Filed under: Car Buying , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota Ask any sales and marketing executive from Chrysler , Ford or General Motors what their company’s greatest challenge is and they will unequivocally reply, “California.” The Golden State accounts for 12.5 percent of all new car sales in the United States, but even more importantly, it is seen as a bellwether for the nation. As the home of the entertainment and consumer electronics industries, California has an outsized reach into our nation’s popular culture – but Californians have historically been among the least receptive to domestic products. There’s some evidence that trend may be changing, as domestic market share has been improving in the recent years, according to Forbes . Ford has seen its Blue Oval brand improve from seven percent in 2008 to over nine percent last year. Chevrolet topped six percent last year after three years of growth. Even Chrysler, which had a market share of less than four percent in 2010, has seen growth – to five percent in 2011 and almost six percent so far this year. Still, those numbers are a pittance compared to the import brands. According to The Detroit News , domestic automakers have a combined 30.8 percent share in California, well below their 44.3 percent national average. The domestics’ recent growth in California – the Japanese and Korean manufacturers’ “home turf” – has certainly been helped by supply shortages at Honda and Toyota , companies beset by natural disasters last year. If domestic automakers are going to continue to take share from foreign competition, they’re going to have to have more success stories like the recent surge in Chevrolet Volt sales, a phenomenon spurred by the availability of High Occupancy Vehicle lane stickers for GM’s plug-in hybrid.
Filed under: Motorsports , Audi , Chevrolet , Nissan , Toyota , Racing If you don’t want to know who finished where in the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, then you should head to another post this instant… With Peugeot’s withdrawal from the world’s greatest endurance race, everyone was looking to the rookie Toyota team and its two petrol-hybrid TS030 race cars to provide some kind of worthy competition for the two diesel-hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattros and two Audi diesel R18 Ultras. And they did. Five hours from the drop of the green flag, Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 7 Toyota passed Benoit Treluyer in the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on track to take the lead. At almost the same time, Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota was getting launched into the air when a GT Pro-class Ferrari turned into him heading into Mulsanne Corner. Both drivers had massive impacts with the tire barrier, ending their races, and Davidson is now lying in the hospital with two fractured vertebra. Worse yet, the second Toyota had fallen to second due to a pit stop during the safety car period, and on the restart it crashed into the Nissan DeltaWing .
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Safety , Hatchback , Chevrolet , Hyundai , Toyota The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crowned two sedans and a hatchback as Top Safety Picks: the 2013 Chevrolet Malibe Eco , 2012 Hyundai Azera and 2012 Toyota Prius c . The redesigned 2013 Malibu joins its 2012 model-mate as a Top Pick, and the 2013 earned a good side impact rating even without its optional side airbags. The Prius c also has siblings that have won the award, the Prius and Prius v . The Azera had been rated in a few earlier tests, but in completing the testing regime with good marks all ’round it earned the accolade. The Top Pick moniker is given to vehicles that score “Good” in the IIHS’s front, side, rollover and rear-impact tests. Have a look below for video of the Malibu and Prius c going through their side-impact exams. Continue reading IIHS crowns three new Top Safety Picks [w/video] IIHS crowns three new Top Safety Picks [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 May 2012 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Chevrolet , Ford , Honda , Toyota Today’s vehicles are more powerful, more efficient and safer than ever before. In fact, today’s car buyer would be hard pressed to spend his or her money on a genuinely bad vehicle. But those overall improvements may have also led consumers to believe there are no real differences between the various products offered by the world’s major automakers. According to the Consumer Reports 2012 Car-Brand Perception Survey, Toyota , Ford , Honda and Chevrolet have all seen their scores drop by double digits compared to last year. The survey asks consumers to rate brands across seven categories. Consumer Reports says that by combining those categories, the organization can get a handle on how each brand is perceived in the marketplace. This year, Toyota continued to lead in the survey, though its persistent recalls saw the brand’s perception fall by 17 points this year. Ford, Honda and BMW all saw their perception scores plummet more than 20 points. The results may indicate consumers are seeing fewer differences between automakers as products continue to improve.
Filed under: Car Buying , SUV , Crossover , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , Honda , Kia , Mazda , Toyota Cars.com recently lined up seven new vehicles for a $37,000 SUV shootout. The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse , 2012 Dodge Durango , 2012 Ford Explorer , 2012 Honda Pilot , 2012 Kia Sorento , 2011 Mazda CX-9 and 2011 Toyota Highlander all squared off against one another in a range of evaluations, including a one-day highway drive and family testing. If you happen to be the deductive type, you may have noticed that the list above includes a fair number of genuine crossovers. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9 bear little resemblance to the body-on-frame bruisers of old, and even models like the 2012 Explorer and 2012 Durango have evolved out of their traditional shells. But when the dust settled, it was Honda’s 2012 Pilot that took top honors thanks to its high level of amenities, spacious interior and clever storage solutions, despite the fact that reviewers found issue with road noise and exterior styling. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that the 2012 Explorer tied for sixth place with the 2012 Sorento. Ouch. Head over to Cars.com to see the full evaluation, and vote for your favorite in our poll. View Poll Cars.com $37,000 SUV shootout yields unexpected results [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Budget , Performance , Auctions , Toyota We have no qualms admitting that we miss the first-generation Toyota MR2 . The spry little mid-engined racer was proof that you didn’t need a summer house on the cape to enjoy a perfectly balanced, lightweight sports car. Of course, with its accessible price tag, it’s no surprise that very few MR2 models survived without encountering substantial neglect or abuse. That’s what makes this supercharged, 1989 gem particularly attractive. With a shave under 22,000 miles on the odometer, all of the factory paperwork and accessories, this machine is bone stock as close to mint as you’re likely to find in the wild. The seller is the original owner and says that he’s sending the MR2 on its way because he’s focusing his efforts on maintaining a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that he also bought new. Different strokes for different folks, we guess. If you’ve got $20,000 lying around with nothing better to do, you can pick up the the 1989 Toyota MR2 in South Windsor, Connecticut at its Buy It Now price, or you can just bid in hopes you meet the reserve. Head over to eBay Motors for more information. eBay Find of the Day: 1989 Toyota MR2 Supercharged is minty fresh originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 03 Oct 2011 15:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Etc. , Chevrolet , Ford , GM , GMC , Honda , Toyota Consumer Reports make/model table – Click above to see entire article Thanks to its countless hours of research and testing, Consumer Reports is able to provide detailed and accurate assessments of pretty much every new car out there. Some of the data they compile results in the all-important reliability and safety ratings. On the other hand, some of the stuff they come up with is a little more trivial. Like how many American-made individual models each automaker produces. Not important, but kind of a fun fact to flex your car knowledge muscles with. The list was compiled by counting each automaker’s list of individual models. In other words, the Honda Civic counts toward Honda’s total, but the Civic Si does not. For 2011, Ford and Chevrolet top the list with 12 each, followed by Toyota at nine and Honda and GMC at eight. General Motors topped the corporate ladder with 21, followed by FoMoCo with 14 and Chrysler with 12.
Filed under: Truck , Safety , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , GMC , Nissan , Toyota IIHS Full-Size Pickup Rollover Crash Testing – Click above for high-res image gallery Like their body-on-frame SUV cousins, full-size pickup trucks are more prone to roll over than a standard passenger car. That’s exactly why it’s so important to have a vehicle that earns good marks in roof-strength tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released the data on its recent volley of tests on full-size pickup trucks, and both the 2011 Ford F-150 and 2011 Toyota Tundra earned the coveted Top Safety Pick designation. The vehicles earned the highest possible rating of ‘good’ in the institutes crush test, where a large steel plate is pressed against one corner of the roof to calculate a strength-to-weight ratio. Meanwhile, the 2011 Nissan Titan took home an acceptable rating in the rollover evaluation while the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado , 2011 GMC Sierra and 2011 Ram 1500 netted marginal scores. IIHS says that the roof on the Toyota Tundra stood up to 4.5 times the truck’s weight while the F-150 handled 4.7 times the pressure. A vehicle must withstand 4 times its weight before five-inches of crush is detected before being awarded a Good rating. Hit the jump for the full press release. Continue reading Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra earn IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra earn IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 18:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Hybrid , Chevrolet , Ford , Nissan , Toyota , Electric 2011 Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery What is the best tool for commuting: a Nissan Leaf , Chevrolet Volt , Toyota Prius , Ford Focus or a commuter train? The team at Cars.com decided to put all five to the test in a recent comparison. Starting out at the Cars.com Chicago headquarters, the team embarked on a 64.5-mile loop to see what mode of transportation could be crowned Abe Froman. The results are not that surprising, but they do demonstrate the power of a pure electric vehicle driven in an urban setting. We won’t give away all of the results, but the picture above should tell you which automobile was the cheapest to operate. The Cars.com crew makes a few interesting points, and provides great analysis into their commuting competition. Head on over and give their story a read . Battle of the Commuters: EVs take on gasoline and the rails originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 May 2011 08:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink