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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News February 25-March 3, 2013 Just Incase You Were Snoozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY March 3, 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 1,373,404 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 25-March 3, 2013

* The last "Generation 6" Corvette came off the assembly line in Bowling Green this week making way for the new "Stingray." The White convertible with 427 V8 is headed for preservation at the GM Heritage Collection in Warren, MI. As the last car went through the final assembly procedure workers were right behind converting the plant for Stingray production. Several months worth of Gen 6 Corvettes remain on dealer lots.

* Sir Stirling Moss, one of the most accomplished and respected auto racers of all time, returns to the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance next week. Moss was the first Honorary Chairman of the prestigious Amelia Island show in 1996. The Concours' founder and chairman, Bill Warner, calls him "a genuine hero." In addition to a plethora of race cars the 2013 event features the greatest gathering of Cadillac concept cars ever assembled.

* Auto sales posted solid gains for February despite the threat of harsh, across-the-board budget cuts by the Federal government. Analysts note that the sales numbers equate to about a 15.5 million sales rate for 2013 if this level holds. Transaction prices, a good measure of the overall health of the industry, held strong as well.

* Chrysler will invest $374 million in the Kokomo and Tipton, Indiana plants to support building of both 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions. The 8-speed is already in production and the 9-speed will be coming soon. Both are based on Getrag designs.

* GM is planning a 20% increase in plug-in electric vehicle production for 2013 trusting to the new Cadillac ELR (a luxury version of the Chevy Volt), and a stronger market for these low emissions cars. California again accounted for all versions of the Toyota Prius and allows plug-ins and electrics on the express/high-occupancy freeway lanes.

* Hyundai this week settled lawsuits surrounding last year's misstatement of mileage numbers on some of their compact cars. Blaming "procedural errors" the Korean automaker acknowledged the errors but has denied any intent to do defraud or mislead. The settlement involves lump sum payments to owners to compensate for both less than promised mileage and potentially lower resale value. Sister company Kia is still in litigation over the same issue.

* History was made again at the Daytona 500 with pole-sitter Danica Patrick being the first woman to lead a lap in that race. Jimmy Johnson won the 500 for the second time and Danica finished 8th. A wild last-lap wreck in the previous day's Nationwide Series race put Kyle Larson's car airborne and flying into the catch fence with debris injuring at least 28 folks in the stands. All are expected to be OK.

* And other ladies are winning in motorsports, too. At the Arizona Nationals, the second event on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar, Erica Enders went on to earn her fifth career Pro Stock title by defeating Mike Edwards with a holeshot win in the final round to move into second place in the standings.

* Lexus has earned the best overall score in Consumer Reports' 2013 annual Car Brand Report Card. Taking a different approach, CR graded each automaker's individual brands rather than calculating a single score for all the brands under one carmaker. Right behind Lexus are Subaru and Mazda. Overall, eight of the top 10 scores were earned by Japanese brands. Toyota and Acura brands round out the top five. Audi and Mercedes-Benz were the only non-Japanese nameplates to crack the top 10. They were ranked 8th and 10th. European brands were mostly mid-pack with Detroit brands bringing up the rear, for the most part.

* Median-income families in only one major city can afford the average price Americans are paying for new cars and trucks these days. That's the sobering result of's 2013 Car Affordability Study, which determined how much the typical household in the nation's 25 largest cities should spend on a new vehicle. It found that median-income car buyers in the Washington, D.C., area could afford to spend $31,940, or enough to buy a luxurious BMW X1 crossover.

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a number of different brands. One involves complaints of stalling or surging engines in 2009-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs and Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans. About 725,000 vehicles are affected that can unexpectedly shift into "limp home mode."

* Toyota Prius' from 2004-2009 model years are also involved in of one of the new investigations. A total of 561,000 of the high-mileage hybrids are being looked at by NHTSA after reports that the vehicles’ steering shafts were improperly assembled.

* Honda Pilots from the 2005 model-year are being looked at for reports of unexpectedly severe braking that could be caused by a faulty sensor in the crossover-utility vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Assist system. 87,000 vehicles are involved.