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Nutson's Nuggets - July 1-7, 2013 Automotive News Factoids Just In-Case You Were Snoozing (Or On Vacation)


Auto Central Louisville, KY July 7, 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 1,411,880 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 July 1-7, 2013

* The annual selling pace in June was nearly 16 million, the first month at that level since December 2007. Sales are from opposite ends and coming from small cars and pickups. The big gainers came from two niche players: Subaru up 42% and BMW up 21%. GM is up 6%, Ford up 13%, Chrysler LLC up 8%, Toyota/Lexus up 10%, Honda/Acura up 10%, Mazda up 13% and Mercedes up 7%. Hyundai was only slightly up at 2% while VW was slightly negative and Kia down around 2%.

* Get out your checkbook. Mercedes announced this week pricing for the exclusive new 2014 SLS AMG Black Series. At only $275,000 plus $1,800 delivery charge you can have one of these in your garage. A bit more affordable is the 2014 C63 AMG Edition 507 beginning at $70,000. AMG is Mercedes high performance division and anything with that badge is assured to be blindingly fast.

* We heard early in the week that GM had dumped plans to build a large rear-wheel drive halo car based perhaps on the Ciel concept with some elements of the bold and brash Cadillac Sixteen that wowed us all not long before the industry crash. Later this week we saw another report quoting GM officials as saying it was just one specific design that was axed and that they are still working toward a dramatic large car slotted above the current XTS.

* Werner Lang died this week of a heart attack at age 91. His claim to fame was creating one of the longest running car designs - over 30 years - that was nearly exclusive and ubiquitous in its market - Eastern Europe. We're talking of course about one of the worst cars ever made, a 26-horsepower, two-cylinder, two-cycle car called Trabant. The slow, smokey car used recycled plastic for its body parts.

* The Department of Homeland Security revealed this week plans to retire the presidential limo known as "Cadillac One" sometime in 2015 and are looking for bids to replace it. The current car, also known as "The Beast" looks like a stretched, armored Cadillac DTS and is underpinned by Chevy truck components.

* If you're working on your summer reading list you'll want to know that Bob Lutz's new book is out this week. Called "Icons and Idiots", it talks about eleven people in his life who inspired and impressed him, from and early teacher to auto execs. Lutz may be over 80 but having talked with him recently I'll affirm that he is sharp and acerbic as ever. Can't wait to get hold of this one.

* Honda and GM announced a partnership this week to quickly develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the market by the end of the decade. Fuel cells using hydrogen have been touted for years as likely to be the ultimate in zero-emission, sustainable personal transportation, but it continued to seem a long way off. Other manufacturers are working on the problems incumbent with this technology as well, but this may put these two OEMs ahead of the game.

* Ford has agreed to fix sticky throttles on nearly 468,000 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans. Because of the company’s decision, U.S. safety regulators have closed an investigation into the problem. Last fall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating cars from the 2000 through 2003 model years.

*Sebastien Loeb directed his Peugeot 208 T16 to the top of America's Mountain in 8 minutes, 13.878 seconds, demolishing Rhys Millen's one-year-old Pike's Peak record of 9:46.181.

* Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall involving approximately 74 Model Year 2012 Toyota Yaris vehicles. In the involved vehicles, a relay in the Power Steering Control Module of the electronic power steering system may malfunction.

* According to the editorial team the top five cars for teens are: 1) 2013 Hyundai Elantra, 2) 2013 Honda Fit, 3) 2013 Kia Soul, 4) 2013 Subaru Impreza, and 5) 2013 Scion xD.