Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News May 12-19, 2013 Just In-Case You Were Snoozing


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Auto Central Louisville, KY May 19, 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 1,383,231 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 May 12-19, 2013

* Volkswagen Group and Ford Motor Co. finished first and second in Strategic Vision's annual study measuring quality and how deeply consumers feel about a new car or light-truck purchase after several months of ownership. For the first time in over ten years, domestic automakers, led by GM, topped foreign brands in individual product segments in this survey. General Motors and Hyundai Motor Corp. tied for third.

* The NHTSA has advised states to cut their threshold for drunk driving from .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level to .05. The approximate 40% cut in BAC levels would bring it to the same standard as in more than 100 countries around the world. Traffic deaths related to alcohol usage dropped by half within 10 years of implementing the .05 BAC standard in Europe. Opponents, like the National Motorists Association, insist that 'impairment' begins well beyond 0.10 and the effort to continually lower the level constitutes a new prohibition.

* For sixty years Americans have tended to drive more every year. But in the middle of the last decade, the number of miles driven — both over all and per capita — began to drop, notes a report published by U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization. A generational preference for walking and public transportation has driving among millennials down by 23%. Younger people are less likely to drive — or even to have driver’s licenses — than past generations for whom driving was a birthright and the open road a symbol of freedom. It’s not just Millennials. Overall, the percentages of Americans of driving age who actually were licensed fell to just 86% in 2011, a 30-year low.

* Ford Motor Co. has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the compact van category with its Ford Transit Connect van. GM wants in and has turned to Nissan Motor Co. to put Chevrolet dealers into the small cargo van market. GM said it will rebadge Nissan's new, Mexico-built four-cylinder NV200 commercial van as the 2015 Chevrolet City Express in the fall of 2014.

* Honda will build it in Ohio! The new Acura NSX concept debuted during the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Powered by a V-6 engine and paired with Acura's new sport hybrid all-wheel drive system, Honda announced that the new NSX will be built at the new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio starting in 2015. We can't wait.

* The Subaru Forester was the only one of 13 small crossover SUVs to earn an overall rating of good in a new small overlap test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport got an acceptable rating. Rated marginal were the Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Jeep Wrangler and Volkswagen Tiguan. Five small crossovers were rated poor: the Ford Escape, Jeep Patriot, Buick Encore, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.

* Performance sedan lovers who prefer to buy American will be happy to know that Cadillac will be offering a new 410-horsepower, twin-turbo, 3.6-liter V6 in the new CTS. That same powertrain will find its way into the larger XTS sedan for 2014.

* In Europe some manufacturers have introduced headlight systems that consist of a permanent high beam that becomes shaded automatically when oncoming vehicles are detected, preventing the high beam from blinding the oncoming driver. Volvo and Audi have introduced the shaded high beam headlights in Europe and now Toyota Motor has joined them in lobbying the NHTSA to allow their use on the U.S. vehicles.

* Honda may return to F1 next year as an engine supplier, initially providing new specification engines to possibly McLaren.

* Trailers for sale or rent! Now this is a step in the right direction to allow us to drive more efficient vehicles every day and yet still be able to take that family vacation and have the right vehicle for it. The silvery-aluminun Airstream trailer that has been around since 1931 is now being made available for rental along with a GMC Yukon to tow it.

* Chrysler is recalling about 469,000 Jeeps worldwide. About 295,000 of these are in the United States. The recall is because the transmission could shift by itself from park into neutral. Models covered are the 2006 to 2010 Jeep Commanders and 2005 to 2010 Grand Cherokees.

* The famed Nurburgring racetrack in Germany officially goes on sale this week after failing to garner a government bailout to prevent bankruptcy. The track hosts a handful of big events each year and is used by many automakers to test and develop performance cars. According to officials it generates about $80 million in income and the estimated sale price is $170 million.

* Legendary NASCAR driver Dick Trickle died this week apparently at his own hand. He was found next to his pickup truck at a Lincoln County, North Carolina cemetery with what appears to have been a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Trickle was a midwesterner who made his mark first in short track racing and was a mentor to other NASCAR racers.

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