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Nutson's Nuggets - June 24-30, 2013 Automotive News Factoids Just In Case You Were Snoozing


Auto Central Louisville, KY June 30, 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 1,410,436 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 June 24-30, 2013

* A diesel-powered Volkswagen Passat has set a new Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption in a drive in all 48 states in the continental United States for a non-hybrid car. The Chattanooga-made Passat garnered 77.99 mpg, more than 10 mpg better than the previous mark of 67.9 mpg, according to Volkswagen of America. The Passat TDI left Herndon, Va., June 7th and covered 8,122 miles in all 48 states. The impressive record was set by fellow MAMA member Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger.

* The U.S. Supreme Court declined to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to approve a higher blend of ethanol for vehicles from model year 2001 and newer. Now automakers will face an uphill battle to block the use of a higher blend of ethanol fuel. It means that in the next few years, more drivers may have little choice but to fuel up with E15 gasoline, which contains 15 percent ethanol versus the 10 percent found at most pumps.

* announced that the Ford F-150 has topped the site's American-Made Index. This is the first time in four years that a domestic automaker is once again the "Most American." Prior to the F-150's top spot, the Toyota Camry topped the list from 2009-2012. The top ten "Most American" are: 1) Ford F-150, 2) Toyota Camry, 3) Dodge Avenger, 4) Honda Odyssey, 5) Toyota Sienna, 6) Chevrolet Traverse, 7) Toyota Tundra, 8) GMC Acadia, 9) Buick Enclave, and 10) Toyota Avalon.

* Truck manufacturers are on Washington's short list for producing cleaner air with pending legislation that would reduce greenhouse gases and set new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks after 2018. Under this current program, trucks and buses built from 2014 through 2018 are aimed at increasing fuel-efficiency by 20% and save the industry about $50 billion in fuel costs. The cost to build these vehicles, however, is estimated at $8 billion or more.

* Ten years ago the first Mazda3 was born, and a global birthday party kicked off with the world premiere of the all-new 2014 Mazda3. With same-day unveil events in New York, London, Istanbul, Melbourne and St. Petersburg, this completely redesigned and re-imagined third-generation model Mazda3 made its world debut.

* Ford is recalling just over 13,000 Explorer, Taurus and Lincoln MKS cars and SUVs because the child safety locks might not work on the rear doors. The recall affects 2013 model cars sold mainly in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

* Honda is recalling for a second time a batch of 2007 and 2008 Fits with a potentially defective power window switch that could cause a fire. Other automakers have suffered much larger recalls for the same issue but Honda already fixed this one - just not good enough. It was decided the previous fix was "not robust enough" to really solve the problem.

* Chrysler revealed at a large media event this week plans to offer a V6 turbo-diesel in the light-duty, Ram 1500 pickup trucks this fall. Intense competition continues in that huge segment of the vehicle market to achieve best-in-class fuel economy. EPA test mpg numbers were not revealed but they expect it to be better than the 24-mpg that now represents the best out there. The 3.0 liter engine, essentially the same EcoDiesel unit powering the Jeep Grand Cherokee makes 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

* Chevrolet's iconic Corvette celebrated its 60th birthday this week. The first Corvette came off a Flint, MI assembly line on June 30th 1953 with a sticker price of $3,500 and powered by an anemic Blue Flame inline 6-cylinder engine mated to a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission many referred to as a "slush box." By 1955 the Corvette evolved into a powerful and competent sports car beginning its reign as an All-American icon that continues today.

* Ford held a press event this week to introduce a new trim package for the popular F-150 pickup. Called 4X2 Tremor, the short-wheelbase regular cab resembles the Raptor and SVT Lightning with flat black wheels, body cladding and other trim enhancements and it is powered by Ford's EcoBoost 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with a six-speed automatic and 4.10 rear end for enhanced off-the-line performance.

* News for serious collectors: We learned this week that the 007 Lotus Esprit "Submarine" car from the 1977 Bond movie, The Spy Who Love Me," will go on sale at the upcoming RM London sale. This fully functional underwater car built by Perry Oceanographic of Riviera Beach, FL cost about a half million in today's dollars and was discovered in a rent-delinquent storage facility on Long Island NY where the current owner bought it blind.

* A Hamilton County, Ohio judge this week found the village of Elmwood in contempt of court for not removing the speed enforcement cameras that he determined to be a "scam and a sham" for issuing wholesale $105 citations on a busy road connecting I-75 with business area. The Cincinnati suburb ticketed thousands of motorists within just a few months stirring a national debate about camera enforcement of speed limits.

* A Le Mans Prototype electric car set a new land speed record for electric cars this week of just over 204 mph at an RAF airbase in Yorkshire, England. The 850-horsepower car bested the old record set 39 years ago by General Electric. The new record holder is Lord Paul Drayson who drove the car and whose Drayson Racing company built the car known as the Drayson B12 69/EV with a carbon fiber body and using a 30 KW battery.