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Episode 59 – Elon vs Vlad

Welcome to the automotive podcast that’s buying popcorn for the Elon/Vlad arm-wrestling match.

What’s that? You haven’t heard about such a thing?

Don’t worry, we’ll talk about it later in the show.

We’ve got a lot of news packed into this episode, plus a few project updates and Eric picks a Car of the Weak™ that’s straight out of a late 80’s music video. Hop in and let’s take a drive!

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Eric recaps his latest nightmare at the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Learn why you should avoid multiple transactions and/or the Roanoke office at all costs. (Full story in the Patreon Preshow) . He also talks about the importance of functioning brakes on his project Tacoma pickup, and why replacing innertubes on a wagon wheel isn’t for the faint at heart.  

Daryl just bought more old junk. He’s trying to sell some other old junk. This is a new concept since old stuff seldom leaves the Scott Auto Museum of North Peoria, but space is at a premium these days. Anyone need a ’58 Plymouth? 

#TWISM  (This Week in Social Media)

Pete Davidson headed to space on Blue Origin craft

Source: AP News

Pete Davidson is heading to space.

The “Saturday Night Live” star is among the six passengers on the next launch of Jeff Bezos’ space travel venture Blue Origin, the company announced Monday.

The launch is scheduled for March 23 and Davidson will be the third celebrity on a Blue Origin flight. William Shatner was on a flight in October, blasting off from West Texas and reaching a height of roughly 66 miles above Earth on the 10-minute jaunt.

The other passengers on next week’s flight are CEO and investor Marty Allen; Sharon and Marc Hagle; teacher and entrepreneur Jim Kitchen and George Nield, a former NASA manager who has worked to promote commercial spaceflight.

UPDATE:  3.22.22
Apparently, Pete can’t make it on this trip.  More on his replacement here. 


Lithium-ion batteries are fueling the fire on a burning cargo ship full of Porsches (UPDATED)

Source: QZ.com 

Photo: Alf van Beem (CC)

The cargo ship Felicity Ace is aflame from bow to stern with a lithium-ion battery fire that can’t be put out with water alone.

The fire has been burning since Wednesday (Feb. 16), as the ship drifts in the Atlantic about 200 miles southwest of Portugal’s Azores Islands. Its 22-person crew abandoned ship and was rescued on Thursday.

The ship left Germany on Feb. 10 and headed for the US with about 4,000 Porsches, Bentleys and other luxury cars aboard, and some of those were electric vehicles. It’s not clear if the batteries contributed to the fire starting in the first place—a greasy rag in a lubricant-slicked engine room or a fuel leak are the usual suspects in ship fires—but the batteries are keeping the flames going now. A forensic investigation will take months to determine the cause.

UPDATE:  3.1.22
Source: Bloomberg

The cargo ship that caught fire in the Atlantic while transporting roughly 4,000 Volkswagen AG vehicles to the U.S. has sunk despite efforts to tow it to safety. The Felicity Ace sank 220 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal’s Azores Islands around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday after being battered by waves and leaning 45 degrees to its starboard side, the ship’s operator said.

The Facts About New Vehicle Pricing

Source: NADA

Recent media coverage about rising new-vehicle prices fails to account for unprecedented market conditions in the retail auto market. The analysis that follows (which is largely based on J.D. Power PIN data drawn from 42% of all consumer transactions for new vehicles) explains key factors driving vehicle pricing.

  • Photo: Automotive Rhythms- Flickr (CC)

    The widespread microchip shortage has sharply cut vehicle production and reduced dealership inventories to 40-year lows, while consumer demand has remained strong. These market forces drove the average price paid by consumers up 13% in 2021. Even with such an increase, the average price paid by consumers during 2021 was still below the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

  • Market forces simultaneously drove up used-vehicle prices by 41%, which significantly increased trade-in values. These larger trade-in allowances more than offset the increase in new-vehicle prices. In fact, new-vehicle buyers with a trade-in paid an average of $305 less in 2021 than in 2020.

Vehicle inventory levels drive manufacturer decisions on incentives—such as rebates, promotional financing and other incentives. In particular, manufacturer incentive spending historically rises and falls as inventories rise and fall. With such low inventory and such high demand, the OEMs reduced their incentive spending each month last year, with reductions in available OEM incentives effectively raising prices for consumers. Average incentive spending per unit in 2021 fell from $3,482 in January to $1,516 in December. For the year, incentive spending per unit averaged $2,429, a decrease of 39.7% compared with full-year 2020.

And the increase in vehicle prices was not limited to the legacy automotive brands. Direct sellers, such as Tesla, also increased their prices in 2021. According to data from Kelly Blue Book, the average transaction price of a Tesla in December 2021 increased by 20.2% year-over-year. While the MSRP of vehicles sold by franchised dealerships have seen only minor increases, the price increases implemented by Tesla are likely to remain permanent.

