Random Covid Curiosities

An arbitrary and whimsical look at virus induced tendencies, trends and knock downs. – Autocrat.

6 November 2020 The Pulse of America Weakening. Mood Muddy? Based on responses collected October 14 through October 26, the Household Pulse Survey From the US Census estimates that:

  • 24.1% of American adults expect someone in their household to experience a loss in employment income in the next 4 weeks
  • 36.9% of adults live in households where at least one adult substituted some or all in-person work for telework because of the corona-virus pandemic
  • 10.9% of American adults lived in households where there was either sometimes or often not enough to eat in the previous 7 days
  • 7.0% of adults are either not current on their rent or mortgage payment, or have slight or no confidence in making their next payment on time
  • Of adults living in households not current on rent or mortgage, 28.4% report eviction or foreclosure in the next two months is either somewhat or highly likely
  • 33.1% of adults live in households where it has been somewhat or exceedingly difficult to pay usual household expenses during the corona-virus pandemic
  • 82.5% of adults in households with post-secondary educational plans had those plans cancelled or significantly changed this fall.

4 November 2020 – Safer at Home Economic Effects.  The US Census Bureau today notes that Social Distancing and “Safer-at-Home” procedures in effect for months now have had widespread effects across the economy. Some industries were affected much more quickly, as behavioral changes predated any official stay-at-home directives Census believes.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on economic effects of Covid.

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The first example is transportation revenue, which already was dropping. “Passenger transportation industries saw revenue declines in both the first and second quarters of 2020. However, the results were mixed for goods-moving industries. Quarter-to-quarter percent change in seasonally adjusted revenue for air, truck, and transit and ground passenger transportation and couriers and messengers over the past five years show:

  • Airline transportation revenue fell 17.8% in 2020 Q1, then fell 78.5% in 2020 Q2.
  • Transit and ground passenger transportation revenue fell 9.1% in 2020 Q1, then -40.4% in 2020 Q2.
  • Truck transportation revenue was statistically unchanged in 2020 Q1, then fell 16.7% in 2020 Q2.
  • Couriers and messenger revenue rose 2.3% in 2020 Q1, then rose 6.4% in 2020 Q2.

Safer-at-home practices however quickly impacted the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector of the economy. The percent change in seasonally adjusted revenue for amusement parks and arcades, gambling industries, and performing arts companies saw notable declines in first quarter 2020 revenue followed by much larger second quarter declines in revenue. These declines coincided with the mass cancellations of date nights, family outings, and spring break activities.

  • Amusement parks and arcades revenue fell -19.1% in 2020 Q1, then fell -81.1% in 2020 Q2.
  • Gambling industries revenue fell -12.3% in 2020 Q1, then fell -45.8% in 2020 Q2.
  • Performing arts companies revenue fell -19% in 2020 Q1, then fell -66.1% in 2020 Q2.

“With children crashing virtual meetings and watching infinite hours of TV last spring, you might think that child day care services took a hit as early as the first quarter with many providers closing their doors in mid to late March,” says Census. The data: While some individual providers may have been affected earlier than others, seasonally adjusted revenue did not significantly change in the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter of 2020, seasonally adjusted revenue fell -35.1%.

One of the few industries to see growth in the second quarter of 2020 was community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services, highlighting the substantial efforts of public and private groups to respond to the profound hardships faced during these uncertain times. Seasonally adjusted, the industry increased 31.2% in the second quarter of 2020 after increasing 5.6% in the first quarter of 2020.

“With only two impacted quarters of data available, we have only just begun to measure the impact of Covid-19 on the services economy. Although the duration and overall effects are still unclear, unprecedented revenue trends are likely,” Census observes.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars

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3 November 2020RM Sotheby sold a trio of Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars as a single lot record last week at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale. B.A.T. 5, 7 & 9d are now arguably the most valuable post-war Alfa Romeos selling at auction for $14.8 million. Each concept was produced by Bertone and presented individually to the public at Turin auto salons from 1953-55. The three cars had never been displayed together when new, and each of the B.A.T.s is an important automotive concept.  There were hand-shaped bodywork with progressive drivability and an inventive use of aerodynamics and sculpture.

