Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News March 11-17, 2013 Just Incase You Were Snoozing
Auto Central Louisville, KY March 17, 2013 Each week Larry Nutson, Senior Editor, New York Bureau of The Auto Channel, 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 year's 1,375,318 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 March 11-17, 2013
* The U.S. Treasury sold at least 17.2 million shares of stock in General Motors Co. in February as it vows to exit its stake in the Detroit automaker by March 2014. In a report to Congress early this week, Treasury said it had raised $489.9 million from the sale of shares in GM last month.
* Exposing the elephant in the room Martin Winterkorn, VW boss, said this week that hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems are unlikely to become a cost-effective powertrain. VW is putting its bets behind plug-in hybrids which they will offer throughout the entire product range to meet stringent European and US fuel economy rules.
* The major U.S. auto shows culminate next week with the New York International Auto Show where a variety of fresh products will be shown. We learned that BMW will join the select group of automakers offering diesels with the introduction of the 328d sedan. The 3-Series sedans have been the benchmark for compact sport sedans for years.
* Henrik Fisker resigned this week from the auto company he created and that bears his name. Fisker cited "several major disagreements . . . with the . . . executive management on the business strategy." It has been no secret that the company need an urgent infusion of capital and has been taking to Chinese investors. Fisker Automotive is the maker of the Karma, a battery-powered luxury sports that sells for about $100,000.
* Ford Motor Co. is recalling about 6,500 new 2013 Ford Focus, C-Max and Escape vehicles to replace a rear door lock that may have a faulty child safety mechanism. The child lock on the left rear door may have been installed incorrectly.
* ExxonMobil says that diesel fuel demand will surpass that of standard gasoline by 2020, according to a recent report. Looking to 2040, they say oil will still remain the world‚€™s foremost fuel source. Hybrids will make up about 40-percent of the world‚€™s vehicle fleet by 2040, and they will be more than 50 percent of new car sales, from the present 3%. ExxonMobil says that electric and plug-in hybrids will see sales growth but will still be held back by high cost and limited range.
* The NHTSA is looking at possible brake light problems with 2004-11 Chevrolet Malibus, 2007-09 Saturn Auras, and about 550,000 Pontiac G6s, alleging that the brake lights do not operate properly on these model years.
* Japanese auto companies used to being seen as virtually flawless continue showing their fallibility with the announcement this week that Honda will be recalling a quarter million vehicles worldwide for potential brake problems. The recall effects both Honda and Acura products most of which were sold in the U.S.
* The sleek new, fully-redsigned Chevy Impala, due in dealer showrooms next month is not immediately replacing the long-in-the-tooth current Impala. Chevy marketing chief, Chris Perry, told journalists this week that the old version will continue to be produced for about another year and sold exclusively for fleet use. In the past year it has been primarily sold to fleets anyway as it has been unable to compete with new competitors.
* The 2013 J.D. Power Customer Service Study is out and Lexus tops the list of brands meeting customer expectations for the fifth year in a row. The study measures owner satisfaction with service departments in a variety of categories. Independent service facilities are surveyed as well but it turns out that owners were more satisfied with service from the major automaker's dealers.
* President Obama called on Congress to approve $2 billion to fund an Energy Trust Fund for advanced vehicle technology development by using funds generated from oil and gas exploration in federal waters. This is the latest in a series of proposals to boost the weak market and low interest in alternatively powered vehicles and fuel more cars with electricity, biofuels and natural gas.
* Also, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report noting that fuel economy increased 16% between 2007 and 2012 while carbon dioxide decreased by 13% during that time. Fuel efficicency for cars and trucks was estimated to have improved by 1.4 miles per gallon in 2012 alone, the report said. Compared to five years ago, consumers have twice as many choices when it comes to hybrid and diesel vehicles to purchase and a ‚€œsix-fold increase in the number of car models with combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or higher.‚€???