By on July 3, 2011

Each month, we follow the ups and downs of the car business.

Cars.com has a different hit-parade: Which models sell best? Here are the American Top 10 of June. Uncommented. The numbers speak for themselves.

 

 

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

191 Comments on “The Top 10 Of June...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    1. The Cruze and Focus are kicking some ass.
    2. I have to think the high numbers for the Malibu and Escape are because of fleet sales.
    3. I’ve always been of the mind “It’ll take a major disaster…” to dislodge the Japanese from consistently leading the list. And it did.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I have to think the high numbers for the Malibu and Escape are because of fleet sales.

      GM press releases are fairly oblique, but I would guess that something between 25-50% of the Cruze sales also went to fleet.

      According to its own press releases, 27% of June GM sales (58,661 units) were going to fleet. Only 645 of those were Cadillacs. That leaves 58,016 that came from Chevy, Buick or GMC.

      Now, GM won’t tell us exactly how those 58,016 fleet sales were allocated across the lineup — whoever writes the press releases likes to avoid hard numbers, relying instead on carefully chosen percentages that are meant to accentuate the positive. However, it’s a fair guess that most of the fleet sales are being generated by a few core models, such as the Cruze and Malibu, and are not evenly distributed across the board.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        but I would guess that something between 25-50% of the Cruze sales also went to fleet

        Not even close, inventory turn at 38 days, last fleet number I saw was 10%. GM retail sales up 16%, Cobalt to Cruze retail sales specifically up 33%.

        The Cruze is not a fleet queen.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Cruze is not a fleet queen.

        Avis features it in its fleet.

        In any case, by backing into the few paltry stats that GM will provide, one car surmise that Cruze fleet sales aren’t tiny.

        If fleet sales were low, GM would be specific about the figure. Instead, they report that “Chevrolet Cruze had retail sales 153 percent higher than the Chevrolet Cobalt it replaced”.

        What they don’t factor in is that total Cruze sales were up by 245%. The retail sales growth is lower than the total sales growth.

        Fleet averages for the Cobalt were about 32%. In June 2010, GM sold 10,141 Cobalts. If you assume that June 2010 was an average month, then one would guess that retail Cobalt sales during the period was about 6,900 units.

        Now, if we apply the 153% figure to that 6,900, then we end up with about 17,500 retail sales of the Cruze. But since there were almost 25,000 units sold, that leaves us with Cruze fleet sales of about 7,500 units and a fleet percentage of about 30%.

        And mind you, that’s an optimistic figure. If the fleet percentage of the Cobalt was above 32% in June 2010 (and I’m guessing that it was, given the circumstances), then the numbers get even worse.

        Of course, this would be much easier if GM would just report the numbers. But they aren’t. The media kits tend to avoid expressing these sales in units, unless the figures are good enough to give them bragging rights. Since they haven’t reported them here, I will assume (probably correctly) that they don’t have that much to brag about with the fleet figures.

        That being said, if they are able to retail about 200,000 units per year, that would still be an impressive showing. But the fleet sales do need to be considered, and 25-30% is quite high.

      • 0 avatar
        alexndr333

        The sales numbers for June are not easily parsed. The tsunami, the price of gas, the availability of good small cars from GM and Ford, the attempt by the domestics to wean themselves off fleet sales – even the string of Toyota recalls – all factor into the mix. And nobody really knows how much each one weighs on the total. But two things stand out: The domestics and the Koreans have had the good fortune of offering attractive small cars at the worst possible time for the Japanese, and a new generation of car owners are replacing the knee-jerk buyers of Hondas and Toyotas. The real question is whether the strong showing by Ford, GM and Hyundai / Kia is a summer 2011 thing or a long-term trend – and we won’t know that until the end of the year. You can be that in the fall, Toyota will deluge the US with advertising and deals. It won’t be pretty for anyone, except the new car shopper.

      • 0 avatar
        ppxhbqt

        It must be remember the huge percentage of Impalas that go to fleets skews GM’s total percentage greatly. Also, with Focus inventories so limited right now, Cruze is likely taking most of what Focus used to do selling to fleets like telecoms, utilities, universities, etc. Those are fleet sales, but hardly a bad thing.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Cruze is likely taking most of what Focus used to do selling to fleets like telecoms, utilities, universities, etc. Those are fleet sales, but hardly a bad thing.

        Historically, commercial fleet sales are a small percentage of the total fleet market. The fleet market is dominated by rental, and most of the rental market is dominated by the domestics and Hyundai/ Kia.

        These stats from 2009 shows the dominance of rental in the fleet business. It’s doubtful that things have changed radically since then:

        http://www.automotive-fleet.com/Statistics/StatsViewer.aspx?file=http%3a%2f%2fwww.automotive-fleet.com%2ffc_resources%2fstats%2fAFFB10-20-car-reg-1.pdf&channel=

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Pch101,
        Your math is a bit wrong. The Cruze wasn’t up 245%, it is up 145%. So, that means that whatever the Cobalt percentage wise to fleets, that the number would be lower now since the total retail was up more than total percentage.

        But, as you said, without the actual numbers of fleet sales, I think the rest of your numbers are pretty accurate.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Cruze wasn’t up 245%, it is up 145%

        You’re right. Thanks for the correction.

        If this helps, I was able to find April 2011 fleet numbers from Motor Trend:

        “Break out retail sales among Cruze and Malibu, however, and the compact’s sales consisted of 18,470 retail units and 6,690 fleet, while the midsize car, which will be replaced early next year with the 2013 Malibu, sold 13,599 retail and 11,102 fleet.”

        http://blogs.motortrend.com/gm-leads-strong-sales-month-chevy-cruze-beats-toyota-corolla-15021.html

        Based upon that, 27% of Cruze sales and 45% of Malibu sales in April went to fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      The F-150 has always topped this list as far as I can remember, so I take it you are talking about car sales only.

      The diasaster that disloged the Japanese was not just the tsunami itself, but their inability to properly manage risks – for example, not qualifying second sources for critical components.

      It helps that the Japanese no longer stand head and shoulders above the competition like they did back in the day. These days a Corolla owner doesn’t give up much by buying an Elantra or Cruze…

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      We should be happy that Ford and GM are selling because they still owe US a ton of money. Maybe if they do well they will be able to pay US back at least some of that money before the UAW will lay claim to it through increased wages and retirement benefits.

      I agree that it took a major disaster to suppress sales of Japanese brands, both here and abroad. In the case of Hyundai/Kia, though, it is more the limited production capacity that hog-tied sales. They would have sold more in June, and they will sell more during the remainder of the year, if they can only produce more. They can’t. If they push the envelope now, quality will suffer.

      While monthly snapshots are nice, what really matters, of course, is the overall sales picture at the end of the year. I have no doubt that the Ford F-series (that’s all the F-series trucks made, combined, not just the F150) will lead the sales pack. It’s a messed way of counting sales since GM & GMC, combined in all classes, make more trucks than Ford does. But that’s how they do it – give every company bragging rights for something.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The F-Series numbers include F-150 through F-550, the F-650 and F-750 medium duty vehicle are listed separately under heavy trucks on Ford’s sales releases.

