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In Case You Missed It - Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest - Nov 14-20, 2016: Mazda Diesel, NACTOY, 65 eMPG Caddy, Rusting Toyota's, Safety Champion Ditlow Dies


2016 LA Auto Show Press Pass Coverage

AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO, November 20, 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 are a car and driving fan like we all are here at The Auto Channel, you can easily "catch up" or put these stories in context by searching the past 25 year's 2,001,008 automotive pages of news, automotive stories, articles, reviews, archived news, video, audio, rants and raves accessible from The Auto Channel's Automotive News Archive.

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Enjoy and thanks for the positive feedback and ratings. See You Next Week, LN.

Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Digest - November 20, 2016

* AutoMobility LA - the merger of Los Angeles Auto Show's Press & Trade Days and Connected Car Expo happened this week. The bulk of what's new presented to the media were SUVs, crossovers and some new technology. In America's green-car state it seemed the most common color for all the new vehicle reveals was red. We saw the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV concept, the mid-engine Porsche 911 RSR Le Mans racer and Alfa Romeo's Stelvio SUV that can be had with 505HP. Highlights include a reproduction of the famous Jaguar XKSS of the 1950s, a Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet, the Subaru three-row VIZIV-7 SUV Concept and a turbocharged Kia Soul. Along with Detroit and New York, the LA show is one of the most important in the industry. The LA Auto Show public days run from November 18th to the 27th.

* Finally, after promising a diesel powertrain for the U.S. market for years, Mazda announced at the LA Auto Show that the CX5 small crossover will get a 2.2-liter SKYACTIVE-D diesel engine sometime in the second half of 2017. With VW and Audi diesel emissions scandals, diesel power trains for mainstream sedans and crossover have all but disappeared, leaving enthusiasts few options. Mercedes is rethinking theirs. Modern diesels can get exceptional fuel mileage and, particularly with turbocharging, can achieve high performance standards.

* Motor Trend announced the winners of its annual awards: 2017 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year is 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV; 2017 MOTOR TREND Truck of the Year is 2017 Ford Super Duty; 2017 MOTOR TREND SUV of the Year is 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC; 2017 MOTOR TREND Person of the Year is Elon Musk, CEO Tesla Motors.

* Finalists for 2017 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) were announced at Automobility L.A., the conference that precedes the Los Angeles auto show. For Car of the Year it's Chevrolet Bolt, Genesis G90 and Volvo S90. For Truck of the Year it's Ford F-series Super Duty, Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Titan. For Utility Vehicle of the Year it's Chrysler Pacifica, Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda CX-9. The winners will be announced at the North American International (Detroit) Auto Show in January. The awards are determined by a panel of 60 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada.

* By next spring we’ll have a full-size, Cadillac CT6 sedan with a fuel economy rating of 65 MPGe. The ?e’ is for electric, as you might surmise. Cadillac is preparing to produce a plug-in electric version of their big sedan with a cruising range of around 400 miles, 30 of that on just electric power. With 432 pound-feet of torque it is expected to do 0-t0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. The plug-in CT6 will get a version of the Volt technology.

* U.S. News & World Report announced winners of the 2017 Best Vehicle Brand awards. Best SUV Brand is Honda, Best Car Brand is Mazda, Best Truck Brand is Ford, and Best Luxury Brand is Porsche. The Best Vehicle Brands methodology is an objective, analysis-driven assessment of quality across all of a brand's offerings within the four categories.

* The U.S. DoT finally finalized long-delayed rules that will require "quiet cars" like electric vehicles and hybrids to emit alert sounds at speeds of up to 18.6 miles per hour to help prevent injuries among pedestrians, cyclists and the blind. Congress required the rules which will require automakers like Chevrolet, Kia, Tesla, Nissan, Toyota and more to add alert sounds to all vehicles by September 2019. The new rules apply to hybrid and electric cars, SUVs, trucks and buses that are up to 10,000 pounds. I'm looking forward to all the beeping in my local shopping center parking lot.

* The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute's latest report from Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle says the average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in October was 24.8 mpg—down 0.4 mpg from the value for September. This likely reflects both a continuing increase in the proportion of light trucks sold each month, as well as the recent calculation adjustments for window-sticker values implemented by the EPA for model year 2017. The value for October 2016 is up by 4.7 mpg since October 2007 (the first month of their monitoring).

* Toyota has agreed to a settlement of up to $3.4 billion for a federal class-action lawsuit brought by American owners of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles whose frames could rust through.The proposed settlement covers about 1.5 million Tacoma compact pickup trucks, Tundra full-size pickup trucks and Sequoia SUVs suspected of receiving inadequate rust protection. The settlement covers Tacoma trucks from the model years 2005 through 2010, Sequoias from 2005 through 2008 and Tundras from the 2007 and 2008 model years.

* Reports are that Volkswagen AG has reached an agreement with U.S. regulators for a mix of buybacks and fixes for 80,000 Audi, Porsche and VW 3.0-liter diesel vehicles with defeat devices that cheated on emissions regulations. The agreement includes a buyback offer for about 19,000 older Audi and VW SUVs and a software fix for 60,000 newer Porsche, Audi and VW cars and SUVs. A separate, more complex fix is expected to be offered for the older vehicles. They are all due in court on November 30 to approve the deal. Owners may still receive compensation outside of this agreement. Everyone seems to be happy with the earlier deal regarding 2.0-liter diesels.

* Mazda is recalling about 70,000 RX-8 models from 2004-2008 due to issues with their fuel pump sealing rings that pose a fire risk. Heat exposure from the engine or exhaust pipe can cause the sealing rings to deteriorate, which raises the risk of a fire being ignited from leaking fuel.

* A Toyota semi-truck? Toyota is exploring the use of its zero emission hydrogen fuel cell technology for use in semi-trailer truck applications. Using the same technology as the Toyota Mirai passenger car a California-based feasibility study for heavy-duty truck sized fuel cell vehicle might create a potential zero-emission freight transportation solution for the future.

* The Motor Press Guild announced this week their coveted Dean Batchelor Lifetime Achievement Award will go to 30-year veteran automotive journalist and dominant personality in the industry Jean Jennings. Some will remember her as Jean Lindamood who worked at Car&Driver magazine and helped start Automobile Magazine in the 1880s with automotive icon David E. Davis, Jr. Davis often assigned her to what he called “Perils of Pauline” kinds of stories resulting in adventures all over the world. Jennings now works through her own website,

* Daniel Suarez, a 24-year old from Mexico, became the first foreign champion in a NASCAR Series. Suarez won the Xfinity Series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

* Clarence Ditlow, a legendary consumer advocate who spent a lifetime trying to make cars safer, has died. He was 72. Ditlow was known for relentlessly pushing automakers and the government to add safety features to cars and to recall vehicles when patterns of trouble emerged. He served as the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety since 1976. The organization is a watchdog group founded by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader in 1970.