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.
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Nutson’s Auto News Weekly-wrap-up October 30 – November 5, 2022
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.
* October has come and gone and there’s a dim glow at the end of the dismal sales tunnel. Many automakers no longer report monthly sales. However, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo saw sales gains compared to one year ago. The new-vehicle sales pace in October was the strongest since January, according to Cox Automotive. Automakers sold new cars and light trucks at a 14.9 million vehicle annualized rate in October, according to Wards Automotive. Transaction prices hit a new October record at $45,599.
* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: The U.S. Department of Transportation has been designating alternative fuel corridors since 2016, and as of July 2022 there were 75,820 miles of electric vehicle (EV) charging corridors throughout the United States. California and Florida each have over 6,000 designated miles, while Texas and Colorado each have over 3,000 miles. In September 2022, the Federal Highway Administration in coordination with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation approved all state plans for EV charging infrastructure deployment. To see the approved state plans, click here. https://driveelectric.gov/state-plans/
* The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided no time frame for any action on Ford and General Motors’ petitions for each automaker to operate a few thousand autonomous vehicles with no human controls. Meanwhile, legislative updates that would accommodate AVs have failed to advance in Congress for over five years, and Volkswagen and Ford decided last week to shut down Argo AI, a startup that developed AV technology. Meanwhile, expect to need your driver’s license for a long time to come!
* It’s SEMA show week! The annual gathering of hot rodders in Las Vegas always results in some interesting vehicles from automakers. Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Nissan, Ram, Toyota and Volkswagen each presented an array of customized vehicles. SEMA awarded the Dodge Challenger as SEMA Car of the Year, Jeep Wrangler as SEMA 4×4/SUV of Year, Jeep Gladiator as SEMA Mid-size Truck of the Year and Ram as SEMA Full-size Truck of the Year. The VW ID.4 SUV is the winner of the first-ever SEMA award for Electric Vehicle of the Year. Toyota GR86 received the 2022 SEMA Sport Compact of the Year Award. The SEMA Awards are voted on by SEMA Show exhibitors, who determine the winners based on the vehicles they see as having the greatest appeal to consumers and potential for accessorization. The SEMA Show, featuring more than 1,900 exhibiting companies and nearly 65,000 buyers, ran through November 4 and covered all four Las Vegas Convention Center halls.
* FCA, the U.S. operating arm of Stellantis, issued a “Do Not Drive” warning for about 276,000 2005-2010 Dodge Magnums, Chargers, Challengers and Chrysler 300s. Owners of these cars are being told not to drive their vehicles after two people died in separate crashes involving exploding Takata air bags.
* Tesla is recalling 24,000 Model 3s in U.S. Rear seat belt anchors might have been incorrectly reassembled during service.
* The 1951 Delahaye 235 Roadster from the Mullin Automotive Museum collection was the recipient of the Best of Show Award at the conclusion of the annual Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance at the Wynn Las Vegas on October 30, 2022. The annual event welcomed 230 cars from 15 classes, and nearly 3,000 people throughout its three-day gathering of automotive excellence.
* The motorsports racing-move of the year took place last wekend. Ross Chastain used an incredible wall-riding move on the final lap at Martinsville to advance to the NASCAR Cup Series championship race. Chastain went from 10th to fifth on the final lap of the race by intentionally driving his car into the wall at full speed. He accelerated against the wall through the entirety of Turns 3 and 4 and passed five cars so that he would have a chance to win the 2022 Cup Series championship in the winner-take-all title race at Phoenix on Nov. 6. Christopher Bell won the race and advanced to the final four with Chastain, Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. Chastain’s move on the final lap eliminated perennial title contender Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was in the final four ahead of Chastain via points until the final two corners.
* Max Verstappen set the Formula 1 record for wins in one season at the Mexico City Grand Prix with his 14th victory this year. Verstappen was tied at 13 season wins with Michael Schumaker and Sebastian Vettel. With wins at Miami, Montreal, Circuit of the Americas and now Mexico City, Verstappen swept the North American portion of this year’s Formula 1 schedule.
* Jimmie Johnson finalized a deal to obtain an ownership stake within the Petty GMS organization starting in 2023, sources close to Johnson and Petty GMS have told @TheAthletic. Johnson will also drive in select races for the team. Johnson has stepped away from full-time NASCAR driving in recent years, but he’ll be getting back into the sport in a major way moving forward.
* Legendary Ferrari designer Mauro Forghieri has died at the age of 87. Forghieri was an iconic figure who oversaw four Formula 1 drivers’ championships and seven constructors’ titles in his 27 years with the team. He designed some of Ferrari’s most famous cars, including the 312 T series that won three drivers’ and four constructors’ titles from 1975-79. Forghieri was the first engineer to put aerodynamic rear wings on a car, at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix, helping Ferrari driver Chris Amon to pole position, nearly four seconds faster than the next quickest car.
* Lastly, the world of Twitter is in upheaval as Elon Musk takes control. GM and VW have stopped all their brands from advertising on Twitter pending reevalution. The Twitterverse automotive business community may be leaving Twitter altogether to posibly pick up their efforts on LinkedIn.
Stay safe. Be Well.