Filed under: Hybrid , Minivan/Van , Wagon , Europe , Hatchback , Ford , Toyota , Electric Ford dealers have started taking orders for the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid , the company announced today. The gas-electric hybrid will arrive later this year with a starting price of $25,995, undercutting its most direct competitor, the Toyota Prius V hybrid, which has a base price of $26,550. “C-Max Hybrid offers better fuel economy, performance, technology and functionality than Prius V – and C-Max Hybrid customers will pay less at the dealership and at the pump,” said Ken Czubay, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, in a press release. More importantly, Ford will provide some stiffer competition for Toyota , which has ruled the hybrid market, selling 77 percent of all hybrids in the U.S. this April. The C-Max will only be offered in the U.S. as a hybrid, similar to Toyota’s Prius strategy. There will also be an all-electric version, known as the C-Max Energi , that arrives this fall. Ford sells the C-Max, which is built on Ford’s compact car platform, in Europe as a gas powered model.
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: BMW , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Mercedes-Benz , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen Forbes has measured the largest 100 companies in the world, and 10 automakers have made the list. This list is unique in that it measures the size of a company using a combination of sales, assets, profits and market value. Volkswagen was rated as the top automaker in the top 100 (number 17 overall), with sales of $221 billion and $21.5 billion in profit. Toyota finished a close second, ranked number 25 overall with sales of $228.5 billion. Daimler finished at 37 due in part to $188.7 billion in assets and a $66.3 billion market cap. Ford came in at 44 with a market value of $47.5 billion. Honda , which also sells motorcycles and generators, among other things, rounds out the top five with $137.7 billion in assets. Finishing outside of the top five were BMW (61), General Motors (63), Nissan (85), Mitsubishi (95) and Hyundai (96). Mitsubishi made the top 100 in part because it sells hoards of electronics around the world. No automakers were able to crack the top 10, even with massive sales volume and solid profits.
Filed under: Etc. , Government/Legal , Ford , Honda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials While the headline might seem shocking, given the circumstances of the 2009 global economic meltdown, it only makes sense. Ford’s dealings with two of its biggest competitors were centered around mutual self-preservation in the form of trying to keep a beleaguered supplier base afloat, according to The Detroit News . According to the report, Ford , Toyota and Honda cooperated to buy from common suppliers in a bid to keep those parts-makers from going under, which would have threatened the automakers’ viability. That revelation comes courtesy of a new book, American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman. The auto industry is far more complex than many people realize, especially in this modern era, with ever-more demanding regulations and brutal competition from all corners of the globe. Tier One suppliers, as the biggest parts companies are known, have assumed much of the engineering and product testing and development work for new vehicles, even including big chunks of assembly. When times get tough, as they most certainly did in late 2008, suppliers are often the canary in the coal mine . At least 27 automotive suppliers filed for Chapter 11 in 2009, meaning that Ford had good reason for taking such precautions, referred to as “Project Quark” internally, according to the report.
Filed under: Etc. , Government/Legal , Safety , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Kia , Nissan , Subaru , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a number of vehicles for potentially faulty side airbags , according to The Detroit News . The airbags may have been manufactured with an ineffective mix of inflation gasses, which could leave the bags flat in the event of a collision. The defective hardware has found its way into models from Toyota , Honda , Subaru and Nissan , and has resulted in the recall of around 2,700 units so far. If NHTSA finds the defective airbags in other vehicles, that number could swell substantially. The defective airbag inflators were manufactured by a Autoliv, a Swedish supplier. According to the report, Autoliv shipped a total of 10,500 faulty inflators to manufacturers as well as two other airbag makers. Chrysler , Ford , General Motors , Kia and Suzuki all purchased the defective parts, though it’s unclear exactly which models were equipped with the Autoliv pieces. Ford, GM and Chrysler have all said their airbag inflators work differently than those used by other automakers. The companies haven’t seen any failures in extensive testing.
