How Audi Is And Isn’t Going To Compete In Formula 1

Morning Dump Audi Formula 1

Audi goes to Formula 1, Tesla wants FSD Beta videos taken down, Ford hikes Mustang Mach-E pricing. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Audi To Officially Enter Formula 1 In 2026

Audi Formula 1
Photo credit: Audi

After months and months of chatter through the grapevine, Audi has finally confirmed that it will enter Formula 1 in 2026. However, don’t expect Audi to develop an actual chassis. Audi is entering Formula 1 as a power unit supplier, offering teams a healthy helping of Vorsprung durch Technik.

While not quite the same as developing a whole car from scratch, developing a power unit is still fascinating, especially considering proposed changes for 2026. In four years’ time, Formula 1 cars will still use the 1.6-liter V6 turbo hybrid architecture, just with a much more powerful hybrid system. Audi claims equal output of around 536 horsepower (400 kW) for both the combustion engine and the electric motor and a sustainable fuel requirement.

While Audi hasn’t yet announced what team it will partner with, expect news on that by the end of 2022. The mockup you see here is just a 2022 Formula 1 car with an Audi livery and not really indicative of future product. Still, it’s a neat visual. According to an Audi press release, the Formula 1 project exists “as a consequence of discontinuing its LMDh project.” While Le Mans isn’t quite the same without Audi ripping about in the top class, I’m excited to see how Audi takes to F1.

More And More Car Loans Are Reportedly For Used Cars

A Buy Here Pay Here Dealer
Photo credit: “Used car dealer in Miami” by ryantxr is marked with CC BY 2.0.

With new cars in short supply, the second-hand market is in the limelight right now. Automotive News reports that 62 percent of car loans issued in the second quarter of 2022 were for used vehicles, up four percentage points year-over-year.

The flight to used vehicles could be seen across all credit tiers, with the largest gain seen in the 77 percent of near-prime customers financing used models, up 5 points from a year earlier. Experian defines near-prime as customers with credit scores between 601-660.

“Between the inventory shortage and rising vehicle costs, consumers are looking to make the most cost-effective decision, which is often a used vehicle,” Melinda Zabritski, Experian automotive financial solutions senior director, said in a statement Thursday. “The benefit of higher vehicle values is that consumers are able to get more for their trade-ins, which can help offset the increased cost of their next vehicle.”

While this news isn’t hugely surprising, it’s nice to be able to quantify an increase in used car transactions compared to new car transactions. It’s quite likely that this focus on used cars isn’t just a matter of affordability. Fewer new vehicles on lots and long wait times are driving consumers towards cars they can actually buy and used vehicles certainly fit the bill there. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to this trend through the third quarter as interest rates have risen.

Tesla Threatens Legal Action Over FSD Beta PSA

0x0 Model3 01
Photo credit: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

At this point, you’ve probably seen that public safety campaign where a Tesla Model 3 equipped with FSD Beta repeatedly runs over a child-sized mannequin. According to Reuters, Tesla isn’t too happy about the videos, to the point of threatening legal action.

The group, the Dawn Project, has launched a nationwide TV campaign warning of alleged potential dangers of what Tesla calls “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) software, adding to public and regulatory scrutiny of the technology.

One of the videos posted by the group shows a Tesla vehicle with FSD software running over child-sized mannequins, and says “Tell Congress to Shut it Down.”

In a Cease and Desist letter dated Aug. 11, Tesla said the Dawn Project and its founder “have been disparaging Tesla’s commercial interests and disseminating defamatory information to the public.” The letter was disclosed by the Dawn Project on Thursday.

Tesla threatened to take legal action, saying the tests in the videos are “likely fraudulent” and “misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology.”

Look, it’s fairly common knowledge that Tesla’s FSD Beta software may not detect everything in a vehicle’s path, and that includes simulated children. While this whole Cease and Desist business feels like nonsense, the line about how the Dawn Project’s videos “misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology” is rather hypocritical. The capabilities of Tesla’s technology are quite low. FSD Beta is simply a really sketchy Level 2 advanced driver assistance system, yet Tesla is marketing it using the Full Self-Driving moniker which seems like a misrepresentation of the software’s capabilities.

Ford Substantially Hikes Mustang Mach-E Prices For 2023

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Photo credit: Ford

With news of big price hikes for next model year’s Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck recently announced, it’s been a waiting game to see how that might translate to 2023 Mustang Mach-E electric crossover pricing. Well, wonder no more, for Ford has announced pricing for the next model year of its watt-swilling pony.

First things first, freight charges are up by $200 to $1,300. Since it’s a non-negotiable fee, I’m including it in all these price hikes. The basic Select trim sees prices rise by $3,200 to $48,195 for the rear-wheel-drive model and $50,895 for the all-wheel-drive model, while Premium trims with the standard range battery pack see a much larger price increase of $6,075. If that sounds crazy, you might want to brace yourself for this next one. Tack the extended range battery pack onto a Premium model and you’ll see an MSRP some $8,675 over a 2022 model. In fact, the extended range battery pack itself is up $2,600 over last year no matter what trim level you choose to order it on.

Things ease up just a touch with the 2023 Mustang Mach-E GT which sees an $8,100 price hike, while the range-focused California Route 1 model costs $8,300 more than it did last year. However, some Mustang Mach-E customers will get more features thrown in. The California Route 1 model is now exclusively available with all-wheel-drive, while Ford’s Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assistance suite is now standard across the model range. That pricey extended range battery pack is expected to get an extra 13 miles of range, while buyers of base Select models will get a free 90-day trial of Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise advanced driver assistance system thrown in, and GT models now get a standard panoramic roof.

