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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News March 4-10, 2013 Just Incase You Were Snoozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY March 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 1,374,418 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 March 4-10, 2013

* In spite of continuing dismal predictions about the lack of strength in the European auto industry, this week's fabulous Geneva Motor Show exuded wonderful new production products as well as concepts and exotics. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat and Chrysler boss, used the opportunity to introduce the new Alfa Romeo 4C sports car as the first of five new vehicles he says will bring the brand back to prominence. Skeptics abound.

* Announced at the Geneva show is the European Car of the Year - the new, 7th generation VW Golf beating, by a wide margin, a field of 32 all-new cars deemed eligible for the important honor. Second place went to the innovative rear-wheel drive sports coupe Toyota GT 86, a car co-designed with Subaru and using the latter's boxer engine. Third place was the practical but lovely Volvo V40.

* We suppose it had to happen, a Ferrari with voice-activated infotainment designed and integrated by Apple. The new Ferrari FF introduced at the Geneva Motor Show even has two iPad Minis integrated into the seat backs so rear seat passengers can enjoy movies if the driver is unable to entertain them just with fast speed cornering. Apple VP, Eddy Cue is on the Ferrari board of directors facilitating the partnership.

* Two major events this weekend will draw a broad range of old car enthusiasts - AutoRama in Detroit and the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The former presented at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit focuses on hot rods, street rods, customs, rat rods, and every conceivable kind of street machine. The latter is one of the most prestigious classic and collector car shows in the country presented at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Resort on Amelia Island just north of Jacksonville. FL. We highly recommend both if you're near one or the other.

* Lots of surprising hybrid announcements came this week during the Geneva show including the LaFerrari with nearly 1,000 horsepower when you combine the V12 with the lithium-ion battery boost, and a plug-in hybrid Bentley. The former is billed as replacing the flagship Enzo. Bentley will offer a plug-in version of the big, luxurious SUV they have scheduled for introduction in 2015. Porsche, Audi and McLaren are also embracing electricity for future models.

* According to the Detroit News, foreign brands score most favorably among women. Only one brand associated with the Detroit-3, Fiat, ranked in the top ten last year. Buick is the lone domestic brand with a higher percentage of female buyers than the industry average. Women influence four out of five new car purchases with their names on 39% of new registrations.

* President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Energy Department, MIT Professor of Physics Ernest J. Moniz, advocates an all-of-the-above approach to energy and favors natural gas as a "bridge fuel" to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming. At a forum last year at the University of Texas, Moniz said natural gas, which emits fewer greenhouse gases than oil or coal, is likely to be part of the nation's energy solution for years to come. So, will we see more of a push for CNG vehicles? We'll have to wait and see.

* The Environmental Protection Agency last summer approved the use of E15 gasoline, increasing the amount of ethanol in pump gasoline. Two bills recently introduced in Congress, however, seek to suspend that approval. House Bill 875 and Senate Bill 344 address concerns with the destructive byproduct of the higher ethanol additive, formic acid, which can contaminate fuel systems, melt plastic and rubber and corrode some metals. Nissan, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW and Volkswagen have previously announced that they will not cover fuel-related claims on their new car warranties. Other companies like Ford, Mercedes and Volvo will not honor any drivetrain warranties in vehicles that use E15. Stay tuned on this subject, too.

* Ford is recalling 230,000 Ford Freestar and Mercury Montery minivans from the 2004 through 2007 model years in 20 cold-weather states and Washington, D.C., to fix rust problems that can cause the third-row seats to come loose.

* Subaru of America is recalling more than 47,000 cars and SUVs with remote starters because the engines can start on their own. The recall affects some Legacy and Outback cars from the 2010 to 2013 model years. Also covered are the Impreza from 2012 and 2013 and the XV Crosstrek from 2013.