Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Crossover , GMC , Honda , Saturn , Toyota The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is evidently keeping itself very busy these days, as the federal agency has just announced it is launching or renewing investigations into Toyota , Honda and General Motors crossovers. 2006-2008 model year Toyota RAV4 crossovers are under review for allegations of rear tie-rod rust which can result in failure. NHTSA also said it is probing some 35 complaints about 2005 Honda Pilot models with inappropriate activation of the vehicles’ stability control system. The alleged malfunction can cause the vehicles to slow down or stop in bad unsafe situations. At the moment, NHTSA is reviewing a petition regarding the Pilot issue, a move that will determine whether it needs to open a full-blown investigation. In addition, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia three-row crossovers built in 2007-2009 are getting looked at for “loss of low beam headlamp” function. One complainant said the wiring in his Outlook overheated and melted. NHTSA says it has received 415 complaints about the problem and a GM spokesman confirmed that the automaker already started a “Customer Satisfaction Program” in December to address the issue. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons tells the The Detroit News , “We will fully cooperate with its [NHTSA] investigation.” At least four of the complaints about the RAV4 claimed the tie rod failed at speeds above 35 mph, resulting in a loss of control. The NHTSA investigation summary states, “Pictures provided by some complainants show the wheel adjacent to the failed component severely out of wheel alignment with respect to toe and camber.” No word on the timeframe for these investigations before it can be determined whether or not a recall is warranted.
Filed under: Coupe , Toyota It’s pretty safe to say that the Toyota GT 86 / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ joint venture has been quite a success so far. Here at Autoblog, we’ve had nothing but nice things to say about the Toyobaru coupe, and it’s a similar story elsewhere in the automotive press. Toyota has certainly been keeping track of the car’s progress, and because of the success of this project, Autocar reports that the Japanese automaker is now more keen to do joint ventures in the future. Previously, Toyota had worked with PSA Peugeot-Citro
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: Toyota , Earnings/Financials Now that the title of world’s largest maker has become a clear and eager battle, we can expect more regular updates on the progress of the combatants. Bloomberg reports that Toyota snagged the #1 crown in Q1, taking it away from General Motors with 2.49 million units sold across its five brands compared to 2.28 million for GM. Volkswagen was just another tenth down at 2.19 million units sold. What all three might appreciate even more than the crown – except for VW, who is monomaniacal about the No. 1 tag – is that sales volumes and profitability are up, at least in America. Toyota’s sales rebound from the catastrophes of last year (and indeed, the last few years) is being underlined by its performance here, where the Prius Plug-In is the third-best seller against a background of the nation’s best car sales market in five years . Even with double its usual fleet sales in Q1, Toyota expects this financial year’s profits to double . The year isn’t over yet and it remains close, but for now it looks like there’ll be good news for everyone. Well, until 2016, when Volkswagen is predicted to vanquish all challengers at the top of the podium, two years ahead of its own ridiculously ambitious schedule. Toyota takes title of World’s Largest Automaker…
Filed under: Car Buying , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Bloomberg reports that if U.S. auto sales continue at their current pace, 2012 will mark the best year for the industry since 2007. The news comes after word that both Ford and Chrysler have slimmed or entirely eliminated the traditional summer shutdown at their manufacturing facilities to keep pace with demand. All told, sales may reach 14.3 million cars and light trucks, according to analysts, thanks to factors like a gradually improving economy and easier credit. If the pace continues, 2012 will mark the third year of 10-percent gains, which marks only the fourth time that’s happened since the Great Depression. Car sales stalled in 2008, and 2009 saw manufacturers move just 10.4 million units. As Bloomberg points out, that’s the lowest number since 1982, but buyers took home 11.6 million vehicles in 2010 and 12.8 million in 2011. The industry saw a 10.3-percent increase through the first four months of this year. As a result, General Motors , Ford and Toyota have adjusted their yearly sales forecasts accordingly. 2012 U.S.
Filed under: Car Buying , Marketing/Advertising , Chevrolet , Ford , GM , GMC , Hummer , Lincoln , Mercury , Pontiac , Saturn , Toyota When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car. R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those ” orphan owners” have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze , Caddillac CTS or a GMC Acadia . Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln . Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners. As Forbes points out, if you’re driving an orphaned nameplate, you just might be able to use that to your advantage when shopping for a new vehicle.
Filed under: GM , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota has had some recent setbacks, what with last year’s natural disasters and its lengthy recall problems . But according to Bloomberg , the carmaker is back on track, and is expected to post its largest profit in five years. Toyota reports financial results for its fiscal year tomorrow, and is expected to have a $10 billion net income, which would put Toyota ahead of General Motors in earnings, according to the report. The Japanese automaker is expected to forecast a 12 percent sales growth for next year, which would make it the largest global carmaker by revenue, though Volkswagen is expected to lead in earnings. Bloomberg reports that Toyota’s 2012 calendar year sales are expected to increase 21 percent, to 9.58 million units, which would be a record for the automaker. Toyota shares on the Tokyo stock exchange are up 22 percent for the year. Toyota to best GM’s profit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 May 2012 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
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.