Nutson's Auto News Factoids - Week Of January 6-11, 2014


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Auto Central Louisville, KY January 11, 2014 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 1,487,987 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 January 6-11,2014

* Press Preview days at the North American International (Detroit) Auto Show begin this week and TheAutoChannel.com will be there with full coverage. Highlights we already know about include the new Ford F-150, arguably the most important product in the company's entire portfolio, a production-ready hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle from Toyota, a new Honda Fit subcompact, a striking new Chrysler 200 bread-and-butter sedan, a new RC-F coupe for Lexus, the Z06 high-performance Corvette and plenty more.¬

* Chevrolet announced at the Consumer Electronics Show an industry-first Performance Data Recorder for the 2015 Corvette Stingray. The fully integrated system enables users to record high-definition video, with telemetry overlays, of their driving experiences on and off the track.

The Performance Data Recorder, or PDR, system was developed with Cosworth, the British motorsports-engineering company that supplies the Corvette Racing team's data acquisition and telemetry electronics system. It will be available with the start of regular 2015 Corvette production, later in the third quarter of 2014. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.

* Four of Chevrolet‚€™s most important vehicles will be the first to get direct 4G connections to the Internet.¬ GM used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce that the 2015 versions of the Malibu, Impala, Volt and Corvette will have the high speed connectivity, which will be expanded to the rest of the fleet.

*¬ Autobytel.com¬ has named the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee "SUV of the Year," while the 2014 Ram 1500 won the "Pickup Truck of the Year" award.

* Ford CEO Alan Mulally put an end to speculation about his future when he told the Associated Press he is staying at the automaker at least through 2014. As reported by The Detroit Free Press,¬ Mulally‚€™s comments, made during an interview in Dearborn, constitute the most definitive statement Mulally has made since reports surfaced last September that Microsoft was courting him to be the next CEO of the Washington state-based technology giant.

* GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups have won many awards since the recent redesign and Silverado is a finalist for North American Truck of the Year to be announced on Monday at the Detroit Auto Show. But an engine control software issue, that could cause a fire while the truck is idling, is responsible for a recall of 303,000 of those GM light trucks. GM warns not to leave the truck unattended while idling until the software is updated.

* Want to buy a car company - or the parts of one? Fisker announced its intent to liquidate the company by holding an auction rather than authorize a sale to one buyer "to secure the greatest recovery for all stakeholders involved." We've heard speculation that Bob Lutz wanted to build a car company from the ashes of Fisker. That won't be easy if the assets are auctioned separately. We'll watch and see.

* The Federal Trade Commission is putting automobile dealers on notice that dishonest, deceptive and misleading advertising can result is serious fines and sanctions. In an e-mail from the National Automobile Dealers Association to its board members and state association bosses this week the terms of a settlement with the FTC were laid out including that no sanctions would be levied now but they'll all be under scrutiny from here on.

* We'll have to wait a bit longer for our diesel fix from Mazda. Having already delayed the introduction of their promised SkyActiv diesel from early 2014 to spring of 2014 they've now delayed it again. Without any specifics Mazda said the powertrain needed "further development¬ ¬ to deliver the right balance between fuel economy and Mazda-appropriate driving performance." This time they did not provide a projected date for availability.¬

* Ford's global marketing boss Jim Farley felt compelled to apologize for, and further explain, some remarks he made at the Consumer Electronics Show about the company's practice of tracking customers' travels via their car's navigation systems. He joked about knowing who is breaking the law and when they are doing it. Realizing the faux pas he later tried to clarify that they do not monitor or aggregate the data or provide it to anyone.¬

* We'll know for sure this week but all indications are that VW has chosen the Chattanooga assembly plant, now making something over 100,000 Passats per year, to build their new 3-row crossover. That will likely require a major expansion for the Tennessee plant that has only been in operation for a few years.

* BMW is recalling approximately 51,000 motorcycles because of a possible fuel leak. Most of the recalled motorcycles are 2005-11 R and K series models.¬ The problem involves cracks developing in a plastic flange on the fuel pump, possibly after a maintenance procedure is performed incorrectly.

* GM is recalling approximately 9,500 heavy duty 2012 and 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups equipped with 6.2-liter, V-8 diesel engines and dual fuel tanks because of a problem with the fuel pump.

¬ * Land Rover is recalling approximately 3,900 Range Rovers from the 2013-14 model years because the side air bags may not deploy.

* According to a University of Michigan survey, the average fuel economy of all vehicles sold during the 2013 calendar year was 24.8 miles per gallon, which was up 1 mile per gallon from the average fuel economy posted for 2012 and up 3.9 mpg from 2008.

* Even at 81 years of age, drag racing legend ‚€œBig Daddy‚€??? Don Garlits is still innovating and chasing the record books the same way he has for much of his life. Garlits unveiled his new dragster, dubbed Swamp Rat 37, at the SEMA Show. The dragster is powered by a 1500 amp array of lithium polymer batteries that will be built by High Tech Systems LLC, developing what is said to be the equivalent of 2,000 horsepower, more than enough to push the car beyond and breaking the 200 MPH barrier in the 1/4-mile using renewable battery power.¬

* The Detroit Auto Show - the NAIAS- is growing with Cobo Hall's recent expansion and renovation which resulted in 88 rooms within Cobo ‚€” aside from the main exhibit halls ‚€” for small meetings and displays. Suppliers using space within Cobo for media events or displays this year include Denso, Aison, Michelin, ZF, Johnson Controls, PPG, Panasonic and Schaeffler Group, show organizers said. Other suppliers are hosting gatherings at nearby hotels.

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