Filed under: Car Buying , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota Domestic automakers have much to be happy about, with Chrysler , Ford and General Motors all gaining market share last year for the first time since 1988. Yet according to Bloomberg, 2012 won’t be as good to Detroit. Total sales are projected to grow from 12.8 million vehicles last year to 13.6 million, according to the report, but increasing competition from Korea and a Japanese recovery from the natural disasters of 2011 mean those extra sales aren’t likely headed to the Big Three. The news agency spoke to five analysts, and predictions have the U.S. automakers losing 1.3 percentage points this year. The analysts estimate that GM will drop 0.6 of a percent, Ford will lose 0.5 percent, and Chrysler will be down 0.2 percent. Toyota is seen gaining 0.9 percent, with Honda grabbing an extra 0.5 percent, while Hyundai and Kia are only projected to see their combined market share improve by 0.01. If all this comes true, GM would have the top market share in the U.S. at 19 percent, with Ford in second at 16.3 percent, followed by Toyota at 13.8 percent, Chrysler at 10.5 percent, and Honda at 9.5 percent. Analysts: U.S.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Ford , GM , Toyota Toyota launched a total of 13 recall campaigns in 2011 covering over 3.5 million vehicles. Those figures put the Japanese automaker at the top of the most-recalled list for the third year in a row, according to Ward’s Auto . Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled nearly 11.5 million vehicles in North America for a variety of reasons, including troublesome floor mats and sticky accelerators tied to the company’s unintended acceleration woes. The company says that around 85 percent of vehicles involved in the pedal recall have been fixed, with lower volume models continuing to trickle into dealers. But Toyota wasn’t the only automaker with recall woes in 2011. Ford found itself in second place for the number of vehicles recalled this year with 10 campaigns covering 3.2 million vehicles. For its part, General Motors issued a total of 21 recalls, but the fixes involved far fewer vehicles: 455,901. All told, Ward’s says automakers issued 130 recalls in 2011, down from 136 campaigns in the U.S. last year. *Update: The expanded Honda airbag recall pushed the automaker past Toyota for the greatest number of recalled vehicles in 2011.
Filed under: Car Buying , Budget , Sedan , SUV , Truck , Chevrolet , Ford , Honda , Nissan , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The figures have been tallied for the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 2011, and not surprisingly, the Ford F-Series pickup truck is king of the heap once again. Dealers sold a total of 584,917 F-Series units in 2011, beating out the second-place Chevrolet Silverado by 169,787 units. The Toyota Camry filled out the podium with 308,510 sales, which left the top three unaltered from their 2010 rankings. Fourth place went to the surging Nissan Altima , which jumped from its seventh place position last year. Likewise, the Ford Escape enjoyed a jolt in popularity as well. While the aging CUV took the 13th spot last year, the Ford sold 254,293 units to take fifth place in 2011. That bumped the Honda Accord and its Crosstour variant to sixth place. Interestingly enough, the Honda duo just barely beat out the Ford Fusion by 5,000 units. Were the two Honda models to be split, the Fusion would have easily knocked the Accord further down the list.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Ford , GM , Toyota Toyota launched a total of 13 recall campaigns in 2011 covering over 3.5 million vehicles. Those figures put the Japanese automaker at the top of the most-recalled list for the third year in a row, according to Ward’s Auto . Between 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled nearly 11.5 million vehicles in North America for a variety of reasons, including troublesome floor mats and sticky accelerators tied to the company’s unintended acceleration woes. The company says that around 85 percent of vehicles involved in the pedal recall have been fixed, with lower volume models continuing to trickle into dealers. But Toyota wasn’t the only automaker with recall woes in 2011. Ford found itself in second place for the number of vehicles recalled this year with 10 campaigns covering 3.2 million vehicles. For its part, General Motors issued a total of 21 recalls, but the fixes involved far fewer vehicles: 455,901. All told, Ward’s says automakers issued 130 recalls in 2011, down from 136 campaigns in the U.S. last year. Toyota tops recall list again in 2011, overall number of U.S.
Filed under: Car Buying , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota Auto sales have grown steadily since the U.S. and its auto industry performed a synchronized swan dive. But, unfortunately for automakers, those numbers have risen at a painfully slow pace. The ‘slow and steady’ trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, but The Detroit News reports that both Ford and General Motors see continued sales increases in 2012. Ford economist Jenny Lin thinks that sales should progress beyond the 12.5 million to 13.5 million units forecasted for 2011. Lin added that a lack of new car sales over the last few years has led to a quickly aging fleet of vehicles on U.S. roads. In fact, the average vehicle on our roads is 10.6 years old, an all-time high. GM chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem seems to agree, adding that demand is high and sales would be higher if Honda and Toyota could ramp up production. Mohatarem says the two Japanese automakers are still struggling to fill dealer lots in the wake of Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami.