Report: Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume

Filed under: Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Ford

2013 Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion may already beat the Toyota Camry in terms of models offered, transaction price and sales increase so far this year, but if the Fusion wants to make a run at the title of best-selling car in the US, Bloomberg reminds us that volume is key. Opening a second production line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant will reportedly allow Ford to produce around 350,000 Fusions annually, which compares Toyota’s ability to crank out 475,000 Camrys and Honda’s capacity to build around 450,000 Accords.

For the Fusion, that’s an extra 100,000 units compared to the car’s current pace, and the article adds that the Fusion is “Ford’s best shot” to regain the passenger car sales crown – a title it (or any other US automaker, for that matter) hasn’t held since the mid-1990s. Despite hiccups with recalls and fuel economy numbers, the Ford Fusion is still red hot when it comes to sales. Fusion sales are up 13 percent so far this year (compared to a 0.6 percent decrease for Camry), and its average transaction price of $26,343 is about $2,300 more than its rival from Toyota.

The Fusion’s popularity has helped Ford improve its sales in California; the Dearborn-based automaker has a market share of 18 percent in the state, which is just a fraction of a percentage behind Honda. And this popularity should continue as Ford ups Fusion production and expands the model lineup even further for 2014 with a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine soon to become an option.

Ford making Fusion production moves to challenge Camry on volume originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota

2013 Ford F-150 XLT

With July 4th just around the corner, what better time could there be for Cars.com to announce that the Ford F-150 is the Most American car of 2013? This may be especially true since it was the Toyota Camry, a car produced by a company based in Japan, that had held the top spot from 2009 to 2012.

Cars.com compiles its Most American list by considering the amount of parts each vehicle uses that come from America, where it’s final assembly takes place and how many units per year are sold. “While the assembly point and domestic parts content of the F-150 didn’t change from 2012-2013, vehicle sales are responsible for bumping the F-150 to the top spot,” according to Patrick Olsen, Editor-in-Chief of Cars.com.

As far as automakers go (as opposed to individual models), Toyota retains the top spot it held in 2012, with General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and Honda (in that order) rounding out the list. The motivation behind this list each year, according to Olsen, is “to help car shoppers understand that ‘American-Made’ extends beyond just the Detroit three” and because “a study we conducted in 2012 indicated that 25 percent of shoppers surveyed preferred to buy American.”

It should be noted, however, that Cars.com isn’t the only group with an American-made study, and not everyone agrees on the methodology used. In fact, a highly detailed study earlier this year by American University’s Kogod School of Business found that the Lambda CUV triplets from GM are the most American-made nameplates, and there isn’t a single vehicle from a Japanese automaker anywhere near its top ten.

Feel free to browse the press release below to see how the full top-10 list breaks down.

Continue reading Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index

Ford F-150 bumps Camry from top of Cars.com American Made Index originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jun 2013 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA letter grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage

Filed under: Podcasts

Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

Shunk, Bowman, Roth and (eventually) Paukert get together for Episode #231 of the Autoblog Podcast. We cover the talk of a new Toyota Camry by year’s end, the dropping of proposed EPA letter grades from window stickers, the BMW 328 Hommage, and Chrysler and Lincoln topping their categories in the recent AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Your feedback and questions finish it off, and we’ve re-posted the Q&A at the bottom of this post so you can play along at home, too. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week!

Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA Letter Grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage

  • Letter grades dropped from window stickers; good or bad?
  • BMW 328 Hommage unveiled to celebrate 75th anniversary of original
  • New Camry coming this fall
  • Lincoln and Chrysler named top brands in Auto Pacific satisfaction survey

In the Autoblog Garage:

2011 Porsche Panamera
2011 Hyundai Equus
2011 Infiniti EX35


Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Zach Bowman, Chris Paukert
Runtime: 01:19:04


Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Voicemail: 734-288-8POD (734-288-8763)

Review the show in iTunes and take our survey

Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA letter grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: 7th-generation Camry coming this fall, Prius expected to take top sales spot

Filed under: Sedan, Toyota

2011 toyota camry

2010 Toyota Camry – Click above for high-res image gallery

The current Toyota Camry has been carrying the mid-size sedan torch since 2006, so it’s high time for a remake. According to WardsAuto.com, Toyota is busily prepping the next-generation car, and it could be here by the fall.

The Japanese automaker has been seeing increased pressure from the latest offerings coming out of Korea and the United States, and now it’s time to update its own high-volume money maker. While Toyota sold 327,084 Camrys in 2010 – still at the very front of the midsize family sedan class – that figure represents the lowest sales total for the vehicle since 1994.

Somewhat interestingly, though, Toyota apparently sees the Prius hybrid range taking over for the Camry as Toyota’s best-selling model. Time, as they say, will tell.

