Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Recap W/O September 7-13, 2015 - New Bentley, New Prius, RHD Mustang, GT350 And Of Course Recalls
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
AUTO CENTRAL - CHICAGO - September 13, 2015; Every Sunday, along with fellow 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 Review - September 7-13, 2015
* We finally saw full details of Bentley’s new SUV this week - the Bentayga. They claim it will be the “fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, and most exclusive SUV in the world." Bentayga was been designed and engineered in Britain and is powered by an all-new 6.0-liter W12 engine. It claims a 0-to-60 time of a blistering 4.0-seconds. The coming out party will be at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show and you’ll be able to buy one in early 2016 for just about $230,000.
* On the other end of the new car scale we all saw the new Prius for the first time this week. Fighting for media space, new car introductions are more often taking place disconnected from any auto show. More than 350 journalists, social influencers and Toyota guests watched the all-new 2016 Prius elevate into the Las Vegas night sky this week. New suspension, larger gasoline engine, fresh styling and more up-scale interior bring it seriously up to date. Without offering any real details Toyota officials promise a 10% increase in fuel economy and hint the new car will come in both conventional and plug-in hybrid. The incrementally larger new Prius is the first vehicle on an all new global platform. We’ll get more deals at the Tokyo Motor Show next month and the media may get to drive them by late November, they say.
* Production of the right-hand-drive 2016 Mustang is officially underway at Ford's Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Flat Rock, Mich., continuing the car’s first-ever global launch. This is the first year Mustang is available to customers in more than 100 markets around the world – including those where motorists drive on the wrong side of the road. (Oops, was that politically incorrect?) Almost 2,000 Ford Mustang orders have been taken in the UK since January. Interestingly, UK customers are mostly ordering V8 manual transmission coupes in red.
* Yours truly was privileged to drive both the Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustangs at the famed Road America road course this week on the invite from Ford. Power comes from a 526HP 5.2-L V8 with a 8250 RPM redline and features a flat-plane crankshaft. Ford engineers took an innovative and no-compromise approach to the GT350 yielding the most balanced, nimble and exhilarating experience ever found in a production Mustang. It's one amazing street-legal race car on the #GT350TrackTour.
* One of the most famous and respected names in automobile design goes up for sale next week along with a 76 historic vehicles from the company’s collection. We’re talking about Bertone, the famous Italian design house started in 1912 by Giovanni Bertone whose son Nuccio managed the company until his death in 1997 during the Geneva Motor Show. The company declared bankruptcy in 2014. The Italian government declared the collection a National Treasure so the collection must stay together and stay in Italy. Opening bid is only $1.7 million for the cars, much more for the name.
* We also learned this week that the other iconic Italian automobile design firm, Pininfarina, is about to be sold to India’s industrial conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra. Pininfarina has been loosing money for more than a decade and carries debt of close to $100 million. Part of the problems faced by Bertone, Pininfarina and other specialty design firms is that the major automakers have been moving design activities in-house. Pininfarina was founded in 1930 by Battista “Pinnin” Farina.
* Vegan car shoppers are requesting vehicles without leather seats in support of their beliefs about animal cruelty. This matter is in the news referring to a recent request to Tesla. The car-buying site Edmunds.com says 78 percent of 2015 model-year vehicles have standard leather seats on at least one trim level. However, if you want to add more options and features you are often forced to get leather seats.
* Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1.5 million trucks to fix problems with side-impact and driver’s air bags. Included are 1.35 million Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks and 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs from the 2012 through 2014 model years. Also recalled are 188,000 Ram Quad Cab pickups from the 2014 and 2015 model years.
* GM is recalling about 121,000 Cadillac ATS models from the 2013 to 2016 model years because the rear window defroster control can overheat and catch fire.
* Nissan is recalling almost 328,000 of its 2012- 2015 Versa sedans because a trim piece on the center console could snag the driver’s foot and interfere with braking or accelerating.
* Ten leading automakers agreed this week tho work with NHTSA to make "forward collision warning” system and automatic emergency braking standard equipment on all future vehicles. These systems use radar, laser or other sensing technologies to determine dangerous closing speeds between cars and apply brakes without driver input to prevent front-to-rear collisions. This category of collision represents about 1/3 of all crashes and, though they do not account for many deaths, they represent many injuries and huge amounts of damage. A time frame was not announced.