Ian Kelleher, Chief Marketing Officer, RM Sotheby’s, said: “The sale of the B.A.T. concept cars during Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale represents the second time RM Sotheby’s has offered a motor car as part of a Sotheby’s art sale – the first time being when we sold the Michael Schumacher Ferrari F2001 Formula 1 race car in 2017. Working with them again on the sale of the B.A.T. trio made perfect sense.”

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on the Aznom Palladium

Interior tease – Click to Enlarge.

Monza, 3 November 2020 – The Aznom Palladium will now be revealed on Thursday 5 November 2020. The cancellation of “Milano Monza Open Air Motor Show,” due to the ongoing pandemic, has forced a change of plans for Aznom. (Aznom is an obscure Italian company based in Monza, known for its special packages and customization of high-end vehicles, as well as for the successful design and manufacturing of selected “one off” cars – Autocrat)

The unveiling of the car scheduled for October 29 was called off and the details and images of the hyper-limousine “made in Monza” will be revealed this week. The Aznom Palladium is allegedly one or more of the classic segments and categories of the automotive market.

AutoCrat of AutoInformed.com on Aznom Palladium

Well , here it is. A  reveal photo. Amaze? Ho hum – Autocrat.

This Aznom claims is why the term hyper-limousine was coined, in marketing babble “reminding of a majestic and imposing automobile. Taller, longer, more performing and more luxurious … many descriptions and speculations have surrounded the wait for this vehicle, destined in its nature to intrigue, starting from its name…. and everybody at Aznom is sure that Palladium will amaze beyond imagination.”

AutoInformed.com on Barrett-Jackson Returns to Live Auctions as Covid Rages in Arizona

Too bad the breathless prices weren’t reflected or emulated in the crowd’s breathing.

Barrett-Jackson Returns to Live Auctions as Covid Rages in Arizona

Barrett-Jackson returned to in-person events during the Fall Auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale, October 22-24, 2020 as the Arizona Republic reported that Arizona continues a trend of higher COVID-19 case reports. There were 801 new cases, 1 new death The past several weeks have seen relatively higher daily case reports as the virus spreads at its fastest rate in Arizona since June. Identified cases rose to 238,964 and known deaths were at 5,875, according to the daily report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. The number of patients hospitalized statewide for known or suspected COVID-19 cases was at 837 on Sunday 25 October, up slightly from the three previous days. Wednesday’s 848 inpatients were the highest number reported since Aug. 26. At the peak of Arizona’s surge in July, the number of hospitalized patients suspected or confirmed to have the virus exceeded 3,000.

During the three-day auction, the “100-% No Reserve docket” included 442 vehicles that sold for more than $23.5 million, while 349 pieces of automobilia brought in more than $634,000 and $845,000 was raised through the sale of three charity vehicles, bringing the total amount sold on the Barrett-Jackson auction block to more than $24.9 million. In addition to the online and global TV audience, bidders, consignors and invited guests attended in person.

The 2020 Fall Auction had three private collections and produced 27 world auction sales records, including the auction’s top seller, a 2018 Ford GT (Lot #748) that sold for $1.21 million. On Thursday, world-champion rallycross driver Ken Block was on the block to help auction his 2016 Ford Focus RS RX (Lot #3000), which sold for $200,000 to benefit Team Rubicon. Nearly 20 hours of live auction coverage premiered on A+E Networks across FYI and HISTORY, while Barrett-Jackson.com streamed all the cars, all the time.

