Filed under: Car Buying , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota Ask any sales and marketing executive from Chrysler , Ford or General Motors what their company’s greatest challenge is and they will unequivocally reply, “California.” The Golden State accounts for 12.5 percent of all new car sales in the United States, but even more importantly, it is seen as a bellwether for the nation. As the home of the entertainment and consumer electronics industries, California has an outsized reach into our nation’s popular culture – but Californians have historically been among the least receptive to domestic products. There’s some evidence that trend may be changing, as domestic market share has been improving in the recent years, according to Forbes . Ford has seen its Blue Oval brand improve from seven percent in 2008 to over nine percent last year. Chevrolet topped six percent last year after three years of growth. Even Chrysler, which had a market share of less than four percent in 2010, has seen growth – to five percent in 2011 and almost six percent so far this year. Still, those numbers are a pittance compared to the import brands. According to The Detroit News , domestic automakers have a combined 30.8 percent share in California, well below their 44.3 percent national average. The domestics’ recent growth in California – the Japanese and Korean manufacturers’ “home turf” – has certainly been helped by supply shortages at Honda and Toyota , companies beset by natural disasters last year. If domestic automakers are going to continue to take share from foreign competition, they’re going to have to have more success stories like the recent surge in Chevrolet Volt sales, a phenomenon spurred by the availability of High Occupancy Vehicle lane stickers for GM’s plug-in hybrid.
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Ford , Honda , Hyundai , Lexus , Toyota ALG reports both Ford and Hyundai have seen substantial jumps in their respective perceived quality, with the Blue Oval enjoying a 37 percent jump since 2008. Hyundai, meanwhile, has seen its figures increase by 25 percent over the same five years. For industry watchers, the news should offer no real shock. Both manufacturers have been on a new-product warpath, offering models laden with fresh design, efficient drivetrain options and plenty of technology while steadily increasing quality. The increase has been enough to push Ford to fourth on the list of brands with the highest perceived quality with a score of 70.5. That score puts Ford just behind Subaru with a score of 71.1. Ford and Hyundai may have had strong showings, but Honda has snagged top honors among mainstream brands with an 81.3 perceived quality score, followed by Toyota with 80.1. Lexus walked away with the highest rank among luxury brands, followed by Mercedes-Benz and BMW . Cadillac , Lincoln and Jaguar , meanwhile, all fell below the luxury average of 71.2 points.
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: 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: Etc. , Honda , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Toyota During a meeting of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota president Akio Toyoda offered a ” Chapeau! ” to his fellow CEOs by listing his favorite cars from other makers. He listed just one vehicle from five makers represented on the board, in alphabetical order: the Honda NSX , Isuzu Bellett, Mazda Cosmo, Mitsubishi Pajero (our Montero ) and Nissan Skyline. Toyoda didn’t give his reasons for choosing these car beyond each being “memorable.” Even so, going through the list any car enthusiast knows the Honda ( Acura in the States) NSX needs no introduction nor explanation. The Mitsubishi Pajero is probably as well known for it’s off-road excellence as it is for its name change in Spanish-speaking lands due to the word “pajero” – all the more intriguing when it’s apparently named after an Argentine cat, Leopardus pajeros . And although the “Skyline” moniker was made famous overseas by the GT-R , the Nissan Skyline that Toyoda references has a long history and is our Infiniti G . The Mazda Cosmo (pictured) was an Italian-esque little coupe produced from 1967 to 1995, the first series production vehicle with a two-rotor rotary engine. The Isuzu Bellett was that firm’s in-house replacement for the English Hillmans it was rebranding, the first Japanese car to get GT badging (it would also get a GT-R version), and it would cover just about every segment with sedan, coupe, station wagon and pickup truck variants. Toyota CEO lists favorite cars from other automakers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 May 2012 17:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Etc. , Toyota How much do hybrid drivers really, truly like their cars? According to R.L. Polk, not all that much – at least not in 2011. Polk has released a new hybrid loyalty analysis that concludes that only 35 percent of people who bought a hybrid bought another one last year. The data comes from car purchases made in 2011, and Polk found that Toyota Prius drivers are the most loyal, both to the gas-electric technology and to Toyota itself. Sixty percent of Toyota hybrid owners bought another vehicle from the automaker, even if it wasn’t a hybrid. A recent J.D. Power Customer Retention Study found that the average brand loyalty was 49 percent, but that doesn’t take powertrains into account. According to Polk, forty-one percent of Toyota hybrid drivers choose to buy another hybrid (from any brand).
