Nutson's Nuggets: Automotive News and Opinion Week of June 23-29, 2014


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Auto Central Louisville, KY June 29, 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 their "take" as easy to digest nuggets of the past week's automotive news.

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 1,689,925 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 Boston TV viewers, You can now enjoy The Auto Channel TV Network "Free and Clear" on WHDT Channel 3 and your cable system, South Florida auto fans can continue to watch The Auto Channel's TACH-TV on channel 344 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

Nutson's Automotive News Factoids - Week of June 23-29, 2014

* The winner of the 2014 Concept Car of the Year was announced this week during an event at the Vinsetta Garage restaurant in suburban Detroit. Besting other finalists - Nissan Blade, Toyota FT1 and Mercedes-Benz GT6 - the sleek and sexy Cadillac Elmiraj, shown first at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, was the choice of judges. Cadillac’s chief designer, Clay Dean, brought the car to the venue and accepted the award. Restaurant goers were amazed to see such a car out front.

* Chrysler held it’s annual all-product media day at the Chelsea, MI proving grounds this week bringing just about everything they make allowing media members to drive them on a road course, large track and an off-road course. During the event they introduced the new small cargo van to compete with Ford’s Transit Connect and Nissan’s NV200. The Chrysler entry is called the Ram Promaster City and is manufactured in Turkey where the Ford Transit Connect used to be made. The van is already in service in Europe.

* Will we ever be able to stop talking about GM recalls? This week the company announced yet another recall of the bread-and-butter compact Cruze for improperly manufactured airbags that could injure occupants with metal bits if inflated. This recall effects about 30,000 leftover 2013 and 2014 cars. Dealers have been told not to sell those cars until they are fixed.

* We just learned that the victim compensation attorney for GM handling the ignition switch fiasco, Kenneth Feinberg, will announce his plan on Monday for victims and their families who are filing suit with the company. CEO Mary Barra is reportedly insisting that incidents involving the defective ignition switch causing any crash when the engine stalls be included and not just those where the airbag did not deploy.

* Ford hosted the national automotive media in Dearborn this week to introduce the all-new 2015 Ford Edge, a bunch of new technology features and to show off existing products as well. During the event popular CEO Alan Mulally worked the crowd skillfully in anticipation of his stepping down at the end of the month, thanking everyone for supporting Ford through the tough years and announcing he will continue to informally advise new CEO Mark Fields if needed. Mulally is credited with saving the company from bankruptcy when he came over from Boeing not long before the Great Recession.

* Our friends at The Detroit Bureau call it making lemonade out of lemons. The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY just announced they will make an unusual display out of part of the massive sink hole that opened up in their Sky Dome swallowing eight rare Corvettes last February. It appears that not all of the cars can or will be fixed so a couple of them will be returned to the hole with a see-thorough floor installed. Traffic and revenue at the museum jumped significantly after the mishap.

* Jaguar announced this week it will build the F-Type Project 7, the fastest and most powerful production Jaguar ever, based on the respected D-Type race cars of the 1950s. It will be introduced at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed. First customer deliveries will be sometime in mid-2015, so you might want to get your order in early.

* The national auto media drove the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata and also got a tour of Hyundai's state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Montgomery, AL. Watch for a full review of the new Sonata soon here on The Auto Channel.

* There's a big recall due to problems with air bags made by Takata. Honda, Mazda and Nissan combined are recalling another almost three million vehicles worldwide as the recalls continue to spread over Takata airbag inflators that can explode and send metal bits flying. All three also have made previous recalls for the problem -- Honda recalled more than a million last year -- and said supplier Takata notified them that the earlier recalls did not cover all the suspect bags. Toyota also is involved and its latest recall was this month of more than two million vehicles worldwide, including 766,300 in the U.S., many for the second time. The Takata airbag recalls over five years now total nearly 10 million worldwide.

* Heinz Prechter, founder of the company that invented the automotive moonroof, will be inducted into the German-American Hall of Fame in October. Prechter emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in 1963 as an exchange student at San Francisco State College. Less than two years later, he founded the American Sunroof Co. in Los Angeles. Prechter moved the company to metro Detroit in 1967 to install sunroofs for the Ford Motor Co.'s 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7. American Sunroof changed its name to American Specialty Cars Inc. in 2004 and is now headquartered in Warren, Michigan.

* Allegedly, CarMax does not fix vehicles that have been recalled before it sells them, even though the retailer’s ads promise that the vehicles have had a rigorous quality inspection. Saying that advertisements by CarMax, the nation’s largest used-car retailer, are deceptive, a coalition of 11 consumer groups has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

* BMW’s M235i high-performance car has secured the German automaker its highest-ever score from Consumer Reports, beating the costlier Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette in road test reviews. The M235i earned 98 out of a possible 100 points.

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