The top vehicles, all selling at No Reserve, during the 2020 Fall Auction:

  1. 2018 Ford GT (Lot #748) – $1,210,000
  2. 2012 Lexus LFA (Lot #749) – $440,000
  3. 2005 Ford GT (Lot #725) – $302,500
  4. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Coupe (Lot #763.1) – $286,000
  5. 2017  Dodge Viper ACR (Lot #757) – $229,900
  6. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window Custom Coupe (Lot #753) – $214,500
  7. 1970 Plymouth HEMI ’Cuda (Lot #740) – $209,000
  8. 2016 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Race Car (Lot #726) – $198,000
  9. 2020 Jeep Gladiator Custom Demon Rubicon (Lot #760) – $198,000
  10. 1968 Pontiac Firebird Custom Coupe (Lot #698) – $187,000
  11. 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible (Lot #771) – $187,000

The three charity vehicles included:

  1. Ken Block’s 2016 Focus RS RX (Lot #3000) ‒ $200,000 benefiting Team Rubicon
  2. 2019 Ford F-350 Lariat Custom Pickup (Lot #3001) ‒ $275,000 for Building Homes for Heroes
  3. 2020 Chevrolet Corvette (Lot #3002) – $370,000 benefiting Heartstrings Foundation

This Automobilia Auction included 349 genuine, authentic items that sold for more than $630,000. The top Automobilia pieces that sold during the 2020 Fall Auction include:

  1. 1950s Mobiloil Pegasus Animated Porcelain Neon Sign (Lot #8298) – $40,250
  2. Large 1929 Shell Oil Porcelain with Neon Sign (Lot #7299) – $18,400
  3. Late 1950s – Early 1960s Texaco Oil Neon Porcelain Sign (Lot #7298) – $17,825
  4. 1955 Texaco Fuel Island with Two Bowser Gas Pumps (Lot #8251) – $17,250
  5. 1928 Texaco Oil Wayne 515 Visible Gas Pump (Lot # 7270) – $13,800

Ken Zino of AutInformed.com on New York Auto Show Moves to August 2021 as Covid Continues26 October 2020 – Covid Causality: New York Auto Show Shifts to August 2021. In the ongoing public education of the organizers of the New York Auto Show, they now say the next live version will be held in August of 2021. “Looking at all the issues we’re facing, we have determined that moving the dates of the 2021 NYIAS to August is not only the responsible thing to do, but it puts us in a unique position to occupy the expanded Javits Center with an additional 100,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space on the main floor and much more,” said  Mark Schienberg, President of the NYAS.

Stay tuned, though, the show has shifted positions before: Most notably back on 11 March  2020 when it  rescheduled to August 28 – September 6, 2020 from April. That holding action came after the show said only one week ago that the show would go on. (AutoInformed – New York Auto Show Claims It Will Happen)

As AutoInformed said then, “The show’s fate of course will be determined by public health departments at the city, state and federal levels. Then as now there is no known vaccine for preventive or ameliorative use against COVID-19.”

This still applies, despite the denials and obfuscations of the federal government, and the president’s apparent refusal to get tested or stop touching people in crowds after he contracted the virus. Trump has continued to dismiss the severity of the outbreak, made demonstrably false claims about the nature of the virus and – true to form –  politicized the crisis – by  saying over and over again that his opponents and the media are politicizing it. Trump still claims he is the victim not the hundreds of thousand of people who have died and the millions more who are jobless, homeless and hungry because of his pursuit of his own political health at the expense of the people of the United States. 

15 Oct. 2020 – Rolls-Royce Introduces Cleanest Motor Car Micro Environment. When developing the latest generation of luxury products, Rolls-Royce engineers sought to elevate air quality within its existing motor cars to unprecedented levels of purity. By using the latest sensor and Nanofleece filtration technology, the marque claims the cleanest microenvironment available in any motor car.

“The importance of protecting clients from harmful carbon and pollen particles, as well as viruses and bacterial contaminants, has been of the utmost importance to the marque…since 2015, all Rolls-Royce motor cars have benefited from state-of-the-art air filtration equipment,” Rolls claimed.

For the new Ghost, which debuts in autumn 2020, this technology has been developed to incorporate hardware and software improvements, collectively dubbed the MicroEnvironment Purification System. Impurity Detection Sensors have been introduced to detect ambient pollution levels, automatically switching fresh air intakes to Recirculation Mode if unacceptable levels of airborne contaminants are present. This channels all cabin air through a Nanofleece filter, which can remove nearly all ultra-fine particles, viruses and bacteria from the Rolls-Royce’s interior in less than two minutes.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on taxpayer costs because of the failed Trump Covid Response Plan and its effects on Budget Deficits.

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15 Oct 2020 – Federal revenues are projected to fall from 16.3% of GDP in 2019 (already down because of the Republican tax cuts for the rich) to 15.5% in 2021, primarily because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic and the federal government’s lack of a vigorous public health response by the Trump Administration. Revenues rise after 2021, reaching almost 18% in 2030, because of the expiration of temporary provisions enacted in response to the pandemic and scheduled increases in taxes. Big, big unknowns that puts this CBO forecast at risk is the ongoing reappearance of the Covid virus and the virtually certain negative effect it will have on the economy and tax collections. Other factors such as a new round of COVID relief measures to prevent further economic destruction to the non-wealthy citizens and bailouts of companies are also quantifiable but seem likely.

14 Oct. 2020 The pandemic has been great for the van market with recreational vehicle (RV) demand spiking to record highs while proliferating delivery businesses serve customers working from home.

  • July RV shipments were the highest in 40 years at 43,035 units, and 46 million Americans say they plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months, according to the RV Industry Association.
  • More than half of all motor-homes sold in the United States are built on Ford chassis. Ford is responding to growing demand with appearance updates for the 2021 Transit, including new wheel choices and three new exterior colors that keep their good looks even when covered in campsite dirt. Three new option packages include the updated Transit Motorhome Prep Package for cutaway, the new RV Prep Package for cargo van and a new Adventure Prep Package for cargo or crew van.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns (CBP), the 907,426 businesses in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector topped all others with 20 million employees and over $1.0 trillion in annual payroll in 2018. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects this sector will grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, due largely to an aging population with increased health care needs.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Federal Debt Held by Public 1900-2050By the end of 2020, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 98 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—its highest level since shortly after World War II. If current laws governing taxes and spending generally remained unchanged, debt would first exceed 100 percent of GDP in 2021 and would reach 107 percent of GDP, its highest level in the nation’s history, by 2023, CBO projects. Debt would continue to increase in most years thereafter, reaching 195 percent of GDP by 2050.

Volkswagen Motorsport has been forced to cancel its appearance at Goodwood SpeedWeek in the south of England (16-18 Oct 2020) so as not to compromise the health of its employees. The background to this decision is the infection rate of the coronavirus, which has accelerated dramatically over the past few days – not only in England, but throughout Europe. Roughly 30 Volkswagen Motorsport employees were scheduled to attend the automobile festival.

The original plan was for Volkswagen Motorsport to compete in the shootout at Goodwood SpeedWeek with the 500 kW (680 PS) ID.R. The format is like the Goodwood Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which Romain Dumas won at the wheel of the ID.R in 2018 and 2019. Last year, the Frenchman set a record with a time of 39.90 seconds. The ID.R, the flagship of Volkswagen’s electromotive offensive, would not have been the ID. family’s lone representative. The ID.3, the first production model from Volkswagen’s range of fully-electric vehicles, was also scheduled to attend Goodwood, where it would have been presented alongside the ID.R.

Acura MDX Flagship Prototype Not Revealed at New York Auto Show

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on the 2021 Acura MDX Prototype - Not Shown at the Cancelled 2020 NYAS

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Twenty years after the launch of the first-generation model at the 2000 New York Auto Show, the new design and lavishly appointed interior of the new MDX did not appear as planned because the NYAS was cancelled.

What wasn’t said in NEW YAWK

  • MDX Prototype is a design transformation, with a low and wide stance, long hood and sleek pulled-back cabin evoking a more dynamic character.
  • New interior improves in craftsmanship, materials and technology, including Acura Precision Cockpit all-digital instrumentation.
  • Fourth-generation MDX debuts all-new SUV platform with MDX’s first-ever double wishbone front suspension engineered for Type S-levels of performance.
  • New MDX to arrive at dealers early next year; MDX Type S to follow in summer of 2021.
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