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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News Factoids October 14-20, 2013


Auto Central Louisville, KY October 20, 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 1,478,345 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 October 14-20, 2013

* In voting by more than 40 members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee was named Compact SUV of Texas in its first head-to-head competition. The 2014 "Truck of Texas" was awarded to Ram 1500 for the second consecutive year. Jeep Grand Cherokee was named "SUV of Texas" for the fourth consecutive year, and Dodge Durango awarded "Full-size SUV of Texas" for the second time in three years. The 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor was named "Off-Road Truck of Texas".

* On a smaller scale, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST earned the Small Car of the Year award from Esquire magazine.

* Green Car Journal has identified its five finalists for the magazine's high-profile 2014 Green Car of the Year program. The five 2014 models include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord Hybrid, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal's "Top 5 Green Cars for 2014" and earn the magazine's "Green Car Product of Excellence" honors. Take note: only the Accord Hybrid is battery-based. There are two diesels and two gasoline engine vehicles. There are no plug-in or pure battery-electric cars.

* The Cadillac ELR plug-in, extended-range, electric luxury coupe goes on sale in January and pricing was announced this week. While sharing underpinnings with the Chevy Volt which is priced around 35 grand the sleek and dramatically styled ELR starts at $75,995. While range anxiety for pure electric cars means limited sales, experts say, the range extending on-board generator that increases range to about 300 miles should mitigate worries, though Volt sales have waned significantly.

* GM CEO Dan Akerson announced that Chevrolet will bring to both the fleet and retail market next year a CNG-powered Impala full-size sedan, the first in this class to be able to use natural gas, the fuel that many think will become a larger part of our transportation fuel mix in upcoming years. Lack of convenient refueling facilities will limit the technology's acceptance initially but industry supporters point to multiple refueling opportunities that already exist in most communities. This 2015 Impala is bi-fuel, that is, it operates on either gasoline or compressed natural gas.

* Toyota said it will recall 10,000 cars sold in the United States from model years 2013 and 2014 to replace faulty wiper switches. The vehicles being recalled include 2013-2014 Camrys and Camry Hybrids, 2013 Avalons and Avalon Hybrids and 2014 Corollas.

* And Toyota also announced it will conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 803,000 Model Year 2012-2013 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, and Venza vehicles due to a problem with the air conditioning condenser unit housing. In the involved vehicles, water from the air conditioning condenser unit housing could leak onto the airbag control module and cause a short circuit, resulting in illumination of the airbag warning light or air bag deployment or loss of electric power steering through a wire electrical connection.

* Harley-Davidson is acting quickly to address potential safety issues by voluntarily recalling certain 2014 Touring motorcycles equipped with a hydraulic clutch system that may pose a safety issue for riders and/or passengers. The recalls include a Do Not Ride notice to owners and a Do Not Deliver notice to Harley-Davidson dealers until the motorcycle is fixed. The recalls affect 25,185 Touring motorcycles, models FLHTCU, FLHTK, FLHTP, FLHX, FLHXS, FLHTKSE and FLHRSE, and 3,861 Softail CVOs and Trikes, models FLHTCUTG, FXSBSE and FLSTNSE, built between May 3, 2013, and Oct. 14, 2013.

* A hint of good news for the European car business emerged this week with the prediction from the Korea Automotive Research Institute of a 2.5% increase in car sales expected for 2014. The European car market has not experienced any increase in the past seven years. The Institute also projects that when the numbers come in at the end of 2013 they will show a 3.8% decline from 2012. A variety of analysts have predicted that the European market bottomed out this year, with no place to go but up.

* BMW is showing surprising confidence in their new battery-powered i3 city car due out in Europe in about a month by ramping up initial production numbers over original projections. The decision comes as a result of larger-than-expected pre-orders for the i3 that will be available in either pure electric or and extended range version with a small motor for generating electricity when the battery runs out of electrons. The BMW i3 will hit BMW stores in the U.S. next year.

* Making the rounds of the Internet this week is a thrilling video of a 2014 Camaro Z28 setting a lap record at the famed Nurburgring. See it here: This reporter just watched it with volume up and enjoyed a good shot of adrenalin as a result. The record lap of 7:37:04 bests a variety of exotic and performance cars like, Lexus LFA, Ford GT and Porsche Carrera S. Enjoy!

* At the Mecom Collector Car auction in the Chicago suburbs, the 1963 General Motors styling car, Shop Order 10323, a Corvette Sting Ray convertible known as the Harley Earl Car, sold for $1.5 million. Harley J. Earl was the Vice President of Design for General Motors. He joined GM in 1928 and retired in 1958.

* Here's something we'll bet you wouldn't expect. According to a complaint filed with the U.S. Labor Department, German officials at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga have been coercing workers to agree to representation by the UAW. VW had made it clear they were interested in setting up a "works council" in the German mold but they could not do that legally under U.S. law without the participation from a recognized trade union like the UAW. Stay tuned. This could get interesting. The formal complaint was filed with assistance from a "right to work" organization.