        GM includes the Silverado 1500 – 3500 under the Silverado name and the Sierra 1500 – 3500 under the Sierra name. GM doesn’t make anything between the 3500 series and the TopKick/Kodiak models, but since the F-450 and F-550 use the standard Super Duty chassis, it makes since to include them in the Ford numbers.

        When you combine all of the GM truck sales, Chevy and GMC, and even the medium duty TopKick/Kodiak trucks, the Ford total truck sales are still ahead, and have been for several months combined vs combined.

      • 0 avatar
        marauder_pilot

        Nullo;

        The Kodiak/Topkick are dead, they stopped production in 2009. GMC doesn’t make anything bigger than a one-ton now.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Marauder –

        I thought I had heard that. I don’t many fleet/business sales myself, so I don’t pay a lot of attention to the medium duty lines. According to GM’s June sales release they still sold 23 TopKick/Kodiak trucks this month, so those must have been leftovers from ’09.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Thanks for the education, guys. But I really would like a more equitable comparison to get the bigger picture more accurately. Maybe something along the lines of F150, F250, and F350 compared to GM/GMC 1500, 2500 and 3500. It may very well be that Ford sells more trucks in those classes alone, or it could be that GM/GMC combined may sell more. I don’t know because the current method of reporting is a conglomeration of a bunch of F-series that Ford sells, like Nullo wrote, and GM/GMC truck sales that does not match Ford’s class for class.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Highdesertcat –

        The current method of reporting reflects the cab style of the vehicles, Ford just offers a wider variety of traditional pickup cab styled vehicles than GM does. I believe Dodge also reports their 4500 and 5500 series vehicles in with the Ram numbers. The vast majority of F-Series sales are the 150-350, the 450 is dually only and the 550 is cab and chassis only, so by their very nature they appeal to a smaller segment of buyers.

        Excluding the 450/550 from the numbers would make as much sense as excluding Camry V6 sales from a comparison of Camry vs. Sonata sales because the Sonata doesn’t have a V6 option. GM could build a Class IV or Class V version of the Silverado/Sierra if they wanted to, they just choose not to.

        It would be interesting to see a breakdown between 150/1500 sales and the Super Duty/HD lines, but I don’t know of anyone who reports that.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Nullo, even though I was a long time F150 driver, I didn’t know all that. Without a little digging and scratching I don’t think that the actual individual sales data would be easy to uncover. It remains a matter of pride for Ford to be able to claim their trucks as the best-sellers.

        And we’re only talking actual “sales” to the public. We are not even including all those unsold and left-over trucks at the end of each year that are bought up by the US government each year and sent to other countries as “foreign aid”. You can see the military and police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan driving around in them, as well as the police and military forces in Mexico, Central and South America.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Highdesertcat –

        I’m not familiar with the US government giving away trucks as foreign aid, but I’m sure Ford does sell to both the US Military as well as foreign (allied) governments. The F-150 is pretty popular in Mexico as well, and in fact Ford continues to sell the Lincoln Mark LT in Mexico because there is a demand for it there.

        In general if there is one product we never have to worry about having too many of on the lot it’s F-Series trucks. No matter how many we buy from Ford, the trucks will sell. We blew through leftover ’10 F-150 inventory before leftover 2010s on other models that hadn’t even changed over the model year. It may be slightly different in other areas, and FL drivers do love their pickups almost as much as Texans, but I doubt Ford has ever been in the position where they’ve had to call the government to buy up unsold stock – the dealers are more than happy to buy as many as can be built.

  • avatar
    itanibro

    I don’t follow these lists too often, but I’m a little surprised that Honda is not even on the top 10. And I cannot wait to see the F-Series and Silverado slowly start to fall down the ranks. Apparently $4.00/gallon isn’t expensive enough.

    Good to see small cars making strides.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      No reason to be upset just because people aren’t buying what you think they ought to.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        “I don’t follow these lists too often, but I’m a little surprised that Honda is not even on the top 10.”

        You’re surprised? Obviously you haven’t either seen or driven the “new” Civic, have you? Once you drive it, you’ll know why Honda is no longer in the top 10.

        “And I cannot wait to see the F-Series and Silverado slowly start to fall down the ranks. Apparently $4.00/gallon isn’t expensive enough.”

        Well, until you find a vehicle with the combination of toughness, usefulness, and comfort that the F-Series, Silverado, and Ram offer, it really doesn’t matter what the price of gas is. Bottom line – if you can’t afford the gas, don’t buy the damn thing.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ MikeAr…+1

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      It’s the top 10 American made cars. Not top selling overall.

    • 0 avatar
      majo8

      “I can’t wait to see the F-Series and Silverado slowly start to fall down the ranks”. What?? Be careful what you wish for, as a good deal of full-size truck sales go to construction, tradesman, ranchers, etc. If these groups aren’t buying trucks, then that means the economy is in the crapper. Why the hell would you root for that?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryan

        +1, not a full size pick up guy myself…
        BUT…

        They are an important (maybe the most important) part of Ford/GM in the States…

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        Funny? The rest of the world can run their businesses on smaller, lighter, more economical trucks that are just as tough… If I ran a business that needed trucks and I could save on my bottom line by running more economical vehicles, what would stop me? Perception? product availability?
        There is something very wrong with suggesting that someone should not be in business, generating income, because they can’t afford 10 MPG… Times are tough, buisness should adapt, not die.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    I thought the Chevy Impala was one of the best selling cars in America. I’m surprised that it’s not on this list.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I wonder how nervous Ford is about the new Escape they are working on, given the stellar success of the current 10 year old design. Do they even know why the current Escape is so successful?

    • 0 avatar
      crinklesmith

      Why is it so successful?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Exactly. Why IS it so successful. It is small, with a very cheap interior. Maybe it the the old fashioned SUV style that maximizes the space inside. Maybe they sell them to fleets. Rebates? What makes people buy the Escape vs all the other more modern small crossovers?

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        I’d suggest it might be because the other small SUV’s are actually smaller (CR-V is cramped), underpowered, or don’t really look like SUVs (a critical component in a class of vehicle that is essentially a compact car on stilts for most buyers).

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        The Escape is the most “SUV-like” of the small crossovers. It was designed in an era where its competition included the XJ Cherokee, so it couldn’t afford to look as limp-wristed as some of its current competition (Terrain/Equinox/CR-V) currently do.

        It’s got decent ground clearance and used to have a center differential lock, which Ford cut with the 2008 freshening, I think.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I think the Escape’s success is due to the styling. Although it is small, it is boxy and has usable space inside. Also, the boxiness allows for good visibility, which is sorely lacking in today’s small crossovers – Hyundai Tucson, Nisan Rogue come to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Styling and practicality. I’ve had a number of Escape buyers tell me that they like it because it doesn’t look swoopy like many other CUVs. The boxy shape also gives it great visibility, a useful cargo area, and the rear seats fold completely flat, no hump, no angle, just a complete flat extension of the cargo floor, which a lot of people like.