7th-generation Camry coming this fall, Prius expected to take top sales spot originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 20 May 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Optima beats Camry, Accord in CR test, Altima still favorite; Explorer lambasted

Filed under: Sedan, SUV, Ford, Honda, Kia

2011 kia optima 2.0t

2011 Kia Optima 2.0T – Click above for high-res image gallery

The mid-size sedan battle rages on year after year. Perennial kings are dethroned while new challengers emerge boasting fresh styling and a bountiful list of standard features. Consumer Reports launches its June issue today, and the institute’s testers have put a host of family-minded four-doors powered by four-cylinder engines through a workout to determine which is the top dog. Ten vehicles were tested but, as Christopher Lambert will tell you, there can be only one.

As it has here at Autoblog Towers, Kia’s 2011 Optima draws big praise from the Consumer Reports crew. In fact, the Korean squeezes out a higher rating than the Honda Accord. It may have only beat the Honda by one point, but this represents a significant win for Kia. The opinions of Consumer Reports are highly valued by a large number of car shoppers, and this victory ought to push the Optima further onto radar of the American car buying public. Interestingly, while the Optima earned a “Very Good” rating, it wasn’t the comparison’s overall winner, however, as the Nissan Altima (a perennial CR favorite) claimed the test’s top spot, neatly trumping the Honda and the best-selling Toyota Camry in the process.

One vehicle not fairing so well in the June issue of Consumer Reports? The 2011 Ford Explorer. Nineteen mid-size sport utility vehicles were rounded up for testing, and the Explorer wound up in 17th place – well behind the Toyota Highlander Hybrid – a dismal showing for the Blue Oval brand. If you don’t have an issue of CR in your mailbox, check out the official press release after the jump for more details.

Continue reading Optima beats Camry, Accord in CR test, Altima still favorite; Explorer lambasted

Optima beats Camry, Accord in CR test, Altima still favorite; Explorer lambasted originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 May 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Altima outsells Camry, Accord in March, named best-selling sedan in America for first time

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, Nissan, Earnings/Financials

2010 Nissan Altima sedan

Nissan Altima – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan says it achieved a 9.7 percent U.S. market share in March, the highest single month in company history. Complementing March’s heady number is an overall market share of 9.3 percent for Nissan in the first quarter of 2011. That represents a 0.3 percent gain in market share, building on 2010’s 0.4 percent gain.

March also saw the Nissan Altima take the title of best-selling sedan in America, another company first. The Altima contributed 32,289 units to Nissan’s 121,141-car total, which is nearly a 27 percent bump over last year’s March figures. It isn’t immediately clear what incentives Nissan had on the car during the month of March to aid sales, but presently, the Japanese automaker is offering zero-percent financing for up to 60 months or 1.9 percent APR financing for up to 72 months, or $1,250 cash back.

Had enough numbers? Too bad, Nissan isn’t quite done. Monthly sales were up 28.4 percent for the division, another record, and Infiniti saw a 13.5 percent sales hike in March. With numbers this big, Nissan is looking at a banner year.

Gallery: 2010 Nissan Altima Sedan

[Source: Nissan]

Nissan Altima outsells Camry, Accord in March, named best-selling sedan in America for first time originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lexus ‘ES 300h’ trademark filing suggests lux’d up Camry Hybrid on the way?

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Government/Legal, Lexus, Rumormill

2010 Lexus ES 350

2010 Lexus ES 350 – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Toyota Camry-based Lexus ES isn’t exactly the most exciting product in the automaker’s range. The entry-level luxury front-driver just received a slight refresh for the 2010 model year, but based on a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office discovered by Car and Driver, an electrified ES hybrid may be in the cards for the sedan’s next generation.

Like the rest of Lexus’ hybrids, the numerical part of the ‘ES 300h’ nomenclature doesn’t really hold any sort of significance in terms of engine displacement. We’d hardly be surprised to find the Camry Hybrid’s 2.4-liter mill under the Lexus’ hood, though we won’t rule out the possibility that output numbers could be tweaked for use in the ES 300h.

The move to hybrid-ify the ES sedan makes sense, as Lexus has long said that it wants to broaden its gasoline-electric offerings. The automaker currently has the CT 200h, HS 250h, GS 450h, RX 450h and LS 600h L, but adding a sixth hybrid car would further strengthen the brand’s appeal to eco-minded luxury customers. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

Gallery: Review: 2010 Lexus ES 350

Photos copyright (C)2010 Chris Shunk / AOL

[Source: Car and Driver]

Lexus ‘ES 300h’ trademark filing suggests lux’d up Camry Hybrid on the way? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Camry pedal recall prompts secondary repair, Toyota denies it’s recalling a recall

Filed under: Recalls, Safety, Toyota

Toyota pedal assembly

“On November 30, 2010, Toyota issued a Technical Service Bulletin that instructs technicians how to repair two weld nuts that may be damaged when removing the bolts used to attach the accelerator pedal to the bulkhead.” So says the automaker in a statement you’ll find after the jump.