While none of this upcontenting neutralizes the sting of substantially higher prices, it seems a little bit more appetizing than GM’s non-negotiable OnStar subscriptions. Maybe Dr. Evil’s a Ford client, as the Dearborn-based company seems to be throwing customers a frickin’ bone here. Oh, and Ford hasn’t completely forgotten about 2022 order holders who are getting bumped to 2023 VINs. Apparently, those customers will be getting private offers. In any case, it’s a bit of a shame seeing such massive price increases on Ford’s electric crossover. Hey, at least the Chevrolet Bolt’s still cheap.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve almost made it to the weekend. To celebrate, let’s play a little bit of a game. You’ve been given $25,000 to buy four cars that accurately represent the four seasons. One for spring, one for summer, one for autumn, and one for winter. What are you buying?

Lead photo credit: Audi

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24 Responses

  1. As a Floridian, how do I accurately portray the four seasons? I legitimately could go with a convertible for all of them.

    Oh well, whatever.
    Spring: Spring is nice and crisp, still chilly. Heated seats are nice. Best Miata I can find, probably a NC. Saw a nice one for $9Kish on CL the other night.

    Summer: Beach time! However, in Florida it is also rain time so we’ll need something that mostly keeps its lid on. Towing the boat would also be handy. Lets find an early 90s Bronco? The one below is still in reach, I have also seen a few basket cases on CL for Under $3k
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/175390799935?

    Fall: Fall is still hot. It doesn’t get cold into well into what the yankees call winter. Still, every now and then its nice enough to drop the top. Jag XK8? I know where to get one that is in solid shape for $3600. Been salvage titled twice, but has been inspected and good.

    Winter: Winter is the 50s here. Maybe a couple days in the 30s. Winter here depresses me cause I like snow. At least in North Florida you get a couple weeks down in the teens.
    Anywho, after the above (at time of typing) I’ve got roughly $8100 to find another convertible.
    BMW 128? Its an auto, bleh. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/1dd35dde-87b0-46cb-a3ae-b6184c52cd1b/
    Track-rat Miata? (A very nicely done track-rat.) https://carsandbids.com/auctions/9lYz0WeM/2000-mazda-mx-5-miata-special-edition
    Porsche? https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=654130925

    I dunno for winter. I’d have to search and do some checking around to see what works and what felt right. Manual BMW would probably do it, though.
    But there you go. Four convertibles for “four” Florida seasons.

  2. Ok, I had to ponder this one a while, but here’s what I came up with:

    Summer – SN95 or New Edge Mustang. Must be a manual, but either engine will do. Cheap, fun, and has good strong AC for when the summer sun gets to be too much.

    Fall – an old Alfa Spider. Autumn is the beat time to drive a convertible, and I’ve always wanted an Italian car.

    Winter – Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Good heat, good in the snow, cheap enough to not care about.

    Spring – Nissan D21 Hardbody pickup, any flavor. I tend to use my truck the most in the spring, taking stuff to the dump, getting mulch and potting soil from the nursery, running to the hardware store for this and that.

  3. I’m dipping my toes in the car market right now, and I’m looking exclusively used because they haven’t made the car I’m looking for in a few years; 2-door VW GTI with a manual. I was going to hold out for a Maverick, but that’ll wait until they are a few model years old and they start making their way into used inventories.

    Generally I/we don’t buy new anyway.

  4. Musk has such thin skin. No wonder they dissolved the PR department and won’t loan out vehicles to the press. Doing those things means you have to tolerate criticism.

    As an aside, I still can’t believe people are paying over $10k for FSD despite the fact that no Tesla to date has the required hardware for true autonomy. Especially since they ditched radar in some (all?) models so they only rely on cameras. At best it’ll end up a Level 3 system, but it isn’t there now.

    1. We all agree that at some point in the next decade, Tesla is going to be obliterated by the kind of legal shitstorm that makes Dieselgate look like Judge Judy fare, right?

      Think of how many people are paying $10k-plus for Full Self Driving, a capability which Tesla has already told regulators its hardware will never be able to achieve. Add to that all the bad-faith advertising about its capabilities, especially with respect to Elon’s claims of safety, and you’ve got some real deep legal shit brewing.

  5. “You’ve been given $25,000 to buy four cars that accurately represent the four seasons. One for spring, one for summer, one for autumn, and one for winter.”

    It’d be hard to find 4 for $26k, but it would be 4 Wranglers in various states of dress.
    Winter: hardtop with snows
    Summer: bikini top, no doors
    Spring/fall: soft top with half doors.

    1. Haha my first thought was to make a joke about just configuring four different Wranglers. I don’t know enough about them to follow through, though.

      Maybe take the DT route and find four junkers, each with a rust pattern that recalls a specific season?

    2. Yep, I DD my JKU year round. It’s nice to have in spring when we get the occasional 2 day snow storm, it’s nice in summer with the top/doors off, it’s nice in the fall with the top down to see the foliage, and it’s nice in the winter with its part time 4×4.

  6. Quite the challenge in today’s market to get four running cars for 25k. Took a swing anyways. I used some sales near me.

    Summer: 1994 Mercury Capri.
    Fall: 1996 Ford T-Bird (my parents had one, besides the breaks it was good, that can be upgraded).
    Winter: 1998 Lincoln Navigator.
    Spring: 84 Monte Carlo (not SS). My dad had one and it was awesome.

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