Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News Factoids August 12-18, 2013


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Auto Central Louisville, KY August 18, 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 1,473,223 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 August 12-18, 2013

* Ford Motor Co. is cutting the stated fuel-economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid. The new test ratings will be 43 mpg combined, 45 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. C-Max Hybrid EPA/DOT labels have advertised 47 mpg for city, highway and combined driving. Ford said it will provide $550 to U.S. customers who purchased a C-Max and $325 to customers who have leased the vehicle. The EPA said it will update the test procedures used to assign fuel economy ratings to cars "to ensure that the requirements keep pace with industry trends and innovations in advanced high-efficiency vehicles." The EPA said that its own testing rules were a factor that contributed to Ford's overstated mpg claims.

* What a busy weekend this is for every genre of automobile enthusiast with the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in the Detroit suburbs, the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach in California, and out on the Salt Flats of Utah it's the annual Bonneville Speed Weeks where new land speed records are being set. Perhaps the most down-to-earth event is the Woodward Dream Cruise with an expected attendance in excess of 1 million with 60,000 special cars cruising up and down Woodward Avenue from the Detroit city line to downtown Pontiac. The Detroit automakers will all court the crowd with a plethora of introductions and activities for enthusiasts.

* Meanwhile, overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Monterey Peninsula the most special and expensive cars in the world vie for honors in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. "Pebble," as it is colloquially known, appeals to the rich, the famous and the well heeled of the collector car world. A very special Ferrari 250 Spyder is expected to set a sales record at the RM Auction there and automakers will be there as well courting that crowd.

* Cadillac revealed at Pebble a concept car that could become that brand's new halo car. Called Elmiraj this big, sleek coupe shows the angular panache and the long hood of the Cadillac Sixteen concept that many hoped would be produced. The car was driven to Clint Eastwood's house for the reveal. It rides on a new rear-wheel drive platform and is powered by a 500 hp twin-turbo V8. GM design boss Ed Welburn suggests something like it could actually reach production this time.

* Lincoln is also taking advantage of the Pebble Beach aura to launch a new, top-of-the-line trim level for the mid-size MKZ. Called "Black Label" the new trim is comprised of special leathers, woods and other materials giving it a more elegant and exclusive appearance and will be applied to the new MKC small crossover as well. Lincoln, in keeping with their appreciation of fine art, sponsors the Pebble Beach exhibit of the Automotive Fine Art Society.

* Edmunds.com has compiled a list of vehicles that drivers less than five-foot two inches tall may find to their liking. Here's Edmunds.com’s recommended vehicles for short drivers, in alphabetical order, with the price including shipping, for the base model: BMW 3-series - $33,475, Honda Accord - $22,470, Honda CR-V - $23,625, Kia Soul - $15,200, Lexus LS 460 - $72,900, Mazda3 - $17,495, Mercedes-Benz S-class - $93,255, Subaru Forester - $22,790, Toyota Sienna - $27,445, and Volkswagen Passat - $21,640. The test drive is the all-important deciding factor in making a final purchase decision and making sure the car fits you.

* Edmunds.com also offered its subjective opinion for the top dog in each vehicle segment with "The 17 Best Cars You Can Buy". The Best are: Subcompact Car: 2013 Mini Cooper, Compact Car: 2014 Ford Focus, Midsize Sedan: 2013 Nissan Altima, Full-Size Sedan: 2013 Toyota Avalon, Luxury Sedan: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Convertible: 2013 Bentley Continental GTC, Coupe: 2014 Porsche 911, Hatchback: 2012 Ferrari FF, Sports Car: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, Five-Passenger SUV: 2013 Honda CR-V, Seven-Passenger SUV: 2014 Buick Enclave, Luxury SUV: 2013 Range Rover, Small Pickup Truck: 2013 Toyota Tacoma, Large Pickup Truck: 2013 Ram 1500, Minivan: 2014 Honda Odyssey, Electric/Alternative Fuel Vehicle: 2013 Tesla Model S, and Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Prius. There is nothing like an opinion!

* Gil de Ferran, a two-time IndyCar National Champion and Indianapolis 500 race winner, has joined the FIA Formula E Championship as an Official Ambassador. Debuting in September 2014, Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric racing Championship competing in city-centre circuits worldwide. Also, FOX Sports has signed a multi-year, international multi-media deal with the FIA Formula E Championship for broadcast of the series. Two races in the US will be held in Los Angeles and Miami.

* Hyundai told NHTSA it will recall 259,000 cars in two separate actions. About 215,000 Sonatas from the 2006-10 model years and 24,000 Azeras from 2006-11 have a rear cross member that may rust, possibly causing handling problems. Also about 20,000 front-wheel-drive 2013 Santa Fe Sports equipped with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine have a front axle shaft that might break.

* General Motors is recalling about 293,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars in the U.S. because the power-assisted brakes can fail. The recall affects Cruzes from the 2011 and 2012 model years with 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engines and 6T-40 six-speed automatic transmissions.

* Automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. announced the 2013 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVAs). The top Premium Brand is Porsche. The top-scoring Popular Brand is Chrysler Group's Ram brand. The top-scoring vehicle, overall, is the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class Luxury Crossover SUV. Ford Motor Company vehicles score the most segment wins with four categories. With its 2013 win, the Ford Flex Large Crossover SUV has won the IVA award in each of its four years of existence. The Ford F-150 has won the Light Duty Pickup IVA for the past six years. General Motors vehicles win four categories. Toyota Motor Sales vehicles have two wins for Lexus and one for Toyota. Toyota hybrids win the IVAs for both cars (Toyota Avalon Hybrid) and trucks (Lexus RX450h). Chrysler Group vehicles win two categories with the Jeep Grand Cherokee winning for three years in a row. The Honda Fit has won the IVA in the Economy Car category for the past five years. Porsche has won the IVA for Sports Cars in seven of the past eight years. The MINI hardtop has won the award for the past two years.

* American Honda has established a web site where car and movie fans can vote through September 9 for their favorite drive-in theater to win a digital projector from Honda. Why? Later this year movie studios plan to discontinue distribution of films on 35mm format. Converting to digital could cost a drive-in movie owner $75,000 or more. Vote at www.projectdrivein.com and Honda will award digital projects to the top five drive-in theaters that win. Honda says there were once more than 4,000 drive-in theaters across America. Now there are just 368.

* On a more mundane note, Automotive News Europe reported that the European car market grew by 5% in July. They still expect an overall smaller market this year it is a sign that the car market, and the European economy as a whole may be stabilizing.

* Things are fast at Michigan International Speedway. In qualifying, 25 drivers topped the 200 mph barrier. With a lap of 203.949 mph Joey Logano in his Penske Racing Shell-Pennzoil Ford won the pole for Sunday's NASCAR race at MIS. His time broke the previous track-record set by Marcos Ambrose a year ago and was the ninth-fastest pole speed in NASCAR history.

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