Filed under: Car Buying , China , Europe , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , Fiat Automotive News has announced its annual list of Industry All-Stars. This year, the theme is apparently “success in the face of economic uncertainty,” or something of that liking. The list points to executives who have led their respective brands and automakers to positive sales in spite of the European financial crisis and slowing sales in China . See the list below, and you’ll understand why: Industry Leader of the Year and CEO, Europe – Martin Winterkorn, CEO, Volkswagen Group (above): The VW boss started with the German automaker in 2007, overseeing a staggering 12 brands. Under his leadership, sales of Volkswagens have gained in both China and America. VW has also expanded production to America and grown its operations in Brazil. Winterkorn is a very hands-on executive, traveling to America six times to test and tweak the American-built current-generation Passat. Volkswagen is aiming to be the largest and most profitable automaker in the wold by 2018, and Winterkorn will stay on through that time, making him accountable for those goals. CEO, North America – Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler Group: How does 31 straight months of positive year-over-year sales sound? The Fiat and Chrysler chief has bestowed dealers with a wealth of new product, and the American automaker is expected to post $1.5 billion in profits this year, in spite of economic turmoil in Europe.
Filed under: Toyota Big T Is Back Despite Recalls, Earthquakes And Politics Can anything slow Toyota down? Only a couple of years ago, the Japanese giant seemed as vulnerable as a sumo wrestler with vertigo as it struggled to explain away a series of safety and quality snafus that forced it to recall an unprecedented 14 million vehicles worldwide. Then, just it was getting back on its feet, the maker was body-slammed by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that all but shut down the Japanese auto industry , leaving the industry giant struggling under severe inventory shortages for the rest of the year. Only a couple of years ago, the Japanese giant seemed as vulnerable as a sumo wrestler with vertigo. Yet, just like that sumo wrestler, Toyota has repeatedly shaken off the hardest hits. Despite somewhat mixed reviews , its Camry has continued to dominate the midsize passenger car segment – helping Toyota drive sales gains that have, in recent months, run triple the pace of the overall US automotive recovery. In fact, Toyota’s loyalty rate is once again setting the industry benchmark, according to a new study by Experian Automotive , something that suggests the recent sales surge is more than just pent-up demand as buyers catch up after the shortages of 2011. So, what to make of the unexpected move by Standard & Poors, the influential financial ratings agency, which this month downgraded the maker’s stock from a “Hold” to “Buy” rating? Now, to be sure, this was no panic move. S&P didn’t tell investors to dump Toyota and race somewhere else with their money.
Filed under: Car Buying , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , By the Numbers Toyota, VW, Honda Up Big Again, But Not As Much As has been the case for a few months now, the same three brands led the month with the largest sales increases among major automakers: Toyota , Volkswagen and Honda . They have swapped positions on the podium each time, but each is a medalist again this month in the industry-wide sales race. Toyota sales were up 42.33 percent in September compared to the same month last year, though that increase is lower than the prior month’s gain of 47.5 percent. Likewise, Volkswagen was up 34.41 last month – far from the 62.54 gain it enjoyed in August. Honda’s increase also dropped sharply month-over-month, from 57.88 percent in August to 29.33 percent last month. This could signal a return to normalcy for Japan’s two biggest automakers, whose sales have appeared inflated compared with last year’s numbers that were affected by that country’s natural disasters and resulting production problems. Our own domestic automakers are likewise seeing a return normalcy that doesn’t include them posting double-digit sales gain every month. Well, except for Chrysler , whose portfolio of brands did exit September with a gain of 11.55 percent. General Motors , however, barely remained positive with a small 1.5-percent increase and Ford dipped slightly into the red with a decrease of 0.13 percent. Ford did enjoy some good news with the performance of its new Escape , which racked up 23,148 sales in September, enough to lead its segment.
Filed under: Car Buying , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , By the Numbers Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota Post Big Gains If you want evidence that the economy is on the mend, look no further than the string of positive monthly sales reports coming from the auto industry this year. August continues the trend with the vast majority of brands and companies reporting improved sales numbers compared to the same month last year, Volkswagen (+62.54 percent), Honda (+57.88 percent) and Toyota (+47.5 percent) leading the way for major manufacturers. Honda and Toyota’s big gains are easy to explain. Just repeat the line we’ve been using all summer about these two Japanese giants enjoying the fruits of restored production capacity following last year’s onslaught of natural disasters in their home region. Volkswagen’s big jump, however, is harder to explain, and looks to be consolidated mostly in the Passat model line where sales jumped from just 314 last August (before the midsize sedan was redesigned) to 10,090 last month. Smaller sales gains from the Golf , Jetta , Beetle , Tiguan and Touareg also contributed. Another individual model that jumped out at us while compiling the numbers is the Ford Escape . The all-new 2013 Escape is a big departure in both style and content compared to the last generation, which sold very well even into its waning months. We’ve been curious to know if consumers would embrace the new Escape’s slicker shape and higher price. The answer is a resounding yes based on last month’s sales of the new model, which totaled 28,188 units, a 36.8-percent improvement compared to last August and a number high enough to make the new Escape one of the industry’s best selling models overall last month.
Eight Toyota Manufacturing Facilities Recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Improved Environmental Performance
ERLANGER, Ky. (July 25, 2012) –
TORRANCE, Calif., June 20, 2012 – Lexus earned the honor as the highest ranking nameplate in the industry in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) with 73 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Lexus has ranked highest in the IQS study in 14 of the last 23 years, beginning with the brand’s first model year in 1990.
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.
TORRANCE, Calif.., March 29, 2012 — When Lexus was established 23 years ago, it was dedicated to providing the best customer service experience in the industry.
Filed under: Car Buying , Etc. , Recalls , Safety , Toyota If you think Toyota is still reeling from negative opinions stirred up by the company’s rash of recalls in 2009, North Carolina State University has some news for you. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the institution, the recalls had “little to no impact” on how buyers see the Japanese automaker. Robert Hammond, an assistant professor of economics at NCSU, says the research specifically looked at the used car market to negate the impact of outside factors like incentives, marketing campaigns and models not associated with the recall to begin with. The idea was that examining average prices of models affected by recalls associated with sudden acceleration would give researchers an idea of how willing buyers were to pay for the vehicles. Overall, used cars covered by the recall campaigns saw their price decline by a mere two percent. The figure is within the statistical margin of error for the study. So, what’s behind the slow in Toyota sales? Despite an abundance of fleet sales last month that saw the company’s figures swell by 7.5 percent over January 2011, Toyota still fell well behind the industry average. With production back on track after last year’s earthquake tragedy, the company may have some explaining to do.
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.