VW adds free services for vehicle emergencies

The name of the service is Volkswagen Car-Net® Safe & Secure, and it’s being rolled out on a complimentary basis, with no additional cost, for five years, with the service covering most 2020 to 2023 Volkswagen vehicles and the offer taking effect on June 1st. Volkswagen of America’s plan, linked to a smartphone app, will encompass Automatic Crash Notifications, Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, and Anti-Theft Alerts; additionally, ID.4 EV models include Automatic Crash Notifications and Emergency Assistance.

For model year 2020 – 2023 vehicles equipped with Volkswagen Car-Net, the coverage begins as soon as the owner creates a myVW account and accepts the myVW and Car-Net Terms of Service. The coverage will remain active for 5 years after the sale date or June 1, 2023, whichever is later. The offer follows a recent carjacking in the Chicago area in which authorities were delayed in tracking a stolen Volkswagen Atlas because of a process failure, as Volkswagen calls it, that involved whether the service subscription payment had been made. The family involved in the incident was reunited successfully.

MSHFA is recipient of major Panoz endowment

You’ll learn two things from this post: First, that one of Daytona Beach’s major speed-related attractions is the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, located on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway, just across the steet from the home offices of both NASCAR and IMSA. And you’ll also be reminded of the vast debt that North American racing owns to Dr. Don Panoz, who passed away in 2018, and whose family announced a major endowment of the hall during its 35th annual induction of newly enshrined members last night. The endowment will make it possible for the hall of fame to continue its work, which is honoring the greats of all branches of engine-powered sport on these shores. Making the announcement were several members of the Panoz family including Don’s son, Dan.

Don Panoz was one of the great figures in the recent history of North American motorsport. In addition to building limited-edition performance cars from his base outside Atlanta, Panoz fielded race cars that won the Indianapolis 500 four times, in addition to overall wins at Le Mans and Sebring, plus championships in Trans Am and in the GT4 series presented by SRO Motorsports. He also owned and operated Sebring, Road Atlanta and today’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park before teaming with Jim France of NASCAR and IMSA to create the American Le Mans Series. Part of the endowment will allow the hall – full disclosure, I’m one of its electors – to present mementos of the Panoz story in a new display called “Don’s Garage,” which already boasts a Panoz LMP1 roadster and the radical Deltawing sports racer. “A major goal of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, after joining the world in enduring the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was the establishment of a significantly funded endowment to provide the MSHFA with unprecedented financial stability,” said MSHFA President George Levy. “We are honored and humbled that the Panoz family has agreed to provide this major gift to the MSHFA and look forward to showcasing the amazing accomplishments of ‘Dr. P’ in the exciting new ‘Don’s Garage’ display.” 

EVs advance at Ford

Sales of electric vehicles at Ford have advanced by 68 percent over 2022 levels, which proves that the market for juiced transportation choices does indeed exist. To that end, Ford is taking major steps to ensure that growing demand can be met. The assembly plant in Kansas City, Missouri, recently added a third shift to accommodate buyer’s wishes in selecting the Transit and E-Transit vans, which already lead the global market in their respective categories. The E-Transit will join other Ford EVs in having their production targets raised, including the Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, Bronco Sport and hybrid-powertrain Maverick pickup.

As of February, Ford was the nation’s top-selling automaker overall, along with the top producer of light trucks and SUVs. Dearborn’s market share increased by 1.4 percent points in February, thanks to a 21.9 percent sales increase over the previous year, bringing Ford’s current U.S. market share to 13.3 percent. Ford also plans to roll out all-new versions of the Super Duty, Mustang, Ranger and Escape during 2023.

Vintage Alps conquest

It’s always better to exercise a vintage car rather than simply rest it on a show field. A leading venue for that kind of veteran outing, the Coppa della Alpi by 1000 Miglia, kicked off its annual run with a pre-event in Brescia, Italy, the longtime starting point for the original, fable Mille Miglia, run for the last time in 1957. This revival-type event will consist of four legs totaling more than 1,000 miles in Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, assaulting the Alps in springtime using cars of yore, such as the 1927 Bugatti T37 that won a pre-run trophy in Brescia.

The Coppa della Alpi consists of 11 time controls, seven passage controls, 90 time trials and 60 of what the organizers refer to as secret average trials, some held on snow cover. Arguably the happiest competitors are newlyweds Karsten and Patricia Wohlenberg, who are celebrating their honeymoon by taking on the Alpine passes in their 1968 Porsche 911.

New BMWs at The Amelia

Speaking of The Amelia, the concours also forms a frequent backdrop for auto manufacturers wanting to infuse their newest products with the dignity of the past in a regal location. Example: BMW is using the occasion on Sunday to debut its 2024 X5 and X6 crossovers, a world premiere that will include the rollout of the X5 xDrive50e plug-in hybrid, which boasts 100 additional horsepower; and the X6 M Competition, which is rated at 617 horsepower and still has assistance from 48-volt mild hybrid drivetrain technology.

Since the debut is taking place at The Amelia, BMW is also seeing fit to join the festivities by celebrating its own competition history. Among the displays BMW will present include the 50th anniversary of the 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” GT race cars, the sole BMW 507 roadster serialized as a 1960 model, and the very same BMW.Williams FW22-02 Formula 1 car that honoree Jeff Gordon hot-lapped on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course during his memorable ride swap with works Williams driver, and future NASCAR denizen, Juan Pablo Montoya.

