Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News December 3-9, 2012 Just In Case You Were Dozing


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Auto Central Louisville, KY December 9, 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 1,359,127 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....Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish readers. see you next week, LN

Automotive News December 9, 2012

* November closed out with big auto sales increases; the biggest since January 2008. Driven by the economy, and the need to replace cars lost by or not bought due to Super Storm Sandy sales hit 1.14 million, up 15%. The seasonally adjusted rate was 15.5 million. Subaru jumped a whopping 60%. BMW Group is up 39%. The Asians made big gains with Honda/Acura up 39%, Mazda up 18%, Toyota up 17%, Nissan up 13%, and Hyundai/Kia up 9%. Chrysler Group is selling well and up 14%, Ford up 6% and GM up 3%. Volkswagen Group was up 31%. And little Suzuki who is leaving the market was up 22%. Small cars are selling like hotcakes.

* Mazda Motor compact crossover SUV, the CX-5, has been named the 2012-2013 Car of the Year Japan. The award was announced by the Japan Car of the Year committee on November 29, 2012. The CX-5 was the first model to adopt the full suite of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies including the engine, transmission, body and chassis.

* AOL Autos announced its 2012 Technology of the Year finalists from a field with over 30 nominees in the areas of Connectivity, Active Safety and Telematics. The field has been narrowed down to 6 finalists many of which are infotainment and navigation related and one is more simple than you would imagine relating to correct tire inflation pressure. AOL Autos is soliciting your vote on the best.

* The American Automobile Association (AAA), has urged the Obama administration to halt the sale of E15 gasoline or auto fuel that contains 15% ethanol. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. today contains 10% ethanol. AAA research says that 95% of drivers have never heard of E15. It is being said that using E15 in older vehicles could cause engine damage. In a statement, AAA said, "AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected." Ford and GM have approved the use of E15 for newer vehicles - model year 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles as defined by the EPA - Chrysler Group only last week said it doesn't approve the use of E15 in any of its vehicles. According to AAA, BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have gone on record stating their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15.

* Hagerty Insurance, who specializes in classic and collector car insurance, said that the storm damaged or destroyed between 8,000 and 10,000 classic cars, making Super Storm Sandy the classic car hobby’s most devastating single loss event ever.

* Another recall of note: about 19,000 2013 Ford Fusions are being recalled because of faulty headlamps, a pretty minor issue that could cause the lens to become foggy over time reducing visibility, something many cars suffer from after a half-dozen years or so. This is the second recall for Fusion after an issue around potential fires shared with the new Escape.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, finally after long delays, this week called for "black boxes" (event data recorders) to be in all light-duty vehicles beginning with the 2014 model year. Most cars and many light trucks already have them…some since the early 1990s, but there remains a serious issue as to who owns the data and what the government or the courts must do to get access to the data.

* The Jeep brand is going to India beginning in the third quarter of 2013. Fiat SpA announced that they will soon be selling both the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler SUVs. Both will be imported to India but officials indicate they may build some models of the Jeep there in the future. These will not be the first Jeeps in India, though, as Indian truck maker, Mahindra & Mahindra built some Jeeps under a license agreement in the past.

* Hyundai is not the only manufacturer to come under fire for overstating fuel mileage. This time it is the unofficial source, Consumer Reports, who say they were unable to get the claimed 47-mpg with Ford's newest hybrids - C-Max and Fusion. CR says their "real-world" tests show them at 37 and 39-mpg respectively. Ford says, poppycock. They claim some owners even report more than 47-mpg and they have no intention of changing their numbers. EPA said they will examine the data. Remember: EPA estimates are for comparisons when shopping for a new car. Your actual mileage may vary.

* From a variety of source we had our first glimpse of BMW's stunning new 4-Series coupe, to be shown in concept form at the upcoming Detroit auto show. Based on the popular 3-Series, but with longer wheel-base and more aggressive stance, it is expected to come in coupe and convertible versions.

* Announced this week: The Motor Trend 2013 Truck of the Year is the Ram 1500.

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