It seems this pair of weld nuts on the 2007-2010 Toyota Camry and 2005-2010 Avalon are occasionally stripped during the process of performing one of two recalls instituted last year by Toyota – either inserting a little metal spacer in the throttle pedals in order to ensure the pedals don’t stick in the open position or when slicing three-quarters of an inch off the bottom of the pedals so that they can’t interfere with the floor mats.

According to Toyota, it’s not particularly uncommon for nuts such as this to become stripped when removed, which is certainly true. Where some reports differ from Toyota’s own statement is whether or not owners prompted the secondary repairs after noticing that their pedals weren’t firmly attached to their cars after the original recalls were completed.

Consumer Reports writes that “as many as 500 owners of those cars have complained of gas pedals that feel loose or have play side-to-side.” Toyota, on the other hand, claims that “no customer vehicles on the road are affected” and that “suggestions that this TSB was issued to resolve customer complaints about accelerator pedal feel after the recall or that this TSB is a recall are wrong.”

Whose report is accurate? That’s up for discussion. Feel free to read Toyota’s official statement after the jump and read CR’s initial report here and try to figure out this mess for yourself.

[Sources: Consumer Reports, Toyota]

Continue reading Camry pedal recall prompts secondary repair, Toyota denies it’s recalling a recall

Camry pedal recall prompts secondary repair, Toyota denies it’s recalling a recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 03 Dec 2010 11:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Camry crash in Utah puts attention back on Toyota recalls

Filed under: Sedan, Safety, Toyota

Crashed Toyota Camry

Paul Vanalfen’s crashed Toyota Camry – Click above for high-res image gallery

A new incident involving a 2008 Toyota Camry is raising concerns about unintended acceleration once again. On November 5, 66-year-old Paul Vanalfen was exiting Interstate 80 in Utah when his vehicle drove through a stop sign and struck a rock embankment, killing Vanalfen and his son’s 38 year-old fiance Charlene Lloyd at the same time. Vanalfen’s son and wife were also injured in the accident. Early reports indicate that the Camry may have continued to accelerate, even as Vanalfen did his best to stop the vehicle. Skid marks at the scene indicate that this isn’t a case of pedal misapplication, leaving investigators to conclude that a malfunction may have caused the incident.

Vanalfen’s Camry was the subject of a total of three recalls, and at this point, it’s unclear whether or not the Toyota had undergone the repairs.

Toyota, meanwhile, says that it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the cause of the incident, and that it’s assisting Utah Highway Patrol investigators any way it can. Click past the jump to read the company’s statement.

Gallery: Paul Vanalfen’s crashed Toyota Camry

Paul Vanalfen's crashed Toyota CamryPaul Vanalfen's crashed Toyota Camry

[Sources: AP via MSNBC, Toyota | Image: AP/Utah Highway Patrol]

Continue reading Camry crash in Utah puts attention back on Toyota recalls

Camry crash in Utah puts attention back on Toyota recalls originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Nov 2010 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota subpoenas Camry in Lee acquittal case

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Government/Legal, Toyota

Koua Fong Lee

Koua Fong Lee can’t seem to catch a break. Lee was convicted of killing three people in 2006 when his Toyota Camry struck a vehicle at a stoplight, but he was later freed after prosecutors discovered that Lee may have been a victim of unintended acceleration. He served two and a half years in prison while the justice system ground along, and now Toyota has subpoenaed his 1996 Camry. The manufacturer wants Lee to turn the car over for an examination on the quick. Unfortunately, Lee no longer has the car. It’s been locked up in the custody of the St. Paul Police Department since the 2006 accident.

With Lee’s name clear, a total of four federal lawsuits have been filed against Toyota by the family members of those killed in the accident. Each claims that Toyota knew of the unintended acceleration issue well before the Lee accident and failed to follow up on those reports in any substantial way. Meanwhile, Toyota claims that the accident wasn’t due to unintended acceleration. You can see the conundrum here. If Toyota proves that the accident wasn’t the result of unintended acceleration, then it may be the case that Lee was at fault.

Lee’s lawyer has expressed obvious concern over allowing Toyota to examine the vehicle unsupervised. So for now, it remains in St. Paul PD custody.

[Source: The Pioneer Press | Image: Ben Garvin, AP Photo/Pioneer Press]

Report: Toyota subpoenas Camry in Lee acquittal case originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 Aug 2010 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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