Nutson's Nuggets: Here Is Last Week's (Nov 5-11 2012) Automotive News In Case You Were Dozing


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Auto Central Louisville, KY November 11, 2012 Each week Larry Nutson, The Auto Channel's Chicago Bureau Chief, along with Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau give you easy to digest nuggets of the past week's automotive news you may have missed.

If you are a car nut like we all are, you can easily "catch up" on these stories as well as the past 16 years 1,356,398 automotive news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, rants and raves by just searching for the subject you are interested in The Auto Channel's Automotive News Archive. Hey South Florida TV viewers, I know you are enjoying watching The Auto Channel's TACH-TV on channel 44 WHDT-TV Palm Beach (Cable 17 and 438, channel 9 Miami and channel 32 Fort Meyers-Naples, and thanks for the positive feedback.... See you next week, LN

Automotive News November 5-11 2012

* The election is over. President Barack Obama is in for a second term. We probably will be hearing more about electric vehicles, cleaner burning fuels and back-up cameras.

* According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the average fuel economy - based on window stickers of new cars sold in October - rose to 24.1 mpg and represents the highest recorded since October 2007 when the group began monitoring fuel consumption. This year's cars were up 4 mpg from those researched in October 2007. According to the study, the 20% improvement in fuel economy corresponds to a 17% reduction in fuel consumption. It also states that the reduction in fuel consumption translates to a 19% improvement in greenhouse gas emissions.

* EPA may be taking a hard look at many of the high fuel economy figures required to be used by car companies on the vehicle Monroney label window sticker and in advertising. They may also be taking a hard look at themselves. Has the industry followed the rules or has the agency not paid close enough attention? The audit that caught Hyundai and Kia is part of “an ongoing investigation,” suggesting that the mileage figures used by other makers will now face close examination.

* In what was a predictable move, American Suzuki Motor Corp. said it will pull out of the U.S. auto market and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, because of slow sales, unfavorable foreign exchange rates and high costs due to U.S. regulatory requirements. The company said it will continue its motorcycle, ATV, and marine engine business units and will continue to honor customer warranties.

* In the ongoing issue of Hyundai and Kia fuel economy ratings, two lawsuits have been filed seeking class action status and damages for loss in car values. This story promises to linger for a long time. After admitting to "procedural errors" in their testing of fuel-economy, Hyundai and Kia has already made plans to compensate owners according to a fairly simple schedule. Experts think this could cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars.

* Also in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, more than 15,000 new vehicles may need to be scrapped and close to 250,000 new, used and owned vehicles may have been damaged.

* Maserati announced this week that they will introduce a new larger Quattroporte (four-place) sedan at the January 2013 North American (Detroit) International Auto Show. Last year, as you may recall, they showed a concept Maserati SUV called Kubang based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, that is getting closer to production. Power for the Quattroporte will be a Ferrari V8 and a bi-turbo V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

* Jaguar is recalling about 5000 model year 2010-2012 XF models equipped with 5-liter V8 in the United States to fix a potential fuel leak problem, according to documents filed with the NHTSA.

* Mazda Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have come to an agreement that will have Mazda building compact cars for Toyota at its new plant in Mexico for distribution in North America. The Mazda plant is set to begin production of the Mazda2 and Mazda3 models in the spring of 2013. Production of a Toyota compact based on the Mazda2 is set to begin in 2015 with projected annual production of 50,000 units per year.

* Chrysler is recalling over 919,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs worldwide due to a potential defect that can cause their airbags to unexpectedly inflate while the vehicles are being driven. NHTSA reports that the Jeep problem involves Grand Cherokees produced in the 2002 through 2004 model-years, and Liberty SUVs produced in 2002 and 2003.

* Staring at last weekends Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance were Bob Lutz and one of the cars he championed at GM, the fantastic, 1,000 horsepower, Cadillac Sixteen. While it did not make it to production - no one expected it would but many hope something similar would come to fruition - the beautiful 16-cylinder concept car influenced future designs at Cadillac. Lutz, honorary chairman for the event, was surprised by the appearance of the car as it was kept a secret from him.

* Rumors of the demise of storied Italian marque Lancia may be premature as Fiat/Chrysler officials announce they will reduce but not eliminated the brand's vehicles. It appears "Lancia's lifeline will be Chrysler," according to automotive expert Jim Hall, in an interview with The Detroit Bureau. In the glory days of the 1950s and 1960s Lancia built many fast and sexy sporting cars and also won many races.

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