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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest May 23-29, 2016; INDY LIVE, Buh Bye Verano, High Mileage Ford, Recalls,Kudos


By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

AUTO CENTRAL Chicago, May 29, 2016; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, Senior Editor and Chicago Car Guy along with fellow senior editors Steve Purdy and Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, give you TACH's "take" on this past week's automotive news in easy to digest mega-tweet sized nuggets. If you wish to know more just click on the link that will take you to the full story as published here on The Auto Channel.

If you are a car and driving fan like we all are here at The Auto Channel, you can easily wish to "catch up" on these stories as well put them in context with the past 20 year's 1,978,444 automotive news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, archived news, video, audio, rants and raves. Just search The Auto Channel's Automotive News Archive.

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The Past Week's Automotive News Highlights In Easy To Digest Chunks
May 23-29,2016

* Motorsports takes center stage this Memorial Day weekend with the historic 100th running of the Indy500, “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing”. The famed Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 and the legendary NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway are also running.

* Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe, driving a Honda-powered car, will be on the pole at this weekend’s 100th running of the Indy 500 after he posted a four-lap average of 230.760 mph. Hinchcliffe crashed last year suffering a life-threateneing injury. Second and third places on the grid will be Josef Newgarden in a Chevy and Ryan Hunter-Reay in another Honda respectively, both posting times within 0.1 seconds off the leading pace. Indiana native Florence Henderson will be grand marshall.

* Since 1950 local Indianians have not been able to watch the Indy 500 race live on broadcast TV because of a blackout imposed by organisers worried about ticket sales. Locals could see the race but not until well into the evening of race day. This year’s race is the first in history to be entirely sold out so the blackout is lifted. This is the 100th running of the race and ticket sales will be in the range of 350,000.

* The U.S. average retail price for gasoline was $2.30 per gallon (gal) on May 23, 47 cents per gallon (cents/gal) lower than at the same time last year, and the lowest average price just before Memorial Day weekend (the start of the summer driving season) since 2009. 39 million Americans are expected to take to the roads fore the holiday weekend.

* We watched with great interest the lead up to production of the Acura’s new NSX sports car from concept, through repeated delays to now. Finally, the first cars are being delivered to customers this week. The first one - VIN 001 - was picked up and driven off the line by Rick Hendrick who bought it at a charity auction for $1.2 million. The car’s base price is a $157,800. Hendrick, NASCAR team owner, also bought VIN 002 to drive so he can ensconce the first on in his own museum. Acura expects to produce about 800 units per year in their new special manufacturing facility in Ohio.

* Unveiled before a gathering of about 100 automotive media from across the country at the annual 2016 Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally, GMC announced the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition – a chrome-trimmed special model offering a premium, personalized appearance on SLT models. It goes on sale this summer, offered on Yukon and Yukon XL models.

* GM confirmed this week they will end production of Buick’s Verano compact sedan as the brand concentrates more on SUVs. It seems that Verano sales slumped over the past few years enough that GM decided to pull the plug. Company officials confirm they expect CUVs will account for 70% of the brand sales. Buick Enclave large CUV sales continue to increase. The 2016 Verano production will end late this summer and the company will run a short production of a 2017 Verano into October. The Orion Township, MI assembly plant will replace Verano production with the new full-electric Chevrolet Bolt.

* Now here's a good road trip car. Ford's updated Fusion Energi hybrid has a best-in-class range of 610 miles, a 60-mile improvement from the prior model, according to EPA test-cycle estimates. The plug-in sedan, on sale now, has an all-electric range of 21 miles, and gets an EPA test-cycle estimated 42 miles per gallon combined city and highway rating. It has a 14 gallon fuel tank.

* Sports and sporty cars have high crash rates. For the first time ever, IIHS crashed the three American V8 pony cars. While none earned a Top Safety Pick rating, Mustang faired the best with Camaro second and Challenger following.

* Ford is recalling some of its F-150 pickups to fix a fluid leak that can reduce braking power. The recall covers about 271,000 F-150 pickups in North America from the 2013 and 2014 model years that have 3.5-liter V6 engines.

* The Takata air bag inflator recall got bigger this week with eight automakers recalling more than 12 million vehicles in the U.S. The NHTSA says now Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ferrari and Mitsubishi are making fixes. The NHTSA has prioritized cars to be repaired by region beginning with states with the highest humidity. Replacement parts are not able to keep up with needs. Nearly every manufacturer has cars involved in this recall.

* The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and Museum located at the Daytona Speedway, announced the induction of famous racing team owner Chip Ganassi. The Induction Ceremony Presented by Bridgestone will be held at the Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach on June 29th. Ganassi teams have set records in a variety of racing series including holding the “Grand Slam” of winning the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in one season. Other inductees in the 2016 class include Bob Swiekert, Everett Brashear, Richard Childress, Gary Gabelixh, Dave McClelland and Sam Posey.