup truck in the near future. – 25% of potential buyers would be most interested in purchasing the F-150 Lightning, followed by 24% in the Cybertruck – 34% of potential buyers would be most focused on specs when purchasing.
* BMW has presented three new BEVs. The i4 eDrive40 with 335 PS and rear-wheel drive and the Performance i4 M50 – with 536 PS and all-wheel drive. The iX xDrive50 with 516 hp and fully variable electric all-wheel drive was also shown.
* Ford announced that its all-new Maverick compact pickup truck will be unveiled on June 8th with the help of actress Gabrielle Union. Based on the same platform as Escape and Bronco Sport, the “City Truck” is intended for active young people. This rebirth of a classic Ford name, Maverick, once used on a ho-hum passenger car, could signal the return of young people back to buying small trucks, as they once did in the days of the original Ford Ranger.
* GM Authority reports that disgruntled customers have filed a class action lawsuit against General Motors alleging the automaker’s target cost is misleading and misleading. The lawsuit, which was filed in the southern district of California, has two plaintiffs alleging they did not know that GM made a profit on target fees collected from customers. According to Car Complaints, plaintiffs are California-based Robert Romoff, who recently bought a new Chevrolet Equinox 2021 with a target fee of $ 1,195, and Joe Siciliano of New Jersey, who has a new 2019 Cadillac Escalade with a Purchased target fee of $ 995. The lawsuit alleges that General Motors is making a “substantial profit” from the target fees it applies to its new vehicles and “is misleading customers into paying far more than the actual cost of vehicle delivery.” An article published earlier this year by Consumer Reports attempted to shed light on rising target freight charges in the automotive industry. The report showed that target fees had increased from an average of $ 839 in 2011 to $ 1,244 in 2020 – more than 2.5 times the rate of inflation.
* Stellantis NA is voluntarily recalling 446,643 trucks in the US because of possible problems with wheel bolts. The vehicles affected are certain 2012-2021 model years Ram 3500 heavy-duty pickups, as well as 4500 and 5500 cab chassis vehicles. Certain service and operating instructions contain incorrect torque instructions for wheel nuts. This could result in the vehicle’s wheel nuts becoming over-tightened and possibly damaging the wheel studs.
* Tesla is recalling 6,000 vehicles to fix a problem with loose bolts in brake assemblies. Federal security agencies are also testing that Tesla’s new camera-only / no-radar vision system is safe enough to deserve 5-star plus safety ratings.
* Hello Castroneves won the 105th Indy 500 in 2021 with the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. Castroneves is the only four-time winner of “The Greatest Spectacles in Racing” along with AJFoyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
* is 46 years old and one of the oldest drivers at IndyCar. Castroneves became the fourth oldest driver to win the Indy 500 behind Al Unser (47, 1987), Bobby Unser (47, 1981) and Emerson Fittipaldi (46, 1993).
* Kyle Larson in the No. 5 Chevrolet won the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, taking Hendrick Motorsports’ record-breaking 269th ever Cup Series win. Petty Enterprises had topped the NASCAR wins list since 1960, with their last win at Martinsville in 1999 with the late John Andretti at the wheel, on the same track where Geoff Bodine first scored Hendrick’s in 1984.
Stay safe. Be good.