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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News April 14-21, 2013 Just In-Case You Were Snoozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY April 21, 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 1,379,0098 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 14-21, 2013

* Remember the day…maybe you don't…when two car companies working together was a violation of anti-trust laws, and of course who would want to share company engineering secrets. Well, at long last it's different now. General Motors and Ford say they are working together to design a new generation of nine and ten speed automatic transmissions that will go into millions of future vehicles. By sharing the development costs, Ford and GM save millions of dollars.

* With a focus on achieving efficiency, the world’s automotive engineers were in Detroit this week for the largest auto conference of the year, the SAE World Congress. The event, held every year at Cobo Center, is three days of technical presentations, along with an exhibit hall full of new innovations. Some of those will be in the cars of the future, some will never make it.

* General Motors said its all-new 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel achieves an Environmental Protection Agency-rated 46 miles per gallon on the highway, which is the best highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid car in the United States. Back in February when testing was still underway it announced at the Chicago Auto Show that the Cruze diesel would get 42 mpg on the highway. And the benefit I like the most, with a six-speed automatic transmission the Cruze diesel can travel 700 highway miles on one tank of fuel. The EPA city rating is 27mpg with an EPA combined rating of 33mpg.

* J.D. Power and LMC Automotive raised their projections for 2013 auto and light truck sales predicting a solid 7% increase over 2012 to a total of 15.4 million, citing drivers needing to replace older vehicles. Most of these gains will come from retail sales which indicates a stronger performance than if most gains would come from fleet sales.

* Mercedes-Benz gave us a sneak peak at the Concept GLA, a compact premium-class SUV, that make its global debut at the Shanghai auto show. The Concept GLA blends dramatic styling with clear functionality for recreational use. Under the hood of this 172 inch long new concept vehicle sits a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine rated at 208 hp with a displacement of 2.0 liters. Its power is transmitted to the road via the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

* GM revealed this week the dramatic Riviera concept car they will present at the Shanghai Motor Show. With plug-in hybrid powertrain, gull wings, and waterfall grille that resembles the design of a whales baleen mouth. China is Buicks largest market by far selling over 700,000 cars there in 2012. Buick's strength in the China market is a key reason why the brand is still around today. It is expected that some of the Riviera's design elements will make there way into future Buicks.

* Another car to look for at the Shanghai show this week is Volkswagen's iBeetle which will go on sale early next year. The iBeetle's will be modified to have a special docking station for an iPhone and integrate apps and features to support navigation, hands-free calling, music and lots more.

* Also in Shanghai, Ford unveiled the Escort concept that bears a family resemblance to the Focus and Fusion, but with a more conservative, less sporty look. It is a couple inches longer, providing more room for families and slots in the C-mid segment category .

* Lexus will move production of the popular ES sedan line to the Kentucky plant according to Toyota officials who revealed the plan this week at a New York press conference. Exchange rate advantages and natural disasters are among the reasons for the move. The Japanese plant where the ES is now built will be needed for a yet-to-be-revealed new model, probably a small crossover below the current RX 350.

* Formula One racing is in Bahrain this weekend where Kimi Raikkonen driving the Lotus was quickest around the track in practice. Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes appear to be the ones to watch as tire compounds may be the big story of the weekend. Extreme heat on the track surface caused tire supplier, Michelin, to rethink the compound for the race.

* Kia announced pricing this week for the lovely new Cadenza full-size sedan we saw in production form at the Detroit auto show this year. The 'flagship' sedan will have a base price of $35,900 and come very well equipped at that price and be available with lots of luxury and technology options. This of the Cadenza as a sister car of the Hyundai Azera.

* Sergio Marchionne told an audience in Detroit this week that Fiat will loose a substantial amount of money, perhaps as much as ten grand, on every new electric-powered 500e it sells. Initial sales of the highly efficient 500e will be in California only. He also chastised the California Air Resources Board and other government entities for requiring products that don't allow for innovation.

* Honda is recalling about 200,000 sedans, crossovers and minivans for problems with the maker’s shift-interlock system. Included are 17,500 of the 2013 Acura RDX sedans as well as from the 2012 and 2013 model years 128,000 Honda CR-Vs and 59,000 Odyssey minivans.

* Nissan is recalling 19,258 for faulty brakes. Affected are 2013 Nissan Pathfinders and JX vehicles from its Infinity luxury line, built between December 2012 and January 2013.