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Chevrolet , Ford , Honda , Toyota Today’s vehicles are more powerful, more efficient and safer than ever before. In fact, today’s car buyer would be hard pressed to spend his or her money on a genuinely bad vehicle. But those overall improvements may have also led consumers to believe there are no real differences between the various products offered by the world’s major automakers. According to the Consumer Reports 2012 Car-Brand Perception Survey, Toyota , Ford , Honda and Chevrolet have all seen their scores drop by double digits compared to last year. The survey asks consumers to rate brands across seven categories. Consumer Reports says that by combining those categories, the organization can get a handle on how each brand is perceived in the marketplace. This year, Toyota continued to lead in the survey, though its persistent recalls saw the brand’s perception fall by 17 points this year. Ford, Honda and BMW all saw their perception scores plummet more than 20 points. The results may indicate consumers are seeing fewer differences between automakers as products continue to improve.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , Honda , Toyota Honda has surpassed Toyota for the largest number of recalled vehicles in 2011. Wards Auto reports that Honda expanded an airbag recall to encompass a total of 2.5 million million vehicles last year, pushing the total number of recalled units to 3.9 million vehicles over 17 campaigns. Previous estimates put Toyota at the head of the recall pile with 13 campaigns covering 3.5 million vehicles. The airbag recall covers some of the most popular Honda models, including Civic , Civic Hybrid and Accord sedans manufactured between 2001 and 2004, as well as the CR-V and Pilot . The Acura CL and TL were also included. Toyota, meanwhile, found itself correcting issues with accelerator pedals and floor mats associated with the company’s unintended acceleration woes. Toyota had found itself leading the largest number of recalled vehicles for two consecutive years prior to 2011. Airbag recall forces Honda past Toyota in total recalls for 2012 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing , Honda , Nissan , Toyota A new study by the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association has found 70 percent of Japanese vehicles sold in the U.S. were built on a North American assembly line. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the study found that more than 400,000 jobs have been created by Japanese automakers since Honda opened its first facility in the U.S. in 1982. Honda , Toyota and Nissan had a total of 29 plants operating in the U.S. in 2010 with a combined investment of $34 billion. Those numbers are likely to increase in the coming years. The Japanese Three have made no secret that the companies are looking to guard their operations against an ever-stronger yen. Odds are we’ll see even more Japanese facilities open their doors in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.
Filed under: Car Buying , SUV , Crossover , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , Honda , Kia , Mazda , Toyota Cars.com recently lined up seven new vehicles for a $37,000 SUV shootout. The 2012 Chevrolet Traverse , 2012 Dodge Durango , 2012 Ford Explorer , 2012 Honda Pilot , 2012 Kia Sorento , 2011 Mazda CX-9 and 2011 Toyota Highlander all squared off against one another in a range of evaluations, including a one-day highway drive and family testing. If you happen to be the deductive type, you may have noticed that the list above includes a fair number of genuine crossovers. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9 bear little resemblance to the body-on-frame bruisers of old, and even models like the 2012 Explorer and 2012 Durango have evolved out of their traditional shells. But when the dust settled, it was Honda’s 2012 Pilot that took top honors thanks to its high level of amenities, spacious interior and clever storage solutions, despite the fact that reviewers found issue with road noise and exterior styling. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that the 2012 Explorer tied for sixth place with the 2012 Sorento. Ouch. Head over to Cars.com to see the full evaluation, and vote for your favorite in our poll. View Poll Cars.com $37,000 SUV shootout yields unexpected results [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .