10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – November 20, 2012

1. Hurricane Sandy is still impacting the automobile business. Used car prices are expected to rise because destruction caused by the storm has led to a shortage of late-model used cars.

2. 36-year-old drag racer Antron Brown has become the first African American to win a major auto racing title in the United States. He also won the 2012 NHRZ Top Fuel season. Mr. Brown is a heck of a nice guy and last year gave me a 45 minute tour of his car and its trailer during the NHRA Nationals in 2011.

3. If you can’t find a Ford SVT Raptor at your local dealer it’s probably because the truck was shipped to China. Rumors have it that Raptors are going for 300% of their MSRP on the Chinese black market.

4. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors is recalling certain 2012 Buick Verano, Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic models due to a defect in the driver’s airbag system.

5. General Motors is recalling 12,626 XTS models built between October 12, 2011 and August 30, 2012 over Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 202, which pertains to head restraints.

6. Toyota is recalling a total of 2.77 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of issues including water pumps (Prius) and other models related to a steering system issue.

7. In the automotive version of World Wrestling Federation, NASCAR fined wannabe race car driver Jeff Gordon $100k, and docked 25 points from his season total for crashing into another NASCAR thug, Clint Boyer.

8. The first ever Austin Grand Prix was a whopping success marking the return of F1 to the USA for the first time in five years. An estimated one million people watched the event on television and 120,000 attended the event in Austin.

9. Ferrari auctioned an F12 Berlinetta to raise $1.5 million for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The auction was part of the F1 event in Austin, TX. The funds will go to the Red Cross for dispersement.

10. Japan’s automakers are gearing up for the biggest wave of North American production expansion in a decade. Mazda, Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Mitsubishi are all gearing up production in North America with Subaru and Mitsubishi adding capacity in the USA.