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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News December 24-30, 2012 Just In Case You Were Dozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY December 30, 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 1,362,128 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....Happy New Year, see you next week/year, LN

Automotive News December 24-30, 2012

* Toyota Motor said that it would spend $1.3 billion to settle a sweeping class-action lawsuit with millions of owners of vehicles that were recalled for unintended acceleration problems. Filed in California Federal court, the agreement is one of the largest product-liability settlements in history. Toyota would compensate current and former owners for loss of value on vehicles recalled because of faulty floor mats and other conditions that could cause sudden acceleration. Preliminary approval has been granted by the U.S. District Court. In spite of that news Toyota shares gained 2.6% on the Japanese stock exchange.

* A study from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs has found that mainstream car shoppers are simultaneously ignorant and apathetic about plug-in electric vehicles. The study, which is based on a survey of 2,300 adult drivers in 21 large American cities in fall 2011, is a snapshot of driver sentiment 18 months ago. Since that time, EV marketing efforts for such cars as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt have only modestly increased awareness, according to researchers. “Based on sales data of electric vehicles, and subsequent surveys, we would be very surprised if the result would be much different today than in August 2011,” said John Graham, who designed the study. Dr. Graham is the dean of the university’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The results of the study raise this question: If respondents know so little about electric cars, what are they basing their answers on – except preconceived notions about EVs not necessarily based on facts? (See Also: Electric vehicles=Diversion or Solution?

* IndyCar and Firestone announced the extension of their deal for the tire manufacturer to remain the sole supplier of tires to the IndyCar Series through 2018. Their existing deal was to expire at the end of the 2013 season. Perhaps "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" applies to tires as well as automobiles.

* Suzuki announced some months ago they would close shop in the U.S. apparently to the disappointment of many. Since that announcement Suzuki sales have been booming so much they've had to boost inventory here. That increase in sales won't effect their bankruptcy plan for the U.S. automobile business that leaves the motorcycle business intact.

* Showing amazing confidence, Ford Motor Company announced this week plans to invest $6.2 billion in factory expansions and adding 12,000 new hires by 2015. Presumably, the new hires will be at the lower pay rate approved by the UAW in their last contract. A good share of the expansion will be to facilities in Michigan were the governor just approved a new law making it the newest "right to work" state.

* The 2013 Cadillac ATS and the 2013 Ram 1500 have been chosen by Mark Phelan, auto critic of the Detroit Free Press, as the Free Press' picks for the 2013 Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award.

* A California-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Ford Motor Co., alleging the company has led a "false and misleading" marketing campaign for its 2013 C-Max and Fusion hybrid vehicles.The plaintiff in the suit is Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., who purchased a C-Max Hybrid in October and says he averaged only 37 miles per gallon, lower than the Environmental Protection Agency rated 47 mpg. The EPA this month said it would review Ford's fuel-efficiency claims after Consumer Reports found the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid got significantly worse fuel efficiency than the EPA window sticker suggests. IMO, this is somewhat like the controversy in education. Do you teach to a curriculum or do you teach to do well on a standardized test?

* As 2012 comes to a close, estimates for December U.S auto sales are expected to rise 9%. This would make 2012 the best year for the industry since 2007. With that we wish you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2013.