Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

Minivan market not what it used to be, but margins make up for it

June 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000. Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove. So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups. The simple answer? It’s all about the money. “They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News . “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock.

180,000 new vehicles are sitting, derailed by lack of transport trains

180,000 new vehicles are sitting, derailed by lack of transport trains

May 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota If you’re planning on buying a new car in the next month or so, you might want to pick from what’s on the lot, because there could be a long wait for new vehicles from the factory. Locomotives continue to be in short supply in North America, and that’s causing major delays for automakers trying to move assembled cars. According to The Detroit News , there are about 180,000 new vehicles waiting to be transported by rail in North America at the moment. In a normal year, it would be about 69,000. The complications have been industry-wide. Toyota , General Motors , Honda and Ford all reported experiencing some delays, and Chrysler recently had hundreds of minivans sitting on the Detroit waterfront waiting to be shipped out. The problem is twofold for automakers. First, the fracking boom in the Bakken oil field in the Plains and Canada is monopolizing many locomotives. Second, the long, harsh winter is still causing major delays in freight train travel.

Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values

Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values

March 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Acura , Ford , Honda , Hyundai , Subaru , Toyota We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that’s true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list – more than any other automaker. CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine’s initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda / Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford , Hyundai and Subaru managed two each. The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn’t recommend because “they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability.” General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren’t far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR ‘s website . Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:14:00 EST.

DoJ fines Japanese parts firms $740M in massive automotive price-fixing scandal

DoJ fines Japanese parts firms $740M in massive automotive price-fixing scandal

September 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Government/Legal , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Toyota Nine Japanese suppliers have pleaded guilty in US court over charges of price fixing in the automotive parts industry, resulting in the Department of Justice doling out a total of $740 million of fines, according to a report from Bloomberg . The scandal, which has resulted in General Motors , Ford , Toyota and Chrysler spending up to $5 billion on inflated parts and driving up prices on 25 million vehicles has sent the DoJ hustling into investigations. “The conduct this investigation uncovered involved more than a dozen separate conspiracies aimed at the U.S. economy,” Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured above) said during yesterday’s press conference. As the investigation stands, the DoJ has issued $1.6 billion in fines against 20 companies and 21 individual executives, with 17 of the execs headed to prison. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond said, “The breadth of the conspiracies brought to light today are as egregious as they are pervasive. They involve more than a dozen separate conspiracies operating independently but all sharing in common that they targeted US automotive manufacturers.” Big-name suppliers indicted in the investigation include Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi Automotive and Mitsuba Corporation. A list of fines and other corporations named in the investigation is available at Bloomberg . DoJ fines Japanese parts firms $740M in massive automotive price-fixing scandal originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index

Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index

June 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Truck , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota With July 4th just around the corner, what better time could there be for Cars.com to announce that the Ford F-150 is the Most American car of 2013? This may be especially true since it was the Toyota Camry , a car produced by a company based in Japan, that had held the top spot from 2009 to 2012. Cars.com compiles its Most American list by considering the amount of parts each vehicle uses that come from America, where it’s final assembly takes place and how many units per year are sold. “While the assembly point and domestic parts content of the F-150 didn’t change from 2012-2013, vehicle sales are responsible for bumping the F-150 to the top spot,” according to Patrick Olsen, Editor-in-Chief of Cars.com . As far as automakers go (as opposed to individual models), Toyota retains the top spot it held in 2012, with General Motors , Chrysler , Ford and Honda (in that order) rounding out the list. The motivation behind this list each year, according to Olsen, is “to help car shoppers understand that ‘American-Made’ extends beyond just the Detroit three” and because “a study we conducted in 2012 indicated that 25 percent of shoppers surveyed preferred to buy American.” It should be noted, however, that Cars.com isn’t the only group with an American-made study, and not everyone agrees on the methodology used. In fact, a highly detailed study earlier this year by American University’s Kogod School of Business found that the Lambda CUV triplets from GM are the most American-made nameplates, and there isn’t a single vehicle from a Japanese automaker anywhere near its top ten. Feel free to browse the press release below to see how the full top-10 list breaks down. Continue reading Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

How the demise of Lincoln’s Town Car has kick-started a limo revolution

How the demise of Lincoln’s Town Car has kick-started a limo revolution

December 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Cadillac , Chrysler , Ford , Toyota , Specialty The deaths of the Ford Crown Victoria and the Lincoln Town Car have meant overhauls of three high-profile American fleets: police, taxi and livery car. Just as police fleets are more open to considering other options and a Nissan van is the new face of the NYC taxi, livery car companies are looking at replacements for the Town Car beyond The Blue Oval. Ford , via Lincoln , has made an MKT Town Car (pictured), but an article in the Detroit News claims “it has failed to win over most of the big limousine companies.” The upstarts trying to move in include livery and limo editions of the Cadillac XTS , and livery specifications of the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300 . Each of those challengers, however, faces challenges. The Town Car was a workhorse, American, rear-wheel-drive sedan with plenty of rear legroom. Cadillac has been in the livery space before but with decontented models that were about selling the brand, not its luxury. It is taking the opposite approach with the XTS, pointing out that its livery edition is “contented in the upper half of the XTS range.” Still, the CEO of Michigan’s largest livery company says “it’s quite a bit smaller than what we’re used to,” and he also prefers rear-wheel drive. The Chrysler 300 is rear-wheel drive, and American, which matters to some companies, but Chrysler hasn’t yet revealed the livery package for it. The livery Avalon marks Toyota’s first time getting into that business in the US, a natural step after having done so well with taxi clients and with the Town Car out of the way. Still, the livery client is a different to taxi buyers, so the Avalon could face other soft-touch hurdles.

Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota

Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota

December 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Toyota Each year, Consumer Reports compiles a list of the vehicles it expects to be the best and worst when it comes to holding their original resale value, and the list of best values for 2012 is, not surprisingly, dominated by Toyota products. Overall, the best value for 2012 is the Toyota Prius , while the worst car for the money is the BMW 750Li , according to the magazine. The Prius knocked the Honda Fit from the top spot, which was the best value four years running, and it did so despite costing $10,000 more as tested. As CR points out, a higher price does not equate to less value just as a lower price does not guarantee a higher value. A total of 15 Toyota, Scion and Lexus made the list with only one, the Lexus GS 350 , having a lower-than-average resale value. Volkswagen and Subaru pulled in an impressive amount of cars on the list, too. On the opposite end of the stick, Chrysler was hit hard with all seven of the cars listed (across the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands) rated with a below-average resale value. Scroll down to see the winners and losers for each category, but to view the full breakdown of the best and worst values on the market, a CR subscription is required. Continue reading Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota Consumer Reports best value awards dominated by Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Did Apple forget to tell automakers about the new Siri button? [UPDATE]

Did Apple forget to tell automakers about the new Siri button? [UPDATE]

June 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Technology , Audi , Chrysler , Toyota Apple expects nine different carmakers to begin including a “Siri button” on their steering wheels within the next 12 months, the company announced this week. Of course, the news came as a surprise to some of the carmakers, according to Business Insider . After Apple announced plans to further integrate it’s Siri voice recognition software to a button on the steering wheel, some carmakers said they were unaware of those plans. Audi told Fast Company , which contacted all nine carmakers mentioned by Apple, that it was not sure if the project could be completed in a year. A Chrysler spokesman said the company did not have any plans to announce anything. Toyota was equally as vague: “(T)here are no particular applications planned at this time.” Building a Siri button certainly makes sense and, no doubt, will happen in the coming years. It’s also smart business. Instead of an automaker spending money developing voice recognition software, let Apple do it and integrate that system into a vehicle. Already, carmakers have moved to integrate smartphones into cars, putting apps on phones onto center console screens and finding ways to piggyback services from a phone into the car. USB ports on a car are simply expected nowadays.

Did Apple forget to tell automakers about the new Siri button?

Did Apple forget to tell automakers about the new Siri button?

June 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Technology , Audi , Chrysler , Toyota Apple expects nine different carmakers to begin including a “Siri button” on their steering wheels within the next 12 months, the company announced this week. Of course, the news came as a surprise to some of the carmakers, according to Business Insider . After Apple announced plans to further integrate it’s Siri voice recognition software to a button on the steering wheel, some carmakers said they were unaware of those plans. Audi told Fast Company , which contacted all nine carmakers mentioned by Apple, that it was not sure if the project could be completed in a year. A Chrysler spokesman said the company did not have any plans to announce anything. Toyota was equally as vague: “(T)here are no particular applications planned at this time.” Building a Siri button certainly makes sense and, no doubt, will happen in the coming years. It’s also smart business. Instead of an automaker spending money developing voice recognition software, let Apple do it and integrate that system into a vehicle. Already, carmakers have moved to integrate smartphones into cars, putting apps on phones onto center console screens and finding ways to piggyback services from a phone into the car. USB ports on a car are simply expected nowadays.

Canadian railroad strike could pinch U.S. car supply

Canadian railroad strike could pinch U.S. car supply

May 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Etc. , Plants/Manufacturing , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota , Canada TheDetroitBureau.com reports 5,000 Canadian Teamster union members moved to strike against the Canadian Pacific Railroad after last-minute negotiations failed to reach a fruitful agreement. As a result Chrysler , General Motors , Ford , Honda and Toyota have all seen their vehicle shipments bottlenecked. The railroad company has closed a full 15,000 miles of track across both Canada and the U.S., and the Canadian government has already threatened take action to put an end to the standoff. Those tracks typically handle a large portion of vehicle commerce, including moving both complete cars and components to and from manufacturing facilities. According to TDB, Canadian Pacific Railroad serves auto manufacturing facilities across Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, helping to link those plants with sister locations in Mexico . Chrysler says the company is currently investigating alternative shipping methods in the event the strike continues much longer. Honda, meanwhile, has said CR-V shipments have already been impacted by the issue. Canadian railroad strike could pinch U.S.

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