Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News Factoids July 8-15, 2013 Just In Case Your Were Dozing


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Auto Central Louisville, KY July 15, 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 1,411,880 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 July 8-15, 2013

* Chevrolet says the new 2014 Corvette Stingray can deliver up to 30 mpg on the highway in its Eco Mode setting. According to new numbers approved by the EPA, the seventh-generation, or C7, Corvette will average 17 mpg in the EPA city test and 29 mpg in the EPA highway test. The 17/29 rating covers the C7 model equipped with a new, 7-speed manual transmission. The EPA estimate, GM notes, reflects an average 28 mpg highway in the default Tour mode, and the driver-selectable, 30 mpg Eco mode. Automatic and convertible EPA ratings are not yet published.

* Knocked out of the number one spot! The Ford F-250 has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the vehicle most likely to be stolen, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. This is the first year since 2003 that an Escalade variant has not been the vehicle with the highest theft claim rates. The Escalade is now sixth on the list. The report lists vehicles from the 2010-12 model years, and the top 10 vehicles on the list are all large pickups and S.U.V.’s. The vehicles least likely to be stolen are small and midsize vehicles.

* Ford Motor Co. will reduce the price of its 2014 Focus Electric compact car by 10 percent, the latest in a series of price cuts by major automakers on their battery-powered cars. The 2014 Focus Electric, which will reach dealerships in the next few weeks, will have a starting price of $35,200. That is down $4,000 from the $39,200 base price on the 2013 model. The new price excludes government credits and other charges.

* John Chun, an industrial designer who began his automotive career with the “dream job” of sketching design proposals for Shelby American, has died. Rejected by Ford as “too old” for a beginning engineer, Chun was instead hired by Fred Goodell, chief engineer for Shelby American (who’d ironically spent many years with Ford). Goodell immediately tasked Chun with producing concept sketches for the 1967 Shelby GT 350 and GT 500 models. Perhaps Chun’s biggest claim to fame at Shelby was the redesign of the company’s now-iconic coiled-cobra logo

* Philip Caldwell died of a stroke this week at the age of 93. He was the first non-family member to have the top job at Ford taking on the chairmanship of the board in 1980 upon the unexpected retirement of Henry Ford II and the dumping of dynamic president Lee Iacocca. Caldwell was a more sedate leader than his predecessors and was known as a "bean counter" ilk but is credited with recruiting talented people to refresh Ford's product offerings including the first Taurus, the Fox-platform Crown Victoria, the redesigned 1983 Thunderbird and most prominently, the first U.S.-market Escort.

* While electric car makers struggle for acceptance in the market Tesla is selling the new "S" model faster than expected. They have surpassed the planned production rate of 400 cars/week. Company founder and chairman, Elon Musk, told the media he expects to double that pace by late 2014. The cars are produced in the former GM/Toyota NUMMI plant, California's only auto assembly plant where Musk plans on building an ever-expanding range of model offerings.

* Toyota revealed this week a special edition of the Highlander crossover we thought we'd never see - the SpongeBob Squarepants edition. This one-off concept will be shown first at a Padres vs Giants baseball game in San Diego then go out on a nationwide tour. The point of this project is . . . well, we just can't imagine.

* Hyundai revealed the refreshed version of their flagship luxury sedan Equus this week and announced prices will rise about 3%. Base price on the "Signature" model will be just short of 62 grand and the "Ultimate" model will begin at about 69 grand. Considering the company they're keeping in this high end luxury sedan market - Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS - that price is still substantially below what we might expect.

* The Mercedes-Benz W196R race car driven to victories at the 1954 Swiss and German Grands Prix by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio brought a record-setting $29.7 million at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction this week. It is estimated that only 10 of these cars exist today and this one's connection to Fangio accounts for its popularity. That price is nearly twice the previous record of $16.4 million, set two years ago with the sale of a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa.

* The 2013 Concept Car of the Year honors go to Hyundai for the second time. In 2008 the preview vehicle that became the Genesis Coupe won that title and now the wild luxury sedan named HCD-14 gets the nod from a distinguished panel of auto writers. The HCD-14 was seen at many of the major auto shows this year and the company continues to parade it around to special events including some classic car shows.

* The Auto Channel along with the world's auto journalists were previewed the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class in Toronto. We opined, the S-Class is the most luxurious of luxury sedans worldwide, a sophisticated machine that offers comfort and safety that, so far, we have not seen on the market. The availability of the S-Class fuel efficient engines is a logical consequence of the ongoing development of power train technology. The new S-class goes on sale in the U.S. as a 2015 model this September.

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