Classic Chevrolets Captivate During Super Bowl LVII

Source: GM Authority

Chevrolet’s biggest moment during Super Bowl LVI may not have been its Sopranos’ themed ad for the all-new 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, but the three 1960s-era Chevy Impala lowriders featured during the halftime show as a nod to California car culture. Those beauties were parked in front of a large neighborhood street set that featured open rooms for performers and dancers.

Those performers included hip-hop legends Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Eminem in what was hailed as one of the better halftime shows in recent memory.

And some of those dancers took to gyrating on top of the hoods of those classic Chevy droptops. But the cars’ owners, Members of the Public Enemy Car Club of Los Angeles, reassured concerned viewers that the hoods were switched out for reinforced ones.

Georgia State Government Steps in to Move Rivian EV Plant Forward

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia has stepped in to take control of the Rivian site near Covington amid local opposition to the planned $5 billion electric vehicle plant.

Local elected officials had been scheduled to vote next month on whether to rezone the 2,000 acres of rural property east of Atlanta for industrial use. They faced pressure from hundreds or thousands of area residents unhappy with the massive proposed factory.

But now local officials won’t vote, after the state assumed control and withdrew rezoning applications. The state can more easily bypass local zoning laws.

Local residents who oppose the Rivian plant already faced long odds to block the project, which Gov. Brian Kemp hailed as the largest economic development project in state history when it was announced in December. Environmental groups also support the plant, viewing Rivian’s electric vehicles as a way to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

Rutledge resident Chas Moore, who helped organize a legal fund to challenge the plant, declined Tuesday to comment on opponents’ next steps. The plant is located about 40 miles east of Atlanta, between the small communities of Social Circle and Rutledge.

Ford set to announce plans to run EV, ICE as separate businesses

Source: Reuters

Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Wednesday will announce a reorganization under which its electric vehicle (EV) and internal-combustion engine (ICE) units will be run as separate businesses in a move to fast track growth in EVs, three people familiar with the plan said.

The EV and ICE businesses will have separate names but will remain under the Ford corporate umbrella, in the same way the company operates its Ford Pro commercial business for corporate customers, said the people, who asked not to be identified.

The U.S. automaker will name executives to lead each business and Ford will also outline updated profit margin targets for the company overall, the sources said. The idea is for Ford to eventually report separate financial results for the EV and ICE businesses, one of the sources said.

Ford spokesman T.R. Reid declined to comment on the report. “We’re focused on carrying out our Ford+ plan to transform the company and thrive in this new era of electric and connected vehicles,” he said.

Moment of Musk

Elon Musk challenge to duel Vladimir Putin takes bizarre turn when Chechen leader invites ‘Elona’ for training

Tech billionaire Elon Musk doubled down on his challenge to duel Vladimir Putin of Russia in “single combat” for the fate of Ukraine Tuesday while ribbing Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Kremlin ally and fearsome militant who called the world’s richest man “effeminate.”

“You’ll need to pump up those muscles in order to change from the gentle (effeminate) Elona into the brutal Elon you need to be,” Kaydrov wrote on the Russian social media platform Telegram.

The reply from “Elona” Musk:

In response to Musk’s challenge, Kadyrov invited the SpaceX and Tesla founder to the Chechen Republic for training on firearms, martial arts and how to “monitor and update your social network accounts,” according to a translation of his Telegram post Musk tweeted Tuesday.

Cars of the Weak

Daryl : 1936 Pontiac Business Coupe – $20,000

Source: Facebook Marketplace

From the ad description: “Entertaining offers over 15k, vehicle has always been garaged.  No rust or body repairs known. 100% original at this time, will need some tlc to be perfect. Would make a great street rod. If interested message me with offer. Mileage shown is correct. Vehicle has been in family since 1960.”

Daryl doesn’t need another old car. But he wouldn’t mind shoehorning a 30’s GM coupe somewhere in his garage. Or neighbor’s garage. Or shed. Anywhere.

Eric : 1989 Dodge D50 Ram Pickup – $6,000

Source: Facebook Marketplace

From the ad description: “I’ve been cruising this beauty all summer and it’s an absolute blast to drive!. It’s an ‘89 D50 Ram 50 pickup. Custom paint, custom convertible kit. Story I got was the guy bought it and took it straight to the shop to have the custom work done. I got it from the guy’s nephew after he passed. I put brand new wheels and tires on it and had it aligned a couple weeks ago.

Lots of new parts! I have too many toys so this one has to go because I don’t have a mullet and I don’t own a pair of pit vipers. I’m mostly interested in cash but I will entertain trades of higher value.”

Who wouldn’t want to rock something radical like this for Summer of ’22? We think Eric should go for it!

Thanks as always for listening, and we’ll catch you on the next episode.

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