Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News December 31, 2012-January 6, 2013 Just In Case You Were Dozing
Auto Central Louisville, KY January 6, 2013 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 17 years 1,368,234 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 New Year, see you next week/year, LN
Automotive News December 31, 2012 - January 6, 2013
* 2012 is over. Auto sales climbed. 14.49 million vehicles were sold; up 13% over 2011 and the best year since 2007. Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz set new U.S. annual sales records. Volkswagen, BMW, and Honda had huge December sales. Chrysler was up 10%. And the best selling car, the Toyota Camry; the best selling truck is the Ford F-series pickup. 2013 is forecasted to hit 15.5 million.
* Thousands of motorcycle helmets are being recalled because riders using them may not be fully protected in a crash. The recall involves 30,000 XTS helmets by Vega Helmet. The NHTSA says testing found that a few did not meet crash protection safety standards. The recall will start in late January and centers on large, extra-large and double-X helmets made between May 2011 and last October.
* The NHTSA said it would not meet its Dec. 31 deadline to set new rear visibility rules that could lead to backup cameras. It's the fourth delay since Congress approved legislation in 2007 requiring new standards for rear visibility amid concerns about the costs raised by automakers.
* Avis Budget Group, the car rental company, bought Zipcar for $491.2million. Zipcar has been around since 2000 and is the leader in the car-share market with about 760,000 members, known as Zipsters. For all the Millennials living in urban cities, who regularly use public transit or their bicycles and who don't want to own a car but occasionally need a car or truck for an hour or a weekend, short term rentals are a good and also smart way to go.
* Teaser photos of what is supposed to be the new C7 Corvette appeared virtually everywhere right after the New Year. But…one industry journo suggested that it may be a well planned ruse by Chevrolet, suggesting the photos were purposely leaked and that the new C7 will be quite different. We'll have to wait and see at the upcoming NAIAS in Detroit.
* Subaru announced a recall that seemed to confuse all the media. Subaru needs to inspect about 54,000 vehicles that may have defective wiring in the accessory puddle-lamp feature. However, they have to notify approximately 634,000 owners to find those 54,000 cars because the accessory was dealer installed and they don't have accurate records of those cars. So, it's a small recall with lots of mail.
* General Motors Co. reported that it is the first U.S. automaker to have produced one million vehicles with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings of at least 30 mpg. The automaker has thirteen 2012 models rated at 30 mpg highway or more. In 2013 GM plans to introduce new diesel, eAssist, and plug-in vehicles in the United States and expand the availability of turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
* "Plastic, young man" (spoken to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate). The new Fiat 500L, a longer wheelbase Fiat 500, is set to launch in the U.S. this year and will feature rear fixed side windows molded from SABIC’s clear Lexan GLX PC and black Cycoloy resin. The new windows reduce weight by about 35% compared to glass and also improve aerodynamic performance and improve styling.
* GM is recalling more than 68,000 new SUVs, pickups and vans that could roll away after being parked due to a defective shift interlock. Models included are the 2013 Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Express, Silverado HD, Silverado LD, Suburban and Tahoe; and GMC Savana, Sierra HD, Sierra LD, Yukon and Yukon XL.
* Thinking ahead to spring we just received the press release from the lovely Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance announcing they will be exhibiting 9 rare (one-of-a-kind-each) Cadillac concept cars from a 1949 Fleetwood Coupe DeVille to the Lutz-inspired 2003 Cadillac Sixteen. The show, near Jacksonville, FL, runs the weekend of March 8-10 and is recognized as second only to the Pebble Beach show in prestige.
* The new electric version of the cute and popular Fiat 500 was awarded a best-in-class fuel mileage rating by the EPA this week. The Fiat 500e is rated at 108-MPGe on the highway with a driving range of 87 miles. The car is a full-electric and the mileage rating is calculated as an "equivalent" to a vehicle using liquid fuel.
* Deep thinkers have been asking for a few years now how highway funding will be sustained as cars become much more fuel efficient (electrics using no fuel at all) that fuel tax revenues (which primarily fund highway maintenance) continue to decline. One answer might be for all states to follow the lead of Washington state where electric vehicles will have a $100 surcharge added to their registration tab to pay for highways. As the saying goes, "there is no free lunch".
* Volvo S60 sedan earned the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick+ award this week. Winners of this new award must score good or acceptable performances in crash testing on the new offset or "overlap" collision test that we've seen some usually very safe cars fail recently.