It’s Amelia time again

The first part of March means two things around here: Bike Week is coming to Daytona Beach, and jewel-like automobiles of the past will be gathering along the oceanfront in Nassau County, Florida, for this coming Sunday’s latest edition of The Amelia, as the world-ranked concours in the state’s northeastern corner is now known. The 28th annual concours does indeed live up to its billing of being “a motoring event like no other.” Where else, just for instance, do you get to look at exquisitely restored cars just yards from the lapping Atlantic as they occupy exalted positions on the green of The Golf Club of Amelia Island? The Amelia also annually honors a luminary from the world of cars or motorsport, with this year’s honoree being Jeff Gordon, the NASCAR icon, broadcast personality and now, vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports.

This being The Amelia, specialty classes will be arrayed and judged at the concours, including Le Mans winners, the 120th anniversary of Buick and Fiberglass Racing Spyders – Porsche. Remember that the Amelia is virtually alone among global automotive events in presenting two Best in Show awards, one for road cars, one for competition vehicles. And if you go, make sure you stop by the booth for Crankshaft magazine, right on the golf course, and learn for yourself just how good a premium magazine on automotive history can be.

Mecum Auctions going big with Glendale sale

If the venue helps to make an auction of collector cars truly significant, then Mecum Auctions is about to hit a dinger by moving its big annual post-Scottsdale sale into the yawning confines of State Farm Stadium as it presents Mecum Glendale 2023 from March 28th through April 1st, with an anticipated 2,000 historic vehicles set to be sold, along with an estimated 150 pieces of road art, which has emerged as another Mecum specialty. Mecum made its reputation in large part by selling American muscle cars, and the Glendale sale won’t disappoint. Read on.

This is what we mean by Mecum muscle. Standing tough on Torq Thrust wheels mounting redline tires, this offering is a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS built by the famed Yenko tuning shop in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, believed to be one of 11 such big-block Camaros built by Yenko that year, and one of the 64 cars known as Super Camaros that it assembled and sold. This particular example, in obviously highly presentable condition, has been in the collection of the current owner for 42 years. Mecum sells a lot of stuff like this.

Electric delivery of Nissans to L.A. dealerships

The world of truck transportation is pivoting around coming changes, ranging from self-driving rigs to alternative fuels, especially when it comes to local deliveries on fixed routes – think about the electrified fleets that Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service are bringing on line. There’s more, as the race goes on to develop viable EV power for heavy trucks in U.S. service. To that end, Nissan is now using battery-electric heavy tractors to pull haulaway trailers that deliver new Nissan vehicles from the Port of Los Angeles to Nissan dealerships in and around the city.

The Nissan strategy employs a series of battery-electric tractors: The one depicted above that’s a Nikola cabover model, which is being used along with a conventional tractor from Kenworth, both will full BEV drivelines. While Nissan hasn’t disclosed the range of the trucks, covering deliveries in the entire Los Angeles basin would require the trucks to likely run at least 100 miles from the port to reach distant dealerships. The BEV truck project is being undertaken in partnership with Avant-Garde Auto Logistics LLC, located in Smyrna, Tennessee, where Nissan operates a huge assembly plant, and is unusual among haulaway firms in being woman-owned. Nissan also teamed with logistics partner Wallenius Wilhelmsen to develop charging systems around the port, as Nissan plans to expand the use of BEV trucks, eventually on a national basis. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that one of the new vehicles on the trailers will be the new 2023 Nissan Ariya EV.

Pricing set for 2023 Sentra

Already boasting the most standard safety features in its class, the 2023 Nissan Sentra goes on sale with suggested pricing that’s just being set this week. With class-exclusive Nissan Safety Shield 360 standard across all models and trim grades, the 2023 will start out with an MSRP of $19,950 for the base Sentra S. The S, like the rest of the line, gets Nissan’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning electronics as standard equipment.

The Sentra will be offered across three grades, including the S. Stepping up to the midgrade SV trim level will get underway at a suggested $21,170. The real treat here is the performance-oriented Sentra SR, once again offered with Nissan’s well-received Midnight Edition appearance package, which adds 18-inch wheels and a rear diffuser, among other treats. The 2023 Sentra SR’s pricing has been set at a base of $22,840. Those who’ve experienced it can attest to the fact that especially in SR trim, the Sentra is a tossable little fun piece with a reasonable price of entry.

IONIQ 6 starts at $41,600

Fresh off setting prices for its premium Genesis EV, Hyundai returns to the plate this week in announcing a range of prices for its IONIQ 6 all-electric sedan, which goes on sale this summer. It’s the second offering from Hyundai to ride on the firm’s exclusive Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP for short, with standard 800-volt, 350 kW fast-charging capability. When we say “range,” we mean it, and so does Hyundai, given that the IONIQ 6 will be sold in a variety of trims, with dual charging-time capabilities, and with either single- or dual-motor capability, the latter giving the car AWD.

The model availability and pricing begins with the IONIQ 6 SE RWD Standard Range with 18-inch wheels at an MSRP of $41,600. The series then winds its way through AWD models, the SEL improved trim level, heading up to the Limited AWD with 20-inch wheels that will carry a suggested price tag of $56,100.