Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Auto Central Chicago IL, April 19, 2015; Every Sunday, along with senior editors Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau I give you our "take" on this past week's automotive news in easy to digest nuggets.
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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest-April 13-19, 2015;* Eight out of 10 potential car buyers use the Internet to initiate and do most of their car shopping and about 75% say they would be willing to buy a new car online without ever going to a dealership if they could. This new study by Digital Consumer Services within Accenture’s Automotive practice asked the opinion of 10,000 respondents in major auto markets in Asia, Europe, South America and the U.S. The survey showed that Chinese buyers are most willing to buy a new vehicle entirely online. And, you can do your comparison shopping right here on TACh.
* GM confirmed its upcoming pure electric car that will have 200 miles-plus of range and will be sold across the United States will be called the Bolt EV. It is expected that the Bolt would go into production in late 2016 and would go on sale in 2017. The Bolt EV will replace the Chevrolet Spark EV and is expected to cost about $30,000 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.
* Three sedans, two 5-door hatchbacks, two pickup trucks, two CUVs and a minivan round out the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors, a collection of accessible vehicles. The winners are: 2014 BMW i3 ($52,550), 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum ($51,175), 2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch ($60,675), 2015 GMC Canyon SLT ($40,465), 2015 Honda Fit EX-L ($21,590), 2015 Jeep Renegade Limited ($33,205), 2015 Kia Sedona SXL ($43,295), 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring ($33,395), 2015 Mercedes C400 ($65,000) and 2015 Nissan Murano SL ($41,905).
* Bosch is the supplier of fuel pumps to Nissan Motor Co. and BMW AG that will require a recall of more than 94,000 vehicles in the United States. The recalls cover 76,242 2014 Nissan Rogue SUVs and 18,054 2014 BMW cars because improper nickel plating of components within the fuel pump.
* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it is recalling 5,600 Fiat electric cars in the United States for a software glitch. The recall covers the 2013-2015 Fiat 500e cars built from March 2012 through Nov. 1, 2014.
* Volkswagen is issuing a new recall for 20,676 minivans for ignition switch issues that could cause the air bags to fail to deploy in a crash. The German automaker said it is issuing a new recall for 20,000 Routan 2009-10 minivans built for it by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
* The nay-sayers have been quieted. The aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 has earned a better government crash-test rating than its all-steel predecessor, countering any concerns that the lighter material would result in a weaker pickup and eliminating one of the Chevrolet Silverado’s advantages. The 2015 F-150 SuperCrew, which accounts for 70 percent of sales, received overall, frontal and side-impact crash ratings of five stars -- the highest score possible -- in both the two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations. That’s up from the 2014 truck’s ratings of four stars overall, three in frontal crashes and five in side impacts.
* Shell’s Eco-marathon Americas wrapped up in Detroit this week with the University of Toronto Supermileage Team 2 racking up an amazing 3,421 miles/gallon. Over 1,000 high school and college students, members of 113 teams, competed to see who could wring the most miles out of an ounce of gasoline, a watt of electricity or a measure of other fuels. The competition is held in the U.S., Europe and Asia annually and run by Shell Oil Company volunteers. The record of 7,797 mpg was set last year at the European competition .
* Most car reviewers agreed that the Cadillac ELR extended range electric coupe is beautiful and stylish but way overpriced. Under its beautiful and dramatic skin is the technology and engineering of a Chevy Volt but the ELR was costing nearly twice as much. GM announced this week a nearly $10,000 drop in the price of the ELR to about $66,000 before government subsidies. The slow-selling ELR also gets some engineering upgrades for the 2016 model year.
* Federal judge Robert Gerber, who presided over the GM bankruptcy, ruled this week that the company is not liable for lawsuits stemming from the defective ignition switch debacle prior to 2009. The lawsuits add up to around $10 billion and center on loss of value of effected cars prior to the 2009 agreement.
* Viper lovers can now design their own unique car with more than 25 million combinations according to a press release this week from the company. They are offering 8,000 colors, 24,000 different stripes, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims, seven aero packages, three brake options, four suspensions and other cool stuff. Even more cool, they will send buyers a 1:18 scale model to confirm color. The interior and instrument panel also gets customized with the owners name on a badge. Viper prices start at $85,000.
* Ralph Gilles, recently promoted to Head of Design Worldwide for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has been named Honorary Chairman of the prestigious EyesOn Design car show at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI. This annual Father’s Day show honors excellence in design and has earned a reputation as an innovator in classic and collector car shows.