Nutson's Nuggets - June 10-16, 2013 Automotive News Factoids Just In-Case You Were Snoozing


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Auto Central Louisville, KY June 16, 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 1,404,088 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 June 10-16, 2013

* Just when we thought automobile brand attrition was done we saw speculation this week about the possible demise of Dodge. Some of their brands are redundant with Chrysler and Jeep models, particularly the Grand Caravan and Avenger. Wards reports that when Avenger production ends early next year it will not be replaced. Dart seems secure for now as does the solid-selling Charger.

* Cadillac announced pricing this week for the new CTS which moves somewhat upscale from the current (generation two) model. The new car, due at dealers in just a few months, will compete more directly with the BMW 5-Series in content and quality, they expect, and will start at just over $46,000, six grand up from the current version. The new pricing also distances the CTS from the Cadillac ATS.

* NASCAR Nationwide series driver, Jason Leffler, died Wednesday in a crash at Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track in New Jersey. Leffler was a two-time winner of the Nationwide Series and drove in one Sprint Cup race this year. He was 37 years old.

* A press release from Ford this week claims honors for the best subcompact fuel economy with the Fiesta SE with Super Fuel Economy package which earned a 41 mpg test certification from EPA. That model will be at dealers in the next few week.

* Toyota's incoming chairman hinted this week that his company's collaboration with BMW around building a new sport car might be the rebirth of the Toyota Supra, last built in 1999. Toyota just last year introduced a rear-wheel drive small sports car called FR-S. This one would be more midsize, says Chairman Uchiyamada, but he adds that the decision will be made by engineers, not by administrators.

* With electric car sales lagging throughout the brands selling them, GM announced this week an extra $5,000 spiff to get them off the lots. It was not long ago that Nissan lowered the price of its slow-selling Leaf resulting in a promising boost in sales. Lease customers are the vast majority of Volt drivers and now with a $2,399 down payment, customers can qualify for a Volt with a $269 monthly payment for a 36-month lease. In related news, BMW and GM signed on to a new standard for fast charging standards that could result in a 20-minute recharging time for some electrics.

* North Carolina is joining a number of states exploring new fees for hybrid and electric car owners to help make up for revenue those drivers aren’t paying in road-use gas taxes on their fuel-efficient vehicles. Policy makers and some experts argue taxing hybrid and electric vehicle owners is a matter of making sure all drivers help maintain the roads they use and construct new ones.

*Aston Martin will recall about 689 of its 2012-14 models in the United States and another 2,100 globally because the accelerator pedal may break, according to a report the automaker filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

* Chrysler Group LLC has issued a recall of nearly 13,000 2013 Dodge Darts because of a temperature-related stalling problem. Also Chrysler has two new recalls to repair 37,000 pickups. It is recalling 30,000 2013 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups to upgrade software to fix the tail-lamp warning light, and 6,900 2012 Ram 4500 and 5500 heavy-duty trucks to prevent front axle damage.

* Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy and author of the annual Best Global Brands report, has released its 2013 Best Global Green Brands report. The automotive sector dominates with Toyota (#1), Ford (#2), and Honda (#3) claiming the top three spots in this year’s report. Nissan (#5), Ford (#2), Nokia (#9), and UPS (#32) earn honors as the year’s top risers, and new entrants include Nestlé (#14), Kia (#37), ZARA (#48), and Colgate (#50).

* In what is being described as the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by an Indian company in modern history and the second largest acquisition of an automotive parts maker since 2007, India-based Apollo Tyres Ltd. agreed to buy Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. for about $2.5 billion in cash. Based at Gurgaon, India, Apollo is one of India's largest tire companies and is seeking to boost its market share in Europe and the U.S.

* Cars.com, the newspaper owned resource for buying and selling new and used cars, released a list of its editors' picks for top ten base models. The list includes cars that have a lot to offer drivers, even at the base model level. The top ten base models according to Cars.com experts are (ranked by price):2013 Chevrolet Spark LS ($12,995), 2013 Scion xB ($17,555), 2013 Honda Civic LX Sedan ($18,995), 2013 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sedan ($18,655), 2013 Mazda Mazda5 Sport ($20,735), 2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS ($21,240), 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 1 LS ($24,245), 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid($27,995), 2013 Toyota Avalon($31,785), and 2013 Volvo S60 T5 ($32,7950.

* Chrysler Group LLC is returning to Le Mans after a decade-long hiatus and entering two of its new SRT Vipers in the celebrated day-long race, which will be run on the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France, on June 22 and 23. The last time Chrysler competed in international motorsports most gruelling challenge was in 2000.

* The top U.S. auto safety regulator defended the government’s request asking Chrysler Group LLC to recall 2.7 million Jeep vehicles for fire risks, but stopped short of telling owners to quit driving the vehicles under investigation. Chrysler has said the Jeep vehicles are safe and will not recall them. Chrysler has until June 18 to formally respond to NHTSA’s request.

* Jose Froilan Gonzalez, the 'Pampas Bull' who in 1951 became the first driver to win a Formula One world championship grand prix for Ferrari, has died in Buenos Aires at the age of 90, Argentine media reported. Gonzalez beat compatriot and five-times world champion Juan Manuel Fangio to win the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone after making his championship debut with Maserati in Monaco a year earlier. He also won the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race with Frenchman Maurice Trintignant in a works Ferrari in 1954. The stocky Argentine's Formula One career spanned a decade, taking in 26 grands prix. His last appearance for Ferrari came in his home grand prix in 1960.

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