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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News February 3-9 2013 Just In Case You Were Snoozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY February 10, 2013 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 1,370,984 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 February 3-9 2013

* The 105th Chicago Auto Show media-preview opened this week with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) naming the 2013 Ford Fusion as their Family Vehicle of the Year. Also at the show the PBS program MotorWeek named the Cadillac ATS as overall Driver's Choice winner.

* Introductions at Chicago included the new Toyota Tundra pickup, the Kia Forte 5-door and the Cross GT concept, as well as GM's first passenger car with a diesel engine in a long time. The turbo-diesel powered Chevy Cruze is expected to get around 42 mpg based on GM's in-house testing. That would be a best in the compact segment, they insist.

* Continental AG, one of the largest tier-one auto suppliers, is looking at a system that will monitor a driver's eye movements then decide, through a complex of other sensors, if there are hazardous conditions then warn the driver that is is dangerous to look away from the road. Eye sensors have been used before to assess driver fatigue but this is the first system to be integrated with surrounding conditions.

* Having just debuted at the Detroit auto show last month, the new 7th generation Corvette will drop its top for the upcoming Geneva Auto Show next month. The Stingray convertible will be introduced at this premier European show to emphasize its global importance according the president and managing director of Chevrolet, Susan Docherty.

*We had our first look this week at the new Gen-6 NASCAR race cars at an AutoWeek-sponsored event last week in Detroit. The racer's profile is modestly changed as is the structure. They've taken about 150 pounds out of the chassis and enabled the manufactures supporting NASCAR to more vividly reflect their styling images onto the car. Ford, Chevy and Toyota need to make the cars at least look distinctive even if they are nearly identical. Dodge is not competing in NASCAR this year.

* If you're one of those folks who want one of Ford's popular new electric and plug-in electric vehicles but find your local dealer is not authorized to sell and service them just hold on. Ford is drastically increasing those authorized dealers and say that by spring one third of all Ford dealers will be certified to deal in the electrics.

* We reported here a few weeks ago that Hasbro, maker of the iconic Monopoly board game was trying to decide which of their board tokens would be retired. The little sports car was at great risk. We suggested you all go to their Facebook page and vote to keep the car. We won. The car will be retained, at least for now.

* Chinese auto manufacturer Geely, a unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which acquired Sweden's Volvo Cars in 2010, has acquired Manganese Bronze Holdings, the manufacturer of London's iconic black cab.The acquisition could send many Brits into depression as Geely has vowed to update the black cab fleet with a priority to update its manufacture, improve the sales and service of the taxi, which has been operating in receivership.

* U.S. Energy Department chief Steven Chu told media at the Washington auto show that the Obama administration was committed to its goal of having 1 million plug-in vehicles on America's roads by 2015. Secretary Chu said the government will commit $2.4 billion in stimulus grants to battery manufacturers and encourage auto manufacturers to speed-up EV development. In order to encourage more buyers to consider EVs, the administration is proposing an increase in the tax credits for EVs to $10,000, up from $7,500. Chu said, "For the engineers in the room or those who follow this, you might be saying to yourself, "What are they smoking'? We're not smoking anything...They are ambitious goals but they are achievable goals." Less than one year ago, the Energy Department issued a report that forecast more than 200,000 EVs would be sold in 2012. In actuality, less than 15,000 EVs were sold during the year.

* Super Bowl Sunday is now history, including a power blackout. Chrysler's two ads for Ram and Jeep seemed to have garnered the top spots when it comes to auto ads. There were twelve auto commercials from nine brands. Audi, Hyundai (twice), Toyota, Volkswagen, Lincoln (twice), Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Ram and Kia (twice) ran ads that collectively cost about $90 million for 10 minutes and 45 seconds of air time.