Nutson's Auto News Factoids - Week Of January 12-19, 2014
Auto Central Louisville, KY January 19, 2014 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 1,488,209 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 January 12-19,2014
* The North American International (Detroit) Auto Show opened to the public this weekend after an intense week of previews for the press, industry people and the huge black tie charity event. Over 100,000 people attended opening day on Saturday in spite of bitterly cold weather, the most in many years. With 300+ cars, CUVs, SUVs and light trucks on display the flash and pizzaz reflects confidence in the industry. Most analysts predict an even better year for 2014.
* Kicking off the 2014 North American International Auto Show, or the Detroit Auto Show to the locals, were a few early reveals on Sunday evening including the new Mercedes C-Class and the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon compact pickups.
* As the first official event, the 2014 North American Car of the Year was announced as the Corvette Stingray and the North American Truck/SUV of the year as the Chevrolet Silverado. Congratulations to GM on the double win.
* Ford revealed the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 with high-strength steel frame, high-strength aluminum-alloy body, up to 700 pounds less weight plus four engine choices. It'll be on sale late this year. Ford with its use of aluminum is first out the door with the next generation of pickup (and just raised the bar for GM, Chrysler and any other full-size pickup contender). Interestingly, Ford continues to appeal to a broad range of media, not just the automotive, with same-day events to introduce the F-150 in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles. The Ford F-150 is with no doubt the star of the NAIAS, in spit of all the skeptic's comments on the use of aluminum.
* Volkswagen announced its midsize SUV for America is on its way. The designed-for America seven-seater will have a US market launch in 2016. VW hasn't said whether the new SUV will be produced in its Chattanooga, TN or Puebla, Mexico plant. Perhaps it will be a bargaining chip in dealings with the UAW at Chattanooga.
* Hearkening back to the glory days of purebred, affordable sports cars, Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the brand’s most aggressive concept car ever when wraps came off the GT4 Stinger at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Kia’s eye-catching design language moves in a bold new direction with the introduction of the GT4 Stinger. The concept pushes the boundaries of performance with a rear-drive 2+2 sports car that places man and machine in harmony on the road or track. Under the GT4 Stinger’s hood resides a tuned version of Kia’s proven 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) four-cylinder engine putting out an impressive 315 horsepower mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
* We saw the 2015 Chrysler 200 that is beautifully redesigned. It's the industry’s first mid-size sedan with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission, which enables expected highway fuel economy ratings of 35 miles-per-gallon. This new 200 is probably the best outcome we've seen from the Fiat-Chrysler marriage.
* Also at the NAIAS, Michelin introduced the MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire with revolutionary new EverGripTM technology, which provides drivers with exceptional levels of safety even as their tires wear down. Even when worn, the MICHELIN Premier A/S with EverGripTM technology stops shorter on wet roads than the leading competitors’ brand new tires. Available this spring, the MICHELIN® Premier® A/S tire combines hidden grooves that emerge as the tire wears down, expanding rain grooves that widen over time to continue to evacuate water and a unique rubber compound for increased wet grip.
* Road & Travel Magazine (RTM) has named the 2014 Kia Cadenza as the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
* Cars.com announced their 2014 winners at its NAIAS annual "Best of" award show. Best compact sedan is the Kia Forte, Best compact hatchback is the Mazda3, Best mid-size sedan is the Mazda6, Best full-size sedan is the Chevy Impala, Best full-size SUV is the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and Best luxury SUV is the Acura MDX. Also the Impala was named the Best Car, and the Best Family Car of the Year award went to the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Also announced was the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado as the winner of the first-ever Cars.com "Best Pickup Truck of 2014" award.
* The automotive design community crowned Ford’s 2015 Mustang the best production car and the Volvo XC Coupe concept the best concept car at the NAIAS. The awards are presented by the Eyes on Design organization who raises money for area charities as well as the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology for research. Although the 2015 Mustang had been revealed back in early December, this is the first public show for the new pony car.
* Our colleagues Steve and Thom were working the floor during press days and here's the link to their recap. http://theautochannel.com/news/2014/01/16/100506-2014-north-american-international-auto-show-steve-and-thom-s.html
* This is also classic and collector car auction time in Arizona. In and around Scottsdale you'll find find a half dozen companies, including famous Barrett-Jackson, selling everything from a Chrysler-Maserati for a few grand to cars so pricey they'll boggle the mind. RM Auctions focuses on high-line exotics and posted sales of $45.5 million with an 85% sell rate. Top seller was a 1958 Ferrari 250 LWB California Spider at $8.8 million.
* Upcoming this weekend is the season-opening event for the 2014 Rally America National Championship, the U.S. version of what is called rally racing in Europe and other venues around the world. Some call this the purist form of racing with very fast cars charging through forest and desert roads under extreme conditions. This season opener is staged in Northern Michigan where deep snow and bitter cold will challenge racers and spectators alike.
* The granddaddy of all rally racing in the world is the Dakar Rally, originally known as Paris-Dakar because of the routing between those two cities. For political and security reasons it is now run in South America and will conclude about 10 days of special stages this week through deserts, mountains and rough roads. Spanish X-Mini team's Nani Roma was leading at last glance. Look for results at www.dakar.com.
* Tesla sales are doing well in spite of three battery fires and a government investigation. The $71,000 Model S posted sales of 22,300 worldwide in 2013 and they expect that to double in 2014. Tesla did not show the Model X crossover in Detroit as expected but officials insist it will be in production as scheduled later this year.
* Facing ongoing bribery charges in Germany Bernie Ecclestone stepped down as director of the F1 Group this week but remains involved in daily operations of Formula One racing. Ecclestone contends he was the victim of a "shakedown" in the scandal and intends to fight the charges.
* Auto sale in Europe closed out 2013 with less of a disappointment than expected. Overall sales were down only 1.7% having been boosted by a 13.3% surge in December. Time will tell how the market recovers. EU sales in 2013 were about 13 million units, the lowest since 1995.