Filed under: Sedan , Videos , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Eleven months after Toyota claimed the 2012 sales crown a couple of months early thanks to the Camry , the headlines this year have been quite a bit different to last. Even though the Camry remains the best selling car so far in 2013 and its volume has increased year-on-year, it has lost market share due to the 20-percent sales explosion in the midsize segment. That means people are buying more of the competitor offerings like the Honda Accord , Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion – the Altima, in fact, outsold the Camry by 100 units in March. In July it was reported that Toyota was upping Camry incentives and fleet sales to keep its lead and that dealer inventory was climbing as, again, competitors got better at fighting the champion. In August Ford doubled down on production of the Fusion, adding a line in Flat Rock, MI to keep up with demand. Bloomberg has a report looking at the numbers behind the Camry’s dominance, as well as what appears to be a recorded group interview with Toyota USA CEO Jim Lentz, and wonders aloud whether the Camry will be able to hold its top spot in 2014. Barring catastrophe it has this year locked up, being more than 30,000 sales ahead of the next-best seller as of the end of August, but it has done so with higher incentives and lower transaction prices than its competitors. According to Strategic Vision the Camry’s consideration rate among consumers has also declined by a percentage point, while the consideration rate for the Accord and Fusion has increased by one point and two points, respectively. Analysts, and Toyota, cite better competitor products as well as the fact that the Camry is a year older than any of them to explain what’s happening, but a year from now the three major competitors won’t be as new either, and Toyota knows a thing or two about moving cars. Still, the Camry has been number one for 15 of the past 16 years, its only second-place blip coming in 2001, so it’s way early to be talking about the fall of the champion.
Filed under: Car Buying , Sedan , Chevrolet , Ford , Honda , Hyundai , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota When we first saw and drove new midsize sedans like the 2013 Nissan Altima and 2013 Ford Fusion , we had a feeling the Toyota Camry would eventually see a challenge for the top sales spot, but we had no idea things would move this quickly. Automotive News is reporting that the quarter tallies still show the Camry holding a sizable lead over its competition, but the Altima did manage to outsell the Toyota by 100 units last month. While a single month of not outselling the competition might not be enough to unseat the Camry from its 11-year sales throne, it goes to show how far recent competitors in the segment have come. The four best-selling cars in the midsize segment (in order) are the Camry, Honda Accord , Altima and Fusion , with each car boasting more than 80,000 units through the first three months of the year. Both the Accord and Fusion are seeing double-digit year-over-year sales increases while the Camry and Altima have dropped somewhat. And it wasn’t just Camry that was losing ground. As we saw in the March 2013 By The Numbers post, Toyota sales as a whole were down slightly from 2012 while all of its key competitors ( Chevrolet , Ford , Honda and Nissan ) were in the green. After the top four sellers in the segment, the next closest midsizers are the Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata , but these cars are well off the competitive pace. Although the 2014 Mazda6 isn’t expected to take too big of a bite out of the midsize market, its attractive design and available diesel engine could continue the shakeup of this once-predictable segment. Altima, Fusion shaking up midsize sedan sales race originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Apr 2013 09:44:00 EST.
Filed under: Sedan , Honda , Nissan , Toyota Belts and pulleys will continue to replace traditional gears in the coming years as more carmakers turn to Continuously Variable Transmissions to suck the fun out of future machines increase fuel economy. According to a new Automotive News report, by the numbers, about one percent of new vehicles were equipped with a CVT in 2005. By 2010, that number of new vehicles in the U.S. grew to seven percent, thanks largely to Nissan , not to mention an increase in the number of hybrid models sold in America (most of which are fitted with the technology). Experts at IHS Automotive now predict that percentage will more than double by 2016 to 16 percent. The belt-and-pulley transmission can adjust to an engine’s torque in an infinite number of ways, making it more efficient than traditional gearboxes. But CVTs have become the bane of many enthusiasts and critics because of a number of undesirable characteristics – namely the unpleasant ‘rubber band’ sound they emit under hard acceleration. According to Automotive News , Japanese carmakers appear especially interested in adding CVTs to their lineups. Honda is widely expected to offer a CVT on its next-generation four-cylinder Accord , Toyota may include a CVT on its future Corolla , and the CVT stalwarts at Nissan introduced its 2013 Altima earlier this year with an upgraded CVT that helps it achieve 38 miles per gallon on the highway. While CVTs continue to improve, some providing faux programed “shift points” through sport programs or paddle shifters, they remain a non-starter with most enthusiasts we talk to.