Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News Factoids March 3 - 9, 2014


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Auto Central Louisville, KY March 9, 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 1,545,318 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 Published March 9, 2014

* February's big chill held industry auto sales flat over last year at 1.19 million units. Subaru continues to rocket even in the cold with sales up 24%. All three of the Detroit carmakers were down. Most every Asian and European company were also down. But, Nissan-Infiniti was up 16% with the Altima outselling Toyota's Camry. Luxury brands continue to rise with Buick up 19%, Lincoln up 36%, Jaguar up 35%, and BMW and Mercedes both up 3%.

* Moving into March, all eyes are Europe's first auto show of the season in Geneva. At the Geneva Show, Bridgestone Corporation and the New York International Auto Show announced the top three finalists for the World Car of the Year, World Luxury Car, World Performance Car, World Green Car and World Car Design of the Year awards. The overall winners in all categories will be declared at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday, April 17, 2014. World Car of the Year finalists are Audi A3, BMW 4 Series, and Mazda3.

* On the eve of Press Days for the 84th Geneva Motor Show, the new PEUGEOT 308, a compact hatchback, has been crowned with the prestigious title of 2014 ‘Car of the Year’, awarded by a jury of journalists representing 22 European countries. 30 new models from North American, Korean, European and Japanese manufacturers, on sale in Europe during 2013, were eligible for the 2014 ‘Car of the Year’ crown. The jury, reflecting the interests and tastes of 58 journalists from 22 European countries, has just delivered its verdict on the strong line-up of seven finalist models pre-selected in December: the new PEUGEOT 308 carried it off on the podium.

* Also at Geneva, Fiat-Chrysler unveiled the new small-ute 2015 Jeep Renegade based on a Fiat platform and for sale around the world. Sharing a platform with the Fiat 500X, it's designed in the US and built in Italy and will compete in the fast growing compact SUV market. Audi debuted the new TT with a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre TFSI engine delivering 420HP at 6,700 rpm, establishing a new benchmark in the 2.0-litre category. With the world première of the T-ROC concept car the Volkswagen brand gave a preview of a possible SUV range. We also saw the Maserati Alfieri and Lamborghini Huracan as well as BMW’s new 2-Series Active Tourer. Renault's new little Twingo, developed jointly with Daimler’s Mercedes to replace its Smart city-car, will have rear-wheel drive which is unusual for a small city car.

* Work is underway to pull the damaged Corvettes out of the sinkhole at the Bowling Green Corvette museum. Two of the Vettes surfaced early this week and then a third. Reports have it that the cars are in surprisingly good condition. We hear that a formal exhibit of the cars “as is,” along with a variety of photos, videos, information and artifacts concerning the sinkhole and recovery is planned for the summer. Then the cars will travel to Michigan for restoration at General Motors.

* GM's recall of vehicles with faulty ignition switches has been labeled "Switchgate". CEO Mary Barra herself is leading the internal investigation as to why it took ten years for GM to act. The US safety agency has submitted a list of 107 questions to GM for answers on the matter.

* Volkswagen is investing more than €10 billion for research and development for the first time. Its EU new vehicle fleet is better than target, at about 128 grams CO2 / km. Already 54 model variants are below 100 grams CO2 / km. Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said, “We have the world’s largest low-CO2 fleet.”

* The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) reported the average fuel economy rating of new vehicles sold in the U.S. was at a record-high 25.2 mpg in February. Average fuel economy, based on the EPA test ratings, of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased last month was up 2.5 mpg from just three years ago and up 5.1 mpg from October 2007.

* Reports from Europe say that Doctors treating Michael Schumacher and other medical experts have told his family that "only a miracle" can save him, sources have claimed. The seven-time Formula One world champion suffered serious brain injuries after hitting a rock during a skiing accident in the French Alpine ski resort of Meribel in late December. He is being treated in hospital in Grenoble where he has been in an artificially induced coma for a total of 69 days.

* William Clay Ford Sr., a former Ford Motor Co. vice chairman and the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford, died today at age 88. He died of pneumonia in his home in Grosse Pointe, Mich., the automaker said in a statement.

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