        The interior is rubbermaid-chic, it’s not fancy, but it’s well laid out and for an outdoorsy vehicle it works. You can get all of the fancy options, nav, backup camera, Sync, auto-park, etc, as well as a V6 engine option which many vehicles in this class (CR-V, Rogue, Tuscon) don’t offer.

        With the V6 you can tow 3,500 lbs, and the Escape is also flat-towable with no modifications, so it’s popular with the motorhome crowd. The Hybrid version is also unique to the class.

  • avatar
    RoadRage

    From some comments, it seems that the Japanese automakers have done a masterful job of controlling the conversation in respect to how great their cars are. Well that was then and this is now. Drive any of those products on this top ten list vs. their Asian Compitition and you will be impressed. Blame tsunamis, earthquakes, or whatever for the transplants sales fall, but in reality, they’ve been out engineered.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Being slightly out-engineered usually doesn’t result in a big change in sales. It took ages for Japanese cars to really take over, and that was back when there was a very significant and sustained difference in quality.

      You can only get such a quick turnaround with a bit of help.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Well it’d be impressive feat except the current Camry is in it’s 5th year of production and is the oldest family sedan on that list. And even then it took a tsunami. The real question is how things will look once the 2012 Camry shows up.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Only 2 Asian cars in top 10 sales for June? Granted it’s a snap shot but the lots are full if someone really wanted one.

      Old product from the Japs? Sure, but I don’t know many who will pony up extra dollars to have the latest when the Koreans are already here.

    • 0 avatar
      delpiero1980

      Out engineered could be the first step, but manufacturers need to understand that the reason the Japs are so successful is because their cars are damn reliable and cheap to maintain. THAT”S IT!!!!!! Cheapening the car and lowering its price only gets you so far, is more like a short term solution. The Koreans understood this and they are thriving. They started first making their cars reliable and cheap to maintain and once they dominated that, they are starting with sleek designs.
      Volkswagen downgraded the Jetta because they thought they weren’t selling because of its higher MSRP. The truth is that VW has had a bad reputation since the 90s when it comes to reliability and service costs. In 1998 with the intro of the New Beetle and the Audi killer interior Passat VW was saved from US extinction. A year later you started to see all those hot blondes driving their 1999 Jettas and VW was on fire, but it only lasted a couple of years as reliability issues started to take over and VW has been struggling ever since to get more customers to its showrooms. Sure, the 2011 Jetta went up in sales with this new cheaper model but again is only a short term success. In 5 years (or less) when their car starts to break down they will go back to Asian cars. Don’t get me wrong I love German cars and as a Car enthusiasts I’m willing to pay the consequences just for the sake of Teutonic engineering.
      The Big 3 need to fully make their cars reliable especially for the long-term. Asian cars can go up to 150K miles without any major reparation. The Americans (except large pick-ups) start to break down around 100K miles. I have a 2002 Camry (daily commuter) with 110K miles and the car still drives like new. My cousin has a 2004 VW Passat and the car’s engine sounds like a helicopter, the suspension makes all kinds of noise, oil sludge, water pump replaced, and many other problems I can’t remember.
      Word of mouth is what has helped the Japs throughout the years, from mechanics to critics to owners the word of Japanese reliability has spread over the last 15 to 20 years. I see many more Hondas and Toyotas than Fords and Chevys from the 90s on the road today.
      Kudos to Chevy and Ford for their latest offerings and this is just the beginning, hopefully they can find a way to make their cars reliable in both the short and long term.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Jap” is a racist term. Two posters in a row have used it. Is that going to be tolerated here?

      • 0 avatar
        delpiero1980

        Japs is racism??? shut the hell up!!!! Jap is short for Japanese that’s it ignorant. Incredible, I can’t abbreviate Japanese because now I’m a racist. What is it with this country??? every thing is racism, anti-semitism, discrimination, sexist, people are very touchy in this country.
        Take it easy my friend. It is wise not to take things personally.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Japs is racism?

        According to Webster’s, it is racist, yes:

        Jap
        noun or adj ˈjap

        usually disparaging: japanese

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jap

        And it’s also official — Congress ruled in 1986 that “the term ‘Jap’ is racially derogatory and is offensive.”

        http://www.oocities.org/thomas_kuwahara/resolution.pdf

        Jap is short for Japanese that’s it ignorant.

        No, I think that we just figured out which one of us is ignorant. (Yes, that would be you.)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Delpiero1980, just ignore the politically correct immodest. They do not add to the discussion, striving only to correct our grammar and alter our freedom of expression to suit their own.

        My dad was 100% Portuguese, my mom 100% German, so you can only imagine the names that I have been called during my lifetime. It never bothered me, even though I was told to sit in the back of the bus when I first went to Keesler AFB, in Mississippi, after joining the air force way back then. We each are who we are, even though others like to take away our freedom of expression. BTW, my daughter in law is 100% Japanese, born in Japan, still a Japanese citizen, and she doesn’t mind the term Jap.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        I remember when some words were perfectly OK on prime time television.

        Sandford and Son

        PS Does that mean Brits and Yanks is be racist?

        PPS What’s this got to with cars anyhow?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My apologies for inconveniencing you redneck bigots with a much-needed education.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Pig_Iron, it has nothing to do with cars. It is just the politically correct on a rant trying to reform the world into an image that they hold dear, when in fact the expressions and terms used may not reflect racism or intent to disparage anyone.

        My Japanese daughter in law told me what the Japanese among themselves call other Japanese they want to disparage, and it ain’t pretty. Certainly not fit for printing here. She also told me what most Japanese think of Americans, and that ain’t pretty either.

        There are going to be bigots in any culture. One can usually tell if a term is used as a means to disparage or if it is just an expression to outline a concept.

        Does this make the “Yank-tank” an unacceptable term? They still use it to describe Detroit-built vehicles in many Western European countries, so my cousins there tell me.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        it has nothing to do with cars.

        I agree. There’s no reason to use racial slurs about an ethnic group, when the subject is supposed to be about cars.

        It is just the politically correct on a rant trying to reform the world into an image that they hold dear

        I have no idea what that means, other than it’s not a great idea to use ethnic slurs if you don’t wish to be mistaken for a racist.

        Enlighten me — tell me what wonderful thing for cars has been achieved here by referring to the Japanese with a bigoted term. Since you now can’t claim to be ignorant of the offensiveness of the word — I’ve provided you with two sources — I’d like to hear what bizarro theory that anyone could have for justifying it.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Hmmm…”Jap”, huh? Did you mean a Japanese person or a Jewish American Princess? Just wondering, seeing as my girlfriend happens to be the second one. And she calls herself that. Be careful who you accuse of being a racist, my man. Being a black American man who was born and raised in the woods of East Texas, trust me…I KNOW real racism. And the term “Jap” may be offensive to some people, but I don’t think either of the original posters meant it in that way.

