HOLIDAY BREAK: Even car thieves catch the spirit of the season, says the U.S. National Insurance Crime Bureau in a statement showing that Christmas Day has the lowest auto-theft rate of the year. There were 1,432 thefts reported on Dec. 25, 2012, compared with more than 2,400 on peak days in June, July and August of last year. “Even in the worst household, Christmas is generally still celebrated,” Detective Sergeant Michael Stout, of the Tampa police department told Bloomberg News. “There’s a dinner or something, you go see your parents, you go see your relatives.”
EURO FLASH: The shortlist for Europe’s 2014 Car of the Year award has been announced and the lucky seven are – drum roll, please – the BMW i3, Citroën C4 Picasso, Mazda3, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Peugeot 308, Skoda Octavia and Tesla Model S. These vehicles were selected from an initial finalists list of 30 and the winning car – to be selected by 58 judges from 22 European countries – will be crowned at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3. … The North American Car and Truck of the Year award shortlist has also been announced and the finalists, in the car category, are the Cadillac CTS, Corvette Stingray and Mazda3. Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Silverado, Jeep Cherokee and Acura MDX will contend for the truck/utility vehicle award. For those keeping score, General Motors has three of the six finalists here. The winners will be crowned at the Detroit auto show.
SHOW STOPPER: Add the latest Lexus F model to the list of cars debuting at the Detroit auto show. According to a Lexus press release, the car “promises a bold, gritty, experience synonymous with the famed Lexus F heritage.” Bold and gritty? Lexus?
SURVEY SEZ: Consumer Reports recently asked the question: Would you buy your car again? Ninety-nine per cent of Tesla Model S owners said yes. At the other end of the satisfaction scale – for the second straight year – the Nissan Versa sedan, with only 45 per cent of survey respondents saying yes to a repeat purchase. … Anything for a buck: a Carinsurance.com survey of 2,000 drivers discovered that 90 per cent of American motorists would switch to a self-driving vehicle if it meant cheaper insurance rates. Twenty per cent said they would turn in their keys tomorrow, discount be damned.
LID FLIPPED: An autographed helmet race-worn by Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel fetched £72,100 at a recent auction. The proceeds went to charity.
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