South Korea continues to lobby for EV tax credits, America’s roads might be getting safer, Ford kills the Shelby GT500. 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.
South Korea Still Seeking IRA Resolution
Certain automakers and, indeed, nations still aren’t happy about new EV tax credits. Reuters reports that the Inflation Reduction Act weighs heavily on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s first official trip to America.
The law has sparked complaints from government officials in Seoul, who see it as a betrayal of Biden’s vows to boost bilateral economic ties after South Korean companies agreed to make major investments and build factories in the United States.
Seoul officials have asked Washington to postpone the new rules until Hyundai completes building its Georgia factory in 2025. Yoon is likely to reiterate that request during the upcoming summit.
Speaking in Seoul on Tuesday, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the IRA “seems to be a violation of the Free Trade Agreement” between the two nations. However, the South Korean government is focusing on bilateral dialogue for now, he said, when answering a lawmaker’s question in parliament.
It’s generally a bad idea to upset major trading partners, and South Korea might have a good case for expanding tax credits here. Electric passenger vehicles should essentially be tariff-free under code 87039000, and an interim solution for tax credits given plans for American Hyundai EV production in 2025 seems like a fair compromise.
America’s Roads Might Be Getting Safer
While road deaths soared through the pandemic, there are signs that things may be changing yet again. Bloomberg reports that road fatalities in the second quarter fell year-over-year.
Some 10,590 people died in car crashes from April through June, down 4.9 percent from the same period in 2021, according to estimates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released Monday. Fatalities had been increasing since the third quarter of 2020.
“Although it is heartening to see a projected decline in roadway deaths in recent months, the number of people dying on roads in this country remains a crisis,” Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator, said in a statement. Carlson recently assumed the role after Steven Cliff stepped down to return to the California Air Resources Board.
While I’d love to chalk this up to fewer rusty drivers on the roads, there’s another big mitigating factor that’s worth talking about: Gas prices. The numbers on the pump soared in the second quarter, which could’ve changed driving habits. I’ll be closely watching what happens to road deaths through the third quarter as fuel prices dropped again.
The 2023 Chrysler 300C Is Sold Out
If you wanted to get your hands on Chrysler’s new bruiser, I’m afraid I have bad news. Motor Trend reports that the 2023 Chrysler 300C sold out in just twelve hours. While limited-run cars selling out very quickly is a common PR stunt, something feels different here.
For starters, the new 300C isn’t that limited. A production run of 2,200 cars is quite significant, especially for a full-size sedan. Volkswagen of America only sold 5,537 Arteons in total last year. Secondly, the 300’s cultural moment passed a long time ago, right around the time of the Great Recession. Sure, the second-generation 300 SRT was cool, but it didn’t quite have the cachet the first LX-based 300 did.
Then there’s a matter of exactly what the 300C is. It’s a parts-bin special that doesn’t even use the second-most powerful production V8 in the FCA arsenal. By all accounts, the new 300C is a Dodge Charger Scat Pack that looks like a rental car. It’s not that special in the grand scheme of things, yet people are loving it. It’s easy to understand why. People like fun cars. Nobody needs a big sedan with 485 horsepower, but it’s fun to have. Before the vibe shift happens, people want to celebrate the fabulous liveliness of V8s. These beating hearts shoehorned between frame rails, from British gravel to Italian banshee wails. The baritone bellow of an American pushrod V8 sits right in a sweet spot that really gets the people going, and the new 300C is a love letter to that vigor.
Dead: Shelby GT500
While a new Ford Mustang is on the horizon, the current car isn’t done just yet. Muscle Cars & Trucks caught up with brand manager Jim Owens to learn more about what the 2023 model year Mustang will look like.
“Demand (for S550 Mustang) is there,” said Owens. “Supply is not, and we’re working towards it. We were down nine weeks this year, thirteen weeks last year” at the Flat Rock Assembly plant, where the Ford Mustang production exclusively takes place.
Additionally, if you’ve been wanting a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, now’s the time to buy, as we also learned that there won’t be one for the 2023 model year. This effectively means the GT500 is done after the 2022 model year, until if/when Ford debuts one for the S650 generation. Lastly, we also learned that the Brittany Blue heritage color has also been dropped, as well as the Mustang EcoBoost Coastal Edition. Ford will continue to build the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2023 model year, but will continue to hold off on building the Handling Package during the winter months, due to the warmer weather conditions needed for the Michelin performance tires.
So, bad news for anyone looking at the really quick Mustangs. If you want a GT500, it’s likely best to get your order in right now. In addition, a shortened model year also means much slimmer chances of getting a Mach 1 with the sticky Michelin Cup 2s optioned. The 2023 model year is your last chance to get an Ecoboost Mustang with a manual gearbox, the four-cylinder car is going automatic-only for 2024. It’s disappointing to see enthusiasts on a budget be left out in the cold for three-pedal thrills.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Tuesday, everyone. Automatic gearboxes often get a bad rap in enthusiast circles, yet some of them are really quite good. I’d love to know what your favorite conventional automatic gearbox is. No dual-clutch gearboxes, no CVTs, just torque converter stuff.
Lead photo credit: Hyundai
I’m OK with automatics in general, but over the years I developed a deep hatred for all the “manual mode” automatics, either paddle-shift or shifter-bump style. You’re not telling them to shift so much as politely requesting, if it’s not too much trouble, for them to shift some time in the next second or so. Could be immediate! Could be over a second. Or it might just refuse. Which means you get to play the guessing game of whether it decided to delay or just ignore the shift request. You can gamble and try again, but it may double-shift. Or if you’re nearing the top or bottom of the rev range it might surprise you and stack an automatic shift on top of your manual one. Basically, you end up somehow with less control over what gear it’s in compared to just using your right foot in full automatic mode. Across a variety of brands and generations, they were all infuriating.
But then I rented an F-type with the ZF 8HP and it is absolutely excellent. Maybe a hair slower than a DCT, but more than fast enough. More importantly, it’s consistent and predictable. Tell it to upshift? It upshifts. Tell it to downshift? It downshifts. Immediately. Don’t tell it to upshift as you accelerate? It’ll happily bounce off the rev limiter as instructed instead of maybe shifting for you at some hard-to-predict point near the redline.
ZF 8HP: as far as I can tell, the first and possibly only torque-converter-and-planetary automatic that doesn’t suck.
For years, it was the Chrysler 727. Probably the toughest auto ever made and about as reliable as an automatic could be. However, everything changed when Chrysler started using the ZF 8-speed. I’ve had three vehicles with this transmission now and can say, without any doubt, that this is the best traditional automatic ever made with the perfect integration of electronic control, programmable shift feel and shift points, and over all reliability.
Prior to this, I’ve never driven a traditional automatic with such quick and hard shifts capable between speeds. I also can’t discount the efficiency this thing provides over its predecessors either. Towing a camper with my old 5-speed auto and then moving into the 8-speed, I watched my tow mileage double. Sure, some of it had to do with engine technology too, but I can’t discount what the ZF brings to the table,
I’m gonna be That Guy: CVTs have torque converters. I think that you meant to say good ‘ol automatic transmissions with multiple planetary gearsets. Anyway, the ZF 8HP is pretty rad, and the 6-speed Aisin automatic in the Subaru BRZ is pretty decent in Sport mode.
In the industry, we refer to them as “traditional automatics” when differing them among a CVT or DCT.
I’ll be even more That Guy by saying that while some CVTs have torque converters, many do not, unless of course one adheres the terminology preferred by Comet Clutches in which the CVT pulley-and-belt system itself is called a “torque converter.”