      • 0 avatar
        delpiero1980

        Ignorant me? I speak Spanish, English and Italian. I have made internships in Spain, Mexico, USA and Italy. I have lived in Europe for 6 months and graduated with a BA in INT Business and you think I need education? You PCH 101 are probably a one track mind person and clearly have some self-esteem issues. I only used the word “Japs” to abbreviate Japanese, just like people use in chats “OMG”, “LOL”, “Yanks”, “Brits”, etc
        If I was referring to Mexicans as Brownies then I would consider it a racist term. Like I said I can’t keep up with this touchy country on what’s offensive and what’s not.
        So, don’t be so uptight, enjoy your 4th of July Holiday, have a beer and relax!!! Salud

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I have lived in Europe for 6 months and graduated with a BA in INT Business and you think I need education?

        Yes, you do. Educated people don’t speak like bigots.

        I only used the word “Japs” to abbreviate Japanese

        And that’s a wretchedly stupid, bigoted thing to do.

        I provided you with two sources to show that the term was racist. If you want to continue to use it, then it shows that either (a) you are a bigot and proud of it, or (b) you’re not smart enough to know that a racial slur is a racial slur, as is made perfectly clear in the dictionary.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @highdesertcat:
        “Delpiero1980, just ignore the politically correct immodest. They do not add to the discussion, striving only to correct our grammar and alter our freedom of expression to suit their own.”

        Those who would do and say blatantly offensive things in the name of freedom of expression do that freedom no favors. People using the pejorative “Jap” are in the wrong here, and no amount of chest puffery will change that.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    So it’s complete coincidence that the sales of Japanese automakers have fallen and they have significantly lower production due to the Tsunami? Really?

    Wow, that Cruze and Malibu must be really well engineered, to place behind Accord, Sonata, Mazda3 and Elantra in every test performed to date.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The relative sales fall for Honda and Toyota (Civic, Accord, Corolla and Camry) started before the tsunami so yes the tsunami made it worse but Honda and Toyota were feeling the heat from Ford, GM and Hyundai (and to a lesser extent VW).

      I also note you were very strategic with your list in the last paragraph. No Corolla or Camry listed. It seems you agree those two cars have been out-engineered by Cruze and Malibu.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Tell you what, mike978 – when the Civic gets up to full production, and their specific model and a comparable Cruze sell for the same $ (+/- $200), I’ll buy you a beer the day the Cruze outsells the Civic. Hell, I’ll buy you a keg.

        The Chevy will always be about the deal.

      • 0 avatar
        zeus01

        Out-engineered? I’ll believe that when I see the long-term (ie: 4 years/ 80,000 miles, whichever comes first and Lemon Aid/ CR issues supporting the claim) reports from the real world before I’ll bite.

        Out-featured? Maybe. I do like the interior treatment in the Cruze, ie: more padding and less plastic than its Japanese and Korean competitors. But I also remember liking the interiors and padding in the then-new 1994 Cavaliers….

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Malibu hasn’t “out-engineered” the Camry. Saying so is wishful thinking at its best.

        The Cruze, however, is a better car than the Corolla. For whatever reason, Toyota is allowing that one to rot on the vine.

        The Cruze has, however, placed behind the new Civic in every major comparison test I’ve read so far. So GM isn’t “out-engineering” Honda, except in the vivid imaginations of some GM fans.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        @Dave M – With the competitive devaluation of the US dollar vs the Yen, I don’t see a Civic selling within $200 of a comparably equipped Cruze. Honda will have to take cost out somewhere to hit that price point – for example, interior trim.

        Chev has always been “about the deal”, that is how they got bigger than Ford almost 100 years ago – offering a “six cylinder car for a four cylinder price”…

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        The Chevy will always be about the deal.

        Of course it is, that’s why they have a $26K plus LTZ model and that’s why the Eco, which starts at just a hair under $19K can’t be built fast enough.

        That’s why GM makes money on every Cruze they sell. No rebates on a Cruze, shoot financing is basically at regular levels.

        Yup, all about the “deal,” funny thing is even with a tight supply Toyota is throwing $1000 on the hood of the Corolla and financing customers at 100% down to FICO 520.

        Yup, all about the deal on the Chevy. Yup, yup, yup.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Honda makes most of its US market vehicles in North America and has the capability to export components from the US to other markets if it so desires. As such, Dollar:Yen exchange rates should have only a secondary effect on Honda’s performance.

      Honda’s slide in the US market over these past few years has everything to do with their most recent redesigns being less competitive vehicles than were the ones they replaced.

      Honda’s hybrid strategy has been a complete disaster of late, from the silly V-6 Hybrid premium priced Accord to the not quite as good as a Prius for a few bucks less Insight. Also, Honda’s recent styling efforts have been horrible.

      Meanwhile, Hyundai has been doing everything right while GM and Ford have greatly improved their games.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Hyundai seems to be doing a great job of taking Honda’s old position in the market and making good-looking cars that are reasonably entertaining to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Well, well. Someone who actually understands why Honda is sliding, and sliding fast. The new Civic is competitive, but just. Most people expect Honda to be AHEAD of the curve, not in the middle of it or behind it.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I too believe these numbers are somewhat skewed by tsunami related availability but nonetheless they confirm that both Ford & GM have solid midsize & compact products. About time, that only took 20+ years.

  • avatar
    ixim

    What’s with all the GM hate here? The Cruze and Malibu may place low in recent comparos, but, apparently, they are GOOD ENOUGH. Here in downstate NY, Corollas and Camrys are leasing for about 40% LESS than their Chevy rivals. Yet the local Buick,Caddy/Chevy/GMC store will not deal; the Toyota place is unusually quiet. There are NO shortages of tsunami affected models.

  • avatar
    detlump

    So what if Ford and GM are taking advantage of the situation? The Japanese took advantage of Ford and GM being slow, bloated, greedy and basically producing terrible cars for their success.

    You could say Detroit was hit by a tsunami of sorts as well in the 70s and 80s. The Japanese didn’t feel sorry for Ford and GM they simply piled on. It’s good to see some hunger and desire from Ford and GM, as well as Chrysler. If it takes a natural disaster or two to give them a sales boost, then so be it. What else should they do, take a time out?

    As far as gas prices go, I think people are used to it by now. A lot of people are looking for housing closer to where the work, so if your commute is 10 miles or so, driving an F150 is not a big deal. Perhaps the days of the mega commute of 60 miles or more is ending. Plus if you telecommute a couple of days a week, additional savings are possible, and a person can but a vehicle they actually want.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I wonder what’s going on with the Malibu sales spike since there’s been no real change to the car itself, but suddenly it’s outselling not only the Camry (plausible given the tsunami) but also the Fusion? I wonder what the fleet an incentive spending numbers are on the Malibu.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      I’m tempted to say the incentives & lease deals as in our market you can lease a Malibu LS for $179/mo w/ O down. It is difficult to figure out why especially considering the refreshed model is about to hit the market. What surprises me even more are the Cruze sales. I expect the Focus to take over the #1 sales slot in the compact segment shortly. I think Focus availability is currently constraining the sales numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Fusion went through the model year changeover this month, so the inventory mix was a bit funky. The 2012 model finally comes with alloy wheels standard on the SE though, so that’s a plus.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      My guess is that GM is replacing the Impala with the Malibu as fleet queen.

  • avatar
    RoadRage

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what a magazine or blogger says in regards to what car is better. The consumer in the end has the final say so. The Fusion was ranked the most reliable for years by CR, but it never outsold it’s Japanese rivals. Why is this?

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      The long standing Japanese reputation for reliability, longevity and perceived higher quality. It’s only now that some buyers consider Ford products to be on par with the Japanese. Even though the fact of the matter is Ford is currently rated slightly higher a lot of buyers won’t even consider one. It will take a long time before any domestic product is regarded as comparable or superior to its Japanese counterpart by the majority of American buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        RoadRage

        @mtymsi
        I hope you don’t believe what you just wrote? No, you actually do. If this was the 80′s, 90′s and early 00′s; I would give you some points. But you and your circle have been drinking the Kool-Aid for too long. Puff puff give. I’ll have what your smoking.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        There’s also the subtle differences, that bean counter types would note, in the way the domestics and imports market themselves. Everyone’s looking for a deal, but the domestics push deals more. Bean counter types are also more likely to deal with firms that have a stable finance history and balance sheets. Like Toyota, Honda, Nissan (less so), Audi, BMW, Daimler. Maybe Ford, but not GM or Fiatsler.

        And then there’s the franchise and warranty experience. Domestic dealers, especially in UAW country, are more likely to take their customers for granted.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        He’s right. The bulk of public opinion is based on where the car company was 10 years ago, not on a really informed opinion of todays cars.

        Personally I’ve been surprised at how fast Ford and Chevy have made gains in public opinion. But I think there are a lot of people who really wanted to buy American cars but just couldn’t spend their money on a clearly inferior product. Now that they apparently have got it (mostly) together, a lot of people are letting their heart rule.

  • avatar
    RoadRage

    It seems people here on TTAC get overly offensive and protective about one product or another. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter to me who buys what. What does matter to me is, that the home team does well. I am an American who loves america. I’m not going to get into the argument of who builds what where. That’s a moot point. What’s important is who profits. Ford can build all their cars outside the US with foreign content, but It’s revenue and profit comes home, which fuels their R&D. So if your someone who believes that the Asians build better cars, buy one. That’s your choice. The only cars allowed in my driveway has to be built by GM, Ford, or Chrysler. Closed minded, maybe. A patriot, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      RoadRage, it may be a moot point to you, who builds what, where, but it isn’t for the UAW. The fact that Ford and GM are massively increasing production, and creating jobs, OUTSIDE of America, cannot sit well with the UAW who watched their jobs at the domestic car makers move to elsewhere. Maybe that’s why they are actively trying to unionize the foreign plants in America, eh?

      And why do you even mention the company formerly known as Chrysler in the same sentence as Ford and GM? That is now a FOREIGN company, majority owned and run by Fiat, from Italy.

      • 0 avatar
        RoadRage

        I hear you brother, and your right. However to stay competitive or even ahead of the competition, the American manufacturers have to leverage their manufacturing process by building their products where it is the most cost effective. If every vehicle we build was put together by UAW hands, we would again be back to building cars and trucks no one wants to buy. This isn’t an insult to the unions, it’s just a reality. To stay competitive labor rates must also be apart of the equation. Lower labor rates equal better quality and matterial. That’s why a two tier wage system is the new norm. Hey, if we could build the type of vehicles we’re building now, while paying traditional UAW wages, then Your argument would be very valid. Unfortunately we cannot afford to bring a knife to a gun fight.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I really would like Ford and GM to make money, any which way they can, so that they can pay back the taxpayers for all the money we ‘lent’ them. Fiatsler paid us back a ton of money by robbing Peter to pay Paul, and that’s OK with me, as long as we, the people, get back as much money as we can.

        I don’t believe we will ever get back all the money we wasted on the US auto industry unless the US auto industry actually and physically moves to where the money is. At this time in history it appears to be China, India and Brazil that have the greatest potential for sales.

        The fact that both Ford and GM are moving more production to Mexico serves at least two purposes. One, to make better products with better quality and higher profit margins, and, Two, to provide jobs in Mexico to keep Mexicans from coming over here and sucking up much of our financial resources in Human Services and Healthcare.

        I don’t know if the UAW is happy with the current two-tier wage system, or if they are going to bargain Ford to death this time looking to get higher wages and even more benefits. But regardless, people that support the UAW should buy union-made goods. People who do not, should buy something else. And we are very fortunate in the US. We have a multitude of cars and trucks to choose from, made by a variety of manufacturers, both foreign AND domestic.

        So, I am the guy who says, “Shop wisely and buy the best you can afford”. It’s got to work for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      A Tennessee-built VW Jetta or Passat does more for the US economy than Mexican- and Canadian-built Fiatslers.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Amen! So do all those jobs elsewhere in America, provided courtesy of Subaru, Hyundai/Kia, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Mazda and their related (foreign owned) parts manufacturers who provide jobs inside America. I, for one, am glad they are here, providing jobs for Americans, inside America!

  • avatar
    hreardon

    In reference to the eternal debate over who has the better cars: the market is always changing. The Japanese have now fallen into the same trap that the domestic manufacturers did in the 70s and 80s: taking the consumer for granted and always expecting them to buy “their” brand.

    Honda is probably the best example of the “we’re Honda, people will buy our shit no matter what we do” mindset. I think they’re being taken to the cleaners by the likes of Hyundai and a resurgent Ford and GM due to relatively stale product, lack of attention to design and people becoming bored with their offerings. Hyundai comes along with a kick-butt warranty, good quality and unique styling and pricing and are literally eating Honda’s lunch.

    As people age and generations change, so do their tastes and likes. That is why it is imperative that all brands constantly evolve and avoid falling into a comfortable rut believing that the customers will always be there. Toyota was already softening, pre-crashgate, Honda has been listless for years, Acura has been a trainwreck for ages and Lexus is quickly becoming the Buick of the 21st century.

    As people age, old assumptions and preferences die out and new ones are formed. Your grandpa may have refused to buy Japanese, but your parents sure didn’t. Likewise, everyone “knew” German cars were nightmares to own, but that sure doesn’t seem to stop the surge in sales at BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and M-B.

    Companies get complacent and lazy and when that happens the rot starts to set it. Corporate fiefdoms appear, cautiousness rules the day and competitors start nibbling at your edges because they take the risks the established players won’t take. Examples abound: Microsoft today, the US Automakers from the 70s-90s, Kodak, Polaroid, Xerox, etc.

    Evolve or die. It’s part of our very DNA and that extends to corporations, too.

  • avatar
    RoadRage

    For years I have listened to the negative insulting detractors here on TTAC. It has been American bashing 101. You guys had your party, but it’s over. The land of the rising sun has left the building. All that’s left is those of you who hate to see your auto company of choice fall to the waist side. Hey, but I give you guys credit. You will go down defending your brand of choice. I admire that.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    @ Roadrage:

    I think you’ve got TTAC wrong there, friend. It’s not about hate for the domestic automakers, it’s about pointing out that the emperor has (had?) no clothes and that The Big Three, regardless their billions in marketing, have been coasting for the past thirty years in the crazed belief that they were still the top of the heap.

