Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Ford , Toyota In an apparent shot back at Ford’s increasing market share of electrified vehicles and claim that it accepts more Prius trade-ins for its own hybrids than any other car, Toyota has flexed a muscle and played the numbers game to put the Blue Oval in its place. Leaning on its hybrid market dominance in California, the Japanese automaker stated that six out of 10 hybrids sold in the Golden State are Toyota models. And it keeps coming: Year-to-date through May 2013, Toyota sold five times more hybrids than Ford . One of every two hybrids in California is a Prius model. In addition, Toyota notes that it has sold 1.5 million Prius vehicles in the US, 90-percent of which are still on the road today. Want more? We’ll let Bill Fay, Toyota’s group vice president and general manager of sales lay the smack down: “The hybrid industry has become competitive, but our wide range of hybrid vehicles continue to deliver high value and strong attributes to both new and loyal customers. With sales of 5.3 million hybrids globally and over two million in the US, we are the undisputed leader in hybrid vehicle technology and remain committed to building on our momentum and growing the acceptance of hybrid technology throughout the US.” And to think Toyota and Ford just ended their collaboration to make hybrid trucks together. On one hand, those are indeed very impressive statistics, but there’s a flip side, as well. Hybrids still aren’t a factor for most American new car buyers , and, as of 2012, only about 3.3 percent of new cars sold in the US were hybrids , of which California sales would clearly represent an inordinately large percentage.
Filed under: Budget , Plants/Manufacturing , Hatchback , Mazda , Toyota Mazda and Toyota have announced a partnership to produce a new vehicle for our market. Mazda will build a subcompact economy car for North America based on its own Mazda2 at its soon-to-be-finished facility in Mexico for sale under the Toyota banner. The plant will build around 50,000 units per year once production begins in during the summer of 2015, leaving a further 90,000-unit capacity for Mazda vehicles. Toyota has invested a proportional amount of funds in the plant’s production equipment to offset the cost, and hopes to have a more competitive North American lineup as a result of the collaboration. Mazda, meanwhile gains the benefit of spreading production costs over a greater number of vehicles per year. The move certainly makes sense as Japanese manufacturers look to send more manufacturing out of Japan in the face of the stronger yen. In addition, last year’s earthquake and tsunami disasters underscored the need for a production network capable of flexibly responding to localized disasters, leaving many Japanese automakers with production delays and thin supply. Mazda, meanwhile, has increasingly sought outside assistance with its manufacturing and engineering efforts as it looks to turn a profit again. The company recently courted Italian automaker Fiat in a tie-up that will see Mazda develop the platform for the next-generation MX-5 Miata and an Alfa Romeo roadster. As for the new partnership, while Toyota isn’t saying what this subcompact model will be called, we have to wonder if it’s a next-generation Yaris .