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Nutson's Nuggets: Here Is Last Week's (October 29-November 4 2012) Automotive News In Case You Were Dozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY November 4, 2012 Each week Larry Nutson, The Auto Channel's Chicago Bureau Chief, 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 16 years 1,355,435 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 October 29-November 4 2012

* The two big news stories this week are Hurricane Sandy and of course the Presidential election. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the storm. We hope for a speedy recovery. Sandy's impact on the auto world will be significant. Many destroyed vehicles will need to be replaced. Many unsold new and used vehicles have been destroyed.

* Sandy threw sand on dealer sales in the Northeast but October still closed out with new vehicle sales up 7% to an annual selling rate of 14.3 million. Toyota was up 16%, Honda up 9%, and Nissan down 3%. Chrysler gained 10%, GM about 5%, and Ford stayed flat bumping up only 0.3%. Volkswagen Group was up 20% and Hyundai/Kia down 4%. BTW, it's car sales, and not trucks, that's fueling the sales increases.

* A big annual event this week, but not open to the public, is the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas. Every serious aftermarket and specialty automotive business needs a presence there and the show fills every available space in the largest conference venue around. One piece of intriguing news associated with the show came from Ford this week as they announced a complete steel body shell for the classic '40 Ford Coupe will be available through their Restoration Parts catalogue.

* An on the political front, the car companies have tried to stay out of the election, even banning visits to production facilities by candidates…a practice in many industries, not just the automotive. The Romney campaign mis-stated information about Chrysler Group LLC moving Jeep production to China and also mis-stated about GM adding jobs in China that were once in the U.S. To this extent, both companies made new public statements basically saying that the Romney campaign is wrong and spreading false information.

* Our favorite quote of the week came from Chrysler's talented and glib design chief, Ralph Gilles in response to a statement from notorious loose cannon, Donald Trump who claimed that Chrysler was moving all Jeep manufacturing to China. The statement was based on a groundless Romney campaign ad that has been discredited by all sources. Gilles immediately Tweeted, "You are full of shit." He later Tweeted, "I apologize for my language, but lies are just that - lies."

* The annual Consumer Reports Reliability Study was released this week with Asian brands at the top of the charts. Toyota's three brands led the way with Scion first, followed by Toyota and Lexus. Mazda was fourth ranked. Europeans followed with Audi, now in the top 10, having made significant improvement. GM made the biggest gain rising 14 points to 11th, but Ford sank to 27th and Chrysler was down in the ranks.

* Toyota celebrated the 25 millionth vehicle manufactured in North America at a ceremony at its Georgetown, Ky. plant coinciding with the start of production for the all-new 2013 Avalon. The milestone vehicle -- a Classic Silver Hybrid Avalon -- represents 26 years of manufacturing, a direct investment of nearly $24 billion in North American operations and 365,000 jobs created in the U.S.

* Honda celebrated its 30th anniversary of building cars in the U.S. by announcing it will invest $200 million and hire 200 people in Ohio. Investments at the Anna Engine and Honda Transmission plants near Marysville bring Honda's investment in U.S. auto manufacturing to $12.5 billion, including $8 billion in Ohio, since the first 1983 Honda Accord rolled off the line on Nov. 1, 1982.

* Hyundai, the 40mpg company, and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy, due to test procedure interpretation errors, posted on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold since late 2010. EPA mpg ratings for 2012 and 2013 models will be reduced as a result of an EPA investigation. They apologized, will change the window stickers with most of the adjustments 1 or 2 mpg and compensate owners by way of debit cars based on savings they should have had plus 15% for the inconvenience.

* Tesla's Model S, touted as the "world's first premium electric sedan," was chosen by AUTOMOBLE Magazine as their "Automobile of the Year." Elon Musk, cofounder and CEO, says it is confirmation that they have built "a great car, not just a great electric car." The Model S was designed from scratch without relying on any existing "platform" from an existing manufacturer. The lithium-ion battery packs the luxury sedan claims an EPA-certified range of 265 mile.

* RM Auctions' London Battersea sale this past weekend was led by a 1959 Ferrari 250GT LWB Berlinetta "Tour de France" that brought $3.4 million. An Alfa Romeo 6C Testa Fissa brought $1.25 million.

* And in IndyCar, Randy Bernard is out as CEO of the racing series after a special meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. Bernard was in the third year of a five-year contract and will remain in an advisory capacity. Jeff Belskus, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO, was named interim IndyCar CEO. IndyCar lost $7 to $8 million and tv ratings are down.