Filed under: Car Buying , Toyota After dealing with flailing global economies, numerous recalls and safety allegations and then the depleted inventory from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Experian Automotive says that Toyota is finally back on top when it comes to consumer loyalty in the US. Toyota edged out General Motors and Ford Motor Company to grab this loyalty crown for the first time since the third quarter of 2009. The metric for this title was determined by owners of a vehicle choosing from the same corporate automaker for their next vehicle purchase. For Toyota, this means that 47.3 percent of its current customers will purchase a Scion , Lexus or Toyota model as their next car compared to 46.2 percent for GM and 46 percent for Ford. Honda and Hyundai rounded out the top five in this list. In terms of individual brand loyalty – when buyers come back to the same brand – Ford took the spot in this category with 44.7 percent of buyers returning to the Ford showroom for their next purchase, including six cars in the top 10 for overall loyalty. Ford Fusion customers are the most loyal with 59.9 percent buying another Ford, but Flex , Edge , Five Hundred, Escape and Fiesta are all in the top 10. Oddly enough, the top vehicle among brand loyalty was the Chevrolet Sonic (which has only been on the market for less than a year – we’re not sure what to make of that…) with 60.3 percent of its buyers trading in for another Chevy product. Other interesting facts to note from Experian Automotive’s study include the median age of vehicles has increased from 9.8 years up to 10.8 years since 2008, indicating that people are keeping their cars for an extra year before trading them in. Besides Toyota, Chrysler was the only automaker listed as having increased its market share and vehicle purchases in the second quarter of this year.
Filed under: China , Japan , Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GM , Honda , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen The unrest in China may have positive consequences for automakers like Volkswagen and General Motors , according to Automotive News . As protesters continue their streak of violence, many owners of Japanese vehicles are leaving them home for fear of damage. Protesters have vandalized Japanese businesses and those that sell Japanese goods, including car dealerships, as well personal property. Reports indicate some owners are swapping their Toyota badges for those of Chinese automaker BYD in hopes of fooling vandalism-minded mobs. Nissan , Toyota and Honda have all reported attacks on their dealerships, and China’s Passenger Car Association has predicted Japanese automakers may lose their market lead to those based in the U.S. and Germany. General Motors sold a total of 1.84 million vehicles in China under a total of three brand names, while Volkswagen moved 1.49 million units this year. By comparison, Nissan has sold just 485,000 vehicles. The protests mark the 81st anniversary of the Manchurian Incident, which saw Japanese forces invade China. General Motors and Volkswagen may benefit from anti-Japan protests in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Sep 2012 11:01:00 EST.
Filed under: Truck , Videos , Ford , Nissan , Toyota , Off-Road , Ram The crew at PickupTrucks.com has busy lately. In addition to wrapping up their global pickup shootout in Australia, the site also took the time to pit four factory off-road kings against each other. After extending invitations to every manufacturer to send out their most capable pickup, the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X , Toyota Tacoma Baja , Ram Power Wagon and Ford F-150 SVT Raptor all showed up to play. General Motors , meanwhile, declined to join the party. Each of the participants threw down in a total of 10 scored events with separate scoring, including old standbys like 0-60, 60-0, payload capacity and fuel economy. But Pickuptrucks.com also partnered up with 4Wheeler Magazine to put the bruisers through some legitimate off-road tests. Each pickup took on a tough sand hill climb as well as a stair climb and a rock scramble. While we weren’t surprised to see the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor take top honors, we were shocked to see where the Power Wagon wound up on the list. How’d the big Mopar place? You’ll have to scroll down to watch the video wrap-up.
Filed under: Technology , Toyota “Intellitouch” is the name Toyota will apparently use to refer to a new electronic control scheme it is developing. That’s according to Car and Driver , which has spotted the name in a new Toyota trademark application. According to the submission, the name refers to “electronic touch sensitive controllers, sold as an integral part of motor vehicles.” C/D speculates that for Toyota to bother developing a brand name, there must be more to the new gadgets than just touchscreen navigation. In fact, the magazine thinks Toyota is gearing up for Intellitouch to compete with Cadillac’s Cue and Ford’s MyFordTouch and their capacitive touch switchgear. The control setup could also be similar to the gesture-based touchpad systems already offered by Audi and shortly, by BMW . Another Toyota trademark filing is for “EBIN,” a wireless charging system for personal electronics. While inductive chargers have been around for a while, several automakers are rushing to include them in upcoming models. General Motors recently trademarked the name, “Dockspot” for its version. Toyota readying Intellitouch touchpad controllers? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Jul 2012 15:30:00 EST.
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , BMW , Toyota , Diesel In December of 2011, BMW and Toyota signed an agreement to collaborate on lithium-ion battery development , and the deal included a provision where BMW would small-displacement diesel engines for Toyota products sold in Europe. It was brought up at the time that the partnership could expand further, and seven months later, it apparently has: Reuters reports the two companies ” have now agreed several projects” in “other fields of cooperation.” The Reuters report, based on an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel , said there were no more specifics but that the two company CEOS would make an announcement “in the near future.” A story in Germany’s Manager magazine went further, however, citing the same Der Spiegel piece and saying that BMW and Toyota would form an alliance around “joint projects in hybrid technology, fuel cells, vehicle electronics” and lightweight technology. The announcement isn’t surprising – BMW’s move into the small, lightweight hybrid space with its forthcoming i sub-brand gives it all the reason to save R&D dollars by teaming up with the company considered the world’s green auto leader, and the rumored expansion topics could help replace BMW’s partnership with Peugeot , on the rocks ever since the French firm tied up with General Motors ‘ Opel division. We’ll know more when an official announcement is made. BMW, Toyota mulling expansive partnership originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 25 Jun 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
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…