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Nutson's Nuggets - Automotive News Factoids October 21-27, 2013


Auto Central Louisville, KY October 27, 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 1,479,980 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 21-27, 2013

* Continuing a substantial lead over it competitors just isn't enough for Ford as they announced eight new models of the F-150 pickup for 2014. Leading the specialty lineup will be a sporty version called Temor. In spite of substantial redesigns from Ram and Chevy/GMC in the past year the F-150 stretched its lead in this high-profit segment of the market. Ford also announced a dramatic increase in use of aluminum in the 2015 versions of the F-150. Compare Ford Pickups Ford Truck Buyers Guide

* We got a sneak peek at the next generation of the Hyundai Genesis this week, formerly a conservatively-styled, high-content, large luxury sedan from the Korean manufacturer. The next generation will include all-wheel drive and more dramatic styling reflecting the "fluidic sculpture" theme that characterizes everything else in the Hyundai lineup.

* We also got a first no tease look at the new BMW 2 Series coupe that will arrive in the US in the first quarter of 2014 as the 228i and the M235i. With a stretched silhouette and a more coupe-like roofline, the design of the 2 Series is true to the coupe body style. Besides the new styling, the ‘2’ also has grown in size compared to the outgoing 1 Series Coupe, as well as compared to the 1 Series Sedan

* As if he did not have enough on his plate with building electric automobiles, space rockets and other projects, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, purchased at a recent RM Auction the Lotus Esprit submarine car from the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me." Having been fascinated by the film as a child, Musk confirmed that his plan to make it into a working sub car . . . just for fun.

* On the heels of the controversy surrounding the Nissan 200-based universal taxi for the New York market, Ford this week announced their popular Transit Connect-based taxi goes into service in Hong Kong and other major international cities soon. The Transit Connect taxi has been in U.S. cities since 2010. The Hong Kong version gets an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) fuel system.

* Some surprises came from a study released this week by a website called Wall Street Cheat in an attempt to determine what vehicles contain the most North American (U.S., Canada and Mexico) content. Many car buyers want to buy American but haven't a clue how to make that determination. No Chrysler products were among the top American content vehicles. Toyota topped three of the most important categories with the Camry heading the sedan category, Tundra the pickup and Corolla the compact car category. Chevy snagged three honors with crossover Equinox, large van Express and sports car Corvette.

* The University of Michigan is planning to build a $6.5 million vehicle test track on its campus in Ann Arbor. It will be part of the Mobility Transformation Center, launched in May. The 30-acre track will be used primarily to test automated (self-driving) vehicles.

* Hyundai Motor Co. said it will recall 27,500 2009-2012 Genesis cars in the United States to change the brake fluid after complaints of braking problems.

* Lexus and Infiniti, two Japanese luxury brands with well-established reputations for quality vehicles, have received an unflattering designation from Consumer Reports (CR). The auto team at Consumer Reports has said it cannot recommend the Lexus IS 250 and Infiniti Q50 after both placed among the lowest in rankings of luxury sedans.

* The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has been named "SUV of the Year" by Esquire magazine in this year's Esquire Car Awards.

* The all-new 2014 Kia Soul was named a winner at the 10th annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of Year awards held in Chandler, Ariz. For the second consecutive year, the Soul received the highest score in the urban category after evaluations from local media and athletes.

* Chrysler began shipping the new Jeep Cherokee, giving dealers a long-awaited entry in the fast-growing compact crossover SUV market. Distribution of the Cherokees had been delayed while the company tinkered with the software for the new nine-speed automatic transmissions to make them shift more smoothly. Chrysler built about 12,000 Cherokees but held them at the plant, at rail yards and other locations around the country until the transmission computer control software could be updated.

* White and black remain the top two color choices among North American automobile consumers, but the popularity of some brightly colored vehicles continues to tick upward, according to an annual study released by Troy, Michigan based PPG Industries, the leading supplier of automotive paints. Nearly three-quarters of all new vehicles that PPG supplied during the 2013 model year were neutral colors — either white, black, gray or silver.

* Nissan is recalling about 188,000 of its sport-utility vehicles worldwide due to the increased risk of a crash posed by potentially faulty brake software. Of the total, 151,695 were sold in the United States during the 2013 and 2014 model-years. That includes Nissan Pathfinders from the 2013 and 2014 model-years, as well as the 2013 Infiniti JX35 and 2014 QX60.

* Hyundai plans to bring out a hydrogen fuel cell car in the U.S. in early 2014, according to our friends at The Detroit Bureau.

* Suzuki is recalling motorcycles. Affected are 2004-13 GSX-R600 and GSX-R750 models, as well as 2005-13 GSX-R1000s. The motorcycle manufacturer says corrosion of the front brake piston may generate gas within the brake system, reducing stopping power

* For the 2014 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year, they corralled 16 models from an unprecedented surge of new cars, trucks and SUVs hitting our roads this model year. While this distinguished group from the United States, Europe and Asia all had their merits, and a few really grabbed their attention and one stood out: the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, a laudable and unignorable revival of a classic American sports car. But note this. Had it not been for the Corvette's rebirth, Mazda’s elegant Mazda3 would have taken top spot, impressing the Yahoo team with its Miata-inspired “Zoom Zoom” zest — and with an as-tested price of $24,335, offering a value-for-money proposition impossible to ignore.

* Working together to establish charging stations required to get 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on their highways by 2025, representatives of eight states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, met and signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) aimed at establishing a task force to help increase the infrastructure needed to accomplish their goal. The installation of more EV charging stations as well as CNG fueling stations are in the plan.