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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News April 8-14, 2013 Just In-Case You Were Spending Spring Break In Disney World

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Auto Central Louisville, KY April 14, 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 1,379,006 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 April 8-14, 2013

* If you think concept cars get unveiled only at major auto shows, think again. Renault unveiled a striking blue concept car by Ross Lovegrove, a British furniture and product designer, at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano furniture show. The electric city car, dubbed the Twin’Z, has center opening doors and is dotted, outside and in, with hundreds of LEDs.

* At any moment during daylight hours, according to a new NHTSA study, 660,000 Americans are using cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. Most folks know that texting while driving is dangerous but continue to do it. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said they answer their phone while driving.

* Though racing movies tend to draw small audiences Universal Pictures announced this week they will release a Formula One-based film directed by Ron Howard this fall. Based on the intense competition between Niki Lauda and James Hunt in the 1970s the film called "Rush" will first be shown in Europe with U.S. debut September 20th.

* After Bugatti recently lost the title of worlds fastest production car to the Hennessy Venom the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse (open top super car) set a new record for open cars this week at the VW proving grounds in Germany. With Anthony Liu at the wheel the Vitesse clocked 254.04 miles/hour. You can buy a nearly identical version for just $2.61 million.

* In electric car news this week it appears Tesla's founder and boss Elon Musk is exuding confidence in the wake of Fisker's deep troubles. Musk is talking about a second manufacturing plant (probably in Texas) and speculating about producing an electric pickup. At Fisker it appears that bankruptcy is inevitable. Heinrick Fisker left the company a few weeks ago after failed negotiations to sell the company to a Chinese company.

* Few engine families have been as successful as Fords turbo-charged, direct injected EcoBoost line. This week they introduced a new 1.5-liter version to be built initially in the Romanian plant to supply Ford's German Mondeo line. Later it will become the default engine for the U.S.-built Fusion as well as other, yet-to-be-announced U.S. products. The 1.5-liter displacement also fits within tax advantaged classes in China and Europe.

* This was a big week for recalls as Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and Honda recalled a total of 3.4 million cars worldwide for potentially faulty airbag inflators. The bad parts were made by Takata Corp., a Japanese company that supplies all those manufacturers. The recall effects front passenger seat units in 2001 to 2004 cars that can deploy with too much force. Other companies may use these air bags too.

* Next week is the Shanghai Motor Show. One of the most important automotive centers of Asia, Shanghai has the potential of generating significant news for the huge Asian market. One interesting introduction we heard about this week is the new Maserati Ghibli, that company's first ever diesel. The Ghibli name has a great history in the sports car arena but the new diesel version will be a four-door sedan offered with both the V-6 diesel or a 410-hp, 3.0-liter gasoline engine.

* Chrysler is recalling 2011 and 2012 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger vehicles for airbag problems. About 119,500 vehicles are involved.

* President Obama's 2014 budget proposal to Congress includes an increase in the Energy Department's budget for vehicle research by 75%. The proposal is for a $575 million budget to fund auto research and $2 billion to establish a trust to fund research that would get the nation off foreign oil over the next decade. Obama wants to jump-start EV sales, despite lagging interest, by increasing the EV tax credit to $10,000 and allowing the dealer to claim the credit at the sale instead of the buyer having to wait until they file their tax return. In regard to that foreign oil, most analysts are forecasting that current and future efforts in developing shale oil and natural gas will result in the U.S. becoming an energy exporter by 2020. So, do we really need these incentives or is it just politics?