    It’s not American Bashing – it’s strongly worded criticism for a group of companies who became so out of touch with America that they became irrelevant dinosaurs in the face of a changing marketplace.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I remember this poster from a few years ago. He was saying the same things then that he is now.

      It’s not American Bashing – it’s strongly worded criticism for a group of companies who became so out of touch with America that they became irrelevant dinosaurs in the face of a changing marketplace.

      These types of individuals will never be convinced. They simply refuse to acknowledge that domestic cars have been inferior, or that these companies will need years of demonstrable improvements in order to win back share and keep it. These guys are going to cheerlead for the domestics and bash on anything “imported” (even if it’s made in Ohio, Tennessee or Alabama), no matter what.

      • 0 avatar
        Macca

        Yep. Scarily reminiscent of Phil Ressler, too – the ardent pro-domestic voice that insisted that there never was a quality gap, but that a ‘perception gap’ was to blame for Detroit’s misfortune all along. I especially like the assertion that buying American is the “patriot’s” duty, although the argument always falls back on where the company is headquartered since that foreign manufacturing detail always gets in the way.

        My argument has always been – as a long time Japanese car purchaser – that if the domestics fielded cars that once again not only rivaled their respective segment leaders, but even bested them, then I would have no issue shopping them. And that has definitely occurred, for me and apparently many others. I love the new Focus. I will seriously consider the ST when it hits our shores, although the Titanium trim is sweet in a more refined way. And that’s just one of many examples.

        But the “patriot” argument never fails to get my blood boiling.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Scarily reminiscent of Phil Ressler, too – the ardent pro-domestic voice that insisted that there never was a quality gap, but that a ‘perception gap’ was to blame for Detroit’s misfortune all along

        Yep. It’s either that, or else they’re willing to concede that there was a quality gap, but that the gap hasn’t existed for X number of years. Of course, they say that every year, so the year that the quality gap supposedly disappeared keeps changing…

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      Detroit absolutely deserved the critisism in the past. It is starting to look like the D3 ( and Hyundai) have addressed their problems. These days it looks like Japan is coasting on their reputation, decontenting to deal with an uncompetitive cost structure, etc.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    GM is piling on strong lease and finance deals with the Malibu along with selling quite a few to rental fleets. There may have been some minor effects with the Camry. But I’m not aware of any inventory issues at their dealerships.

    Overall, it’s not a big deal. The Malibu and the Camry are scheduled to be replaced and most of the other competitive automakers have been given the opportunity of time to develop better cars.

    As far as I’m concerned the question is whether the Cruze and Focus will maintain their sales momentum once the new Civic, Malibu and Camry are available. Will people want the smaller car with more features and better fuel economy? Or will they want the larger vehicle with a quieter ride (in most cases) and the perception of greater safety.

    Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Exactally. If those nearly 200,000 people that bought the vehicles in the top 7 spots are happy with their cars, then they’ll tell 10 other people. If they’re not happy they’ll tell 100 other people.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Bingo, Dan. This is why Volkswagen is having to crawl its way out of the incredible pit they built for themselves with the MK IV Jetta/Beetle/Golf when sales cratered in 2002 due to the incredible backlash that developed.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly right. Some may see 25K Daewoo Cruze sales as reason to cheer for GM. I see it as 25,000 opportunities for GM to screw up the ownership experience — as the company has done too many times to count over the past 40 years — and make sure that most of those buyers will never buy another GM product again*. And those disgruntled owners will absolutely tell ALL their friends.

        Good times, if you’re a student of history!

        *Well, except for the fleets, natch.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’m actually hopeful that Detroit has leanred it’s lesson. But I’m watching and seeing… (FYI I’ve been happier with the Ford products I’ve owned over the years than the GM products I’ve owned over the years, but then I’ve never owned a Japanese or Korean car.)

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Very good post, Dan. It reminds me of what Joe Girard, regarded as the World’s Greatest Salesman by the Guinness Book of World Records, said once. He called it the Rule of 250, after he noticed that every funeral that he went to had, +/- 10 or so, 250 people there, meaning that every person you talk to has the potential to influence 250 other people. Would that the Big Three had learned this years ago before it was too late.

        @hreardon

        Another very good post. What makes Volkswagen’s situation doubly bad is the premiums that they were charging for every car that they built during that period. I have a friend with a 2009 GTI that has a classic love/hate relationship with it. Loves driving it, hates taking it to the shop every three months or so, and our local dealer isn’t the best either. And I hate to tell VW, but the new Jetta isn’t going to be the way out of this situation, nor is the new Passat (although the Passat is marginally better inside). Volkswagen is cheaping out at the wrong time, and it will cost them dearly.

    • 0 avatar
      Bryce

      If most of those Cruz Focus buyer are happy Gm and Ford may not be able to build em fast enough

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Steven -

    I think that the Civic has had a good run, but its moment has passed and I fear that Honda is moving far too slow to counteract the trend. Being in my mid-30s I’m of the generation that bought Hondas without a second thought. You went to college, graduated, then got a Civic. Everyone did.

    I’m not seeing that anymore. I have a lot of relatives that are early-mid 20somethings and today it is Hyundai, Kai, Nissan if they buy Japanese. I’ve also got several friends who in their mid-30s are buying domestic. Two buddies just switched from Japanese to a new Ford Focus and the other to a Fusion. I think that things are slowly changing and unfortunately for Honda, the trend is definitely NOT their friend….

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      @hreardon:

      You hit the nail right on the head, my friend. Honda’s moment may well have passed, and I think they’re coasting on brand loyalty more than anything else. And ask the Big Three…or Two, as it is now, just how far brand loyalty will take you. It’ll only take you as far as the quality of the cars you make. I’d just hate to see Honda fall into this trap. As I stated in an earlier post, I drove the new Civic recently, and was not impressed at all. Hondas are supposed to be AHEAD of the curve, not behind it.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Despite all the bickering about who’s is better on worse, a good thing has happened here. No, I most certainly DON’T mean the Japanese disaster. I do mean that for whatever the reason, it seems like many people have dipped their foot back in the domestic pool. If they are pleased with the product, Detroit may have found a way to get import intenders to try their products. If two years from now the word of mouth bantered around at backyard barbeques is about how good the car is as opposed to how good the deal is, the seeds will finally begin to grow. Should any problems that crop up get the old school tough $hit attitude as in the past, that will be it. So, good luck D3. Keep up the stream of class-competitive products. Treat the buyer well and you will be on your way. Forget those who will continue to bash you for their X-car experience. They are never coming back. Keep the product good, reliable, and fresh. Then, you never miss the lost sales from the hater group. But stay on your game; the competition has plenty of new models coming out…and a few class leaders wouldn’t hurt…

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I think that the tsunami has everything to do with it even tho the actual effects are negligible. Everyone “knows” there’s shortages. Therefore you don’t immediately dismiss the domestic off your list. Afterall, they’re the ones with cars, right? Suddenly, there are test drives that compare Fusion to Camry, Focus to Civics and Corollas and you know what? They’re not too shabby. As a matter of fact, quite appealing especially with a “deal”. Sales rise.

    As long as Detroit doesn’t f this up by losing the quality ball, they’re back on the road to recovery.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Style, value, and quality is the equation to sales success. You cannot be successful in the long term unless you have all three.

    Despite the talk that there is no passion for cars in today’s world, it is still an emotional purchase. Even an appliance like a toaster is an emotional purchase decision that will invoke the equation.

    The Japanese automakers are in decline because of style & value declines in the equation, not natural disasters.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      You are an old crow from the 1970s. People care far more about a smart phone than a car. That is why Detroit only sells to rental lots, the government, and in heavy union areas. Everyone else avoids a Detroit vehicle. When I rent a car, I plead not to be given a Detroit vehicle. Usually, that is all they have.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        “Detroit only sells to rental lots, the government, and in heavy union areas. Everyone else avoids a Detroit vehicle.”

        So why are there so many cars from GM and Ford sold to private owners in the South, which is probably the most union-unfriendly part of the country? Florida and Georgia seem to have a significantly higher percentage of American-marque cars on the road than the Pacific Northwest, which is union-friendly and loves its foreign-marque cars.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Hate to sound like certain other commenters, but who are buying all of these Escapes? I rarely see them on the road in my area. You’d think that if there has been over 122,000 sold in the past six months you’d be tripping over them up here, what with our six month winters and two month mud seasons. Instead, I’m tripping over Outbacks(OMG, the bloated Outbacks, they’re EVERYWHERE!!!), Equinoxes, Compatriots, CRVs and RAV4s. There are five Ford dealers within 25 miles of me so you’d think there’d be more….

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Mazder3, it depends on the market or region. They don’t sell as well in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, where the RAV4 and CR-V are very popular and much in demand. I imagine the Escape sells very well in the Midwest and heavily unionized (UAW) areas, east of the Mississippi. Out West, the Sorento, RAV4, CR-V, Tucson do very well. We see more of those here than any of the domestic ones in that class.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Lots of newer Escapes here around Seattle.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I don’t get the popularity of the Escape either. A friend bought one last year and it is like a taking a time machine into the late 90′s in that thing. Bouncy unsettled ride, cheap plastic interior, noisy engine, etc… It is one of the most truck-like of the compact utes which may be what some buyers are looking for.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        @Ubermensch I actually sort of like the Escape. I test drove a 3.0 AWD back in 2002 and liked the snug feel of it. The modern 2.5 6 speed combo should be adequate and sightlines are at the top of the segment. If I had a gun to my head to choose a small SUV, I’d probably go for one, but in Mercury or Mazda wardrobe, just so I wouldn’t be another ForOutCR4 clone.

        I’d love to know the state by state or even county to county sales of vehicles. It would be interesting to see the top 10 in, say, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Lincoln County, Nebraska, Wayne County, Michigan or even Cheshire County, New Hampshire.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Its a ‘Hitler at Stalingrad,’ for Toyota whose era of sales invincibility has been shattered by natural disaster and North American recalls.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d like to think that the introduction of the Tradesman and Express have a lot to do with RAM sales.

    Around $22K for a 390hp RWD vehicle with a limited-slip, 3.92 rear end, and limited electronic accessories is appealing.

    Too bad no car company can do something similar with a car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d like to think that the introduction of the Tradesman and Express have a lot to do with RAM sales.

    Around $22K for a 390hp RWD vehicle with a limited-slip, 3.92 rear end, and limited electronic accessories is appealing.

    Too bad no company can do something similar with a car.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Ajla, agreed completely. I think you would see a big seller if that was done in a car. Especially if options were a la carte rather than in packages.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Express and Tradesmen look like decent deals for those whose needs are met with a regular cab truck, but at least in my experience, very few customers are looking for regular cab trucks.

      The cab of choice is the full four door crew cab, followed by the extended cab for those on a budget or who would rather have the extra bed length rather than extra cab space for the same wheelbase. Most buyers who are buying for personal use instead of business will step down to a smaller truck with a larger cab rather than buying a full size regular cab and losing the back seat.

      With over 50% of the F-150 sales being V6 models, I’m also curious how much demand there is for a big V8 truck with a 3.92 rear end for those who don’t need that much pulling power.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I have a feeling that, in general, RAM buyers are different from GM and Ford truck buyers.

        The reason I like the Express is because it seems very close to the original muscle car formula. The Camaro SS, Mustang GT, and Challenger R/T all start around $30K these days. However with the Express, you only have to spend $22K to get vehicle with aggressive gearing that is equipped with a powerful aftermarket-rich engine .

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’m with ajla. If I didn’t already have a truck (and would be truck shopping instead of car shopping in approximately a year) I would certainly give the Ram a long hard look. A combo of work and play sounds great to me. Muscle car with a bed. Haul stone and then haul ass.

    • 0 avatar
      Strippo

      Around $22K for a 390hp RWD vehicle with a limited-slip, 3.92 rear end, and limited electronic accessories is appealing.

      Too bad no company can do something similar with a car.

      CAFE forbids.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    As an east coast and west coast resident, let me straighten out all the posts from Detroit insiders.

    - The Honda and Toyota dealers have little to sell. What they have to sell are the colors and options that no one wants. And, they want MSRP. I saw a Honda dealer with three top end sea foam green CRVs left. That was all the CRVs available.

    - JDPowers has already blown the Detroit quality story being spread by the media carrying the water for the unions. Soon, Consumer Reports will report the same result, and even the stupid people that missed Ford’s big 23rd place quality showing in JDPowers will catch the big Detroit quality problem.

    - Car sales ran below 12M last month. Well below 12M. That is because the smart money is waiting for Honda and Toyota vehicles to return to dealer lots.

    - Driving a Detroit car on the west coast or east coast is an embarrassing. Detroit cars are usually found on rental lots or in less desirable parts of town where lower income folks have credit score problems.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The available inventory likely differs from lot to lot. The Toyota dealer near me has a lot full of cars, I haven’t driven past the Honda store in a while though.

      The JD Power survey showed a one year dip in initial quality, much of which, but not all, was due to software issues. If you’ll recall Toyota took a major dip during the SUA fiasco, which many people believe was far overblown. JD Power’s long term dependability study on the other hand, recently put the Lincoln MKZ as the most dependable vehicle in it’s class, and the 2nd most dependable vehicle overall in the entire study. In that same study the Lincoln brand took overall first place, and Ford scored above average, almost dead even with Honda. The Fusion took the spot for most dependable midsize car, the Camry isn’t even in the top three. Toyota’s scores are good overall, but Detroit is catching up fast when it comes to long term dependability.

