Each week TheDetroitBureau.com reports on the biggest news and events about new vehicles, mobility, technology, trends as well as offering our years of experience and insights in our car reviews. Then we put it all into our weekly the Headlight News podcast.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a very bad week last week as allegations he sexually harassed a flight attendant working for SpaceX resulted in a $250,000 payout to settle the issue. Musk’s push to buy his favorite social media outlet, Twitter, are currently stalled as the two sides bicker over how many subscribers Twitter actually has. Musk claims as many as 20% of the number the company’s claims are bots, while Twitter officials say it’s less than 5 percent.
Those two issues, plus several others, have caused Tesla’s stock to drop by nearly half since early April and the hits keep coming, reports Editor-in-Chief Paul A. Eisenstein.
Some of the other stories you need to know about include:
- Ford issued recalls covering more than 300,000 vehicles, including 39,000 Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators due to a potential fire hazard. The other 300,000-plus heavy-duty pickups recalled could experience airbag failure;
- Hyundai confirmed its building a $5.5 billion plant near Savannah, Georgia to build electric vehicles and batteries for the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands. When at full speed, it will produce more than 300,000 vehicles annually;
- Honda provided an early look at its first long-range EV, the Prologue. The new, fully electric crossover is set to arrive in the U.S. and be the first of a wave of ultimately 30 EVs the company plans to produce globally by 2030. However, the Prologue is first of a slew of vehicles targeted at U.S. buyers. More will be coming from the expanding partnership between Honda and General Motors; and,
- Mercedes-Benz set a new record when it auctioned off one of its two fabled 1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes for $146 million. The money will go to the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a global scholarship and education fund.
With the price of gasoline setting records, it’s not a surprise consumers are looking for alternatives. Plenty of automakers are lining up to meet that interest, led most recently by Hyundai. The South Korean automaker confirmed plans for a $5.5 billion plant to build EVs near Savannah, Georgia. While EVs made up just 0.5% of new vehicle sales in 2019, but that number rose to 4.2% in 2021 as sales surged 81% in 2021. Tesla is the king of the segment, but even it’s likely to find it tougher to remain on top as more and more offerings hit the market. At the end of 2021, there were about 20 long-range EVs available, but by the end of this year, there will be 60 in the U.S.
So often, we get to drive the latest cool car or truck that will not likely hit the average American’s driveway. However, last week was different as Managing Editor Michael Strong clambered behind the wheel of the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE. With impressive exterior styling, and a hybrid powertrain capable of 308 horsepower and a electric-only mode run of 42 miles it’s an impressive offering. Heck, it an even take you off the beaten path … just not too far off. The RAV4 Prime XSE is a small, but comfortable hybrid ute that’s enjoyable to drive and makes one’s day-to-day commuting or errands a bit more enjoyable. But is it worth the $50K price tag? Check out the review to find out.
Looking ahead to this week, Strong notes after TheDetroitBureau’s story last Friday about many of the issues Elon Musk and the EV maker are facing, TheDetroitBureau’s going to take a closer look at what could be next for the controversial entrepreneur and what it could mean for Tesla, even beyond its flagging stock price. We’ll also continue tracking the issues impacting drivers and potential buyers alike.
Examining this week in automotive history Executive Editor Larry Printz points out that in this week in 1901 Connecticut passes the first law against the new fangled invention, the automobile, limiting its speed to just 12 mph on city streets and 15 mph on country roads In 1933, Richard M. Hollingshead is granted a patent for the drive-in movie theater. He opens his first one in Camden, New Jersey.
Find out more the industry’s history and more by listening to TheDetroitBureau’s latest edition of the Headlight News podcast by clicking here. And look for a new episode every Monday!