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.
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 .
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.
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.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , BMW , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen Before financial Stargate opened in September of 2008 and transported us to an entirely new economic dimension, it was oh so common to read about domestic automakers hammering Tier One suppliers to lower their prices. Of course, suppliers are still asked to find efficiencies, but pre-2008, it seemed a point of honor to hold a supplier’s feet to the fire. No more: in the latest Working Relations Index survey of suppliers by Detroit firm Planning Perspectives Inc., General Motors and Chrysler rocketed up the charts to bring the bunch much closer together. Admittedly, the two companies are still in last place, with GM just ahead of Chrysler and Toyota and Honda still up top. But perspective and improvement is the issue here: in 2005, Toyota scored 415 and GM scored 114. In this year’s survey, Toyota scored 296 and Chrysler scored 248. It is the first time in the 12 years of the survey that the six automakers covered have been separated by less than 50 points. Chrysler’s jump was led by the efforts of the the late Dan Knott , whle GM’s improvement has been led by Bob Socia. And yes, this is also a matter of the perennial leaders, Toyota and Honda, suffering a dip: in 2010 Toyota scored 327 and Honda 309, two years later, Toyota has dropped 31 points. Every automaker, however, from top to bottom acknowledged that they still have work to do with supplier relations.
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota When it comes to manufacturing and selling a complicated product like an automobile, a company’s relationship with its suppliers is of huge importance. A good working partnership can translate into higher levels of reliability and lower cost as well as early access to cutting-edge tech. According to a new study conducted by Detroit-based consulting firm Planning Perspectives, Toyota has one of the best relationships with its suppliers among all of the world’s automakers. The Detroit Bureau reports that this is the first time in three years that the Japanese automaker has held the top slot. Honda came in just behind Toyota in the study, but Ford , General Motors and Chrysler have made serious strides toward improving their supplier relationship. In the past, the domestic automakers have continuously pressed their suppliers to produce parts with a lower price tag, which generated conflict. That seems to be changing, however. The Planning Perspectives study says that Ford may even overtake Honda and Toyota in coming years. Meanwhile, Japanese automakers have seen their supplier relationships degrade over repeated recalls and other quality issues. Toyota still tops in supplier relations, but only just originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 16:01:00 EST.