      Anyone who thinks driving a domestic vehicle on the coasts is embarassing is out of their minds. Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc, are all mainstream brands and carry the same amount of brand cachet for most people. While there are some snobs that only consider German luxury cars worth owning, or maybe even luxury brands in general, I’ve never met anyone who looked down at someone for driving a Ford vs a Toyota, and if I did it would be a clear sign to me that any opinions held by that person were pretty much worthless.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      Looks like jj99 got himself a shiny new username.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      The problem for Toyota and Honda is that not all buyers are just looking for a car that doesn’t break. THAT is where Toyota and Honda are loosing out as most of their vehicles have little else to offer other than a “guarantee” that they will be dependable. When the Americans, Koreans, and Germans can offer a vehicle that is much more engaging to drive, better looking, more technology, etc… that can make up for a lot of reliability issues. I know it can for me and I am not alone in that sentiment.

    • 0 avatar
      MrBostn

      A Honda dealer in Newton quoted me over the phone that I could buy new CRV-SE AWD auto (brown with ivory interior) for about $22.8K

      He basically said pricing would be anywhere from invoice to invoice+$500.

      Considering USED 2008 CR-Vs cost about almost as much I might be “forced” to buy new.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The only way Detroit will survive is if the Obama administration launches another recall attack on the foreign automakers. No one under the age of 50 wants to be associated with a Detroit car, unless that person lives in the union controlled midwest.

    The question for Detroit: What the heck are you going to do after all the old crows die? Young people buy cars based on the best and coolest product, and the foreign automakers have the best. Detoilet lives off the anti-asian racism streak in old crows. These old fools are so racist they buy Detroit junk.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      Ummm…racism has nothing to do with it, I don’t think. Close-mindedness has much more to do with it than the stuff you’re suggesting. I hate to tell you, but I’ve actually had Japanese cars that were subpar quality (Mitsubishi and Nissan, are you listening??), and domestic cars that have given me 288,000 miles of service (’94 Cadillac Deville).

      You obviously haven’t been paying attention to where most of the old crows have been roosting lately. Can you say “Toyota”? Can you say “Avalon”, “Camry”, and “Corolla”? I thought so. Hell, young people don’t even buy Scion. Pay attention, man. I used to sell GM cars, and I KNEW what kind of crap they were in the early 2000s. And I will also give credit where it’s due – the Focus is way ahead of all of the Japanese makes, and the Cruze is only an engine transplant behind it. Hell, even the new Elantra is ahead of most of the Japanese makes, and undercuts them on price to boot.

      How about this…how about we DRIVE the cars before we make ill-informed snap judgments about them??

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        “How about this…how about we DRIVE the cars before we make ill-informed snap judgments about them??”

        Are you kidding?

        JD Powers ranks Detroit far below Honda and Toyota. Honda and Toyota are also ranked better by Consumer Reports. I would guess Detroit will fall farther down the list, just like JD Powers. An ill-informed snap judgement would be buying a Detroit product.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @jimmyy How about you read Michael Karesh’s story about how JD Powers REALLY ranks initial quality? And how about you consider the fact that CR are not car “experts”? At least not on the level of Car and Driver, Motor Trend, or the people who do the writing for this site. And CR actually gets some things WRONG, horror of horrors, such as the Ford Explorer hype and the recent Toyota scare stories.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        And how about you consider the fact that CR are not car “experts”?

        I don’t know where you get that from. CR has a staff of testers and a test track.

        And in any case, the reliability data comes from owner’s surveys. Owners report problem areas, and the data is calculated. Developing those results requires a staff that is good at counting dots and bubbles; their knowledge of cars is irrelevant, since they’re just tallying the results.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        And that’s my whole point in a nutshell. Counting bubbles, doing a few accident avoidance maneuvers and writing it down does NOT an expert make. And owners have their own personal prejudices that color the surveys too.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If that was your point, then you should give some thoughts to what your point is supposed to be.

        CR does a reliability survey by doing the following -

        -They send out a questionnaire that asks whether the car had problems in any one of several categories.

        -They count the results. If they get enough responses back for a model (and they usually do), then they report the results.

        Since you don’t seem to like this rather straightforward method, how else would you do it? Be precise, I really want to know.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Well, my point wasn’t about their surveys at all. Hell, that is the one thing that CR does well. My point was that they aren’t actual experts on the way cars handle and ride in the same way that C/D and this site are. Example from a recent review of a Hyundai Genesis Coupe: “The ride is a bit stiff and uncomfortable, therefore we can’t recommend this car.” Well, hell’s bells…it’s a SPORTS CAR…not a damn Caddy Deville. Rank the cars within their own classifications, not some hypothetical general rankings.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Well, my point wasn’t about their surveys at all. Hell, that is the one thing that CR does well.

        So now you’ve changed your mind about the survey. That was quick.

        My point was that they aren’t actual experts on the way cars handle and ride in the same way that C/D and this site are.

        In addition to the reliability survey, they use a grading system for their road testing of cars that is more clinical and less based upon visceral results. Sometimes it produces results that conflict with the buff books.

        CR hires professionals to test cars. Your point is wrong. I understand that you disagree with them, but your disagreement only proves that you disagree.

        Rather than expect everyone to agree with you, accept that each source has its advantages and disadvantages, and use each of them accordingly. CR is not a place to find passion for all things automotive; they seem to appreciate, but they do not romanticize the car. But if you want to know whether the trunk is well designed for carrying groceries or whether the rear seat folds flat, then CR is hard to beat.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        I never changed my mind about the surveys. I said that they do those well…and I also said that mere surveys do NOT an expert make. If that were the case, everybody could be called a “car expert”.

        Yes, I disagree with a lot of what CR says…and I reserve the right to disagree with it. You may like clinical, and that’s fine…I prefer a bit more passion in my automotive journalism.

        “Rather than expect everyone to agree with you, accept that each source has its advantages and disadvantages, and use each of them accordingly.”

        First, I never asked or expected anyone to agree with me…not a concern of mine at all. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and mine just happens to be that CR aren’t automotive “experts”. Secondly, you are absolutely right in stating that each source has its advantages and disadvantages. I just think that CR has more disadvantages than advantages.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        @Pch101

        And as TTAC documented in a series of stories, if not enough people complete those surveys to provide a valid statistical sample, Consumer Reports makes a wild ass guess based on the limited data.

        Porsche has the best quality in North America??? I know a LOT of Porsche owners, loyal, happy Porsche owners, that would pass out laughing reading that. But that was what Consumer Reports said based on a handful of outdated reviews on models not even in the results. Do a search, TTAC did a three piece story on it.

        Consumer Reports is good only as a single data point – and taken with a large grain of salt (as is JD Power, as is online consumer reviews when you chaffe out the pure hate and pure love, as is enthusiast sites).

        The gap between the best car from a reliability stand point to the worst, when average out over the entire fleet has become incredibly narrow. The JD Power numbers reflect this better since they express it as problems per 100 vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I also said that mere surveys do NOT an expert make

        The problem is that your definition of “expert” seems to be “people who agree with jplew138″, since you keep making claims about CR that you can’t rationally support. But the dictionary that the rest of us use don’t have that definition.

        Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and mine just happens to be that CR aren’t automotive “experts”.

        But an uninformed opinion isn’t much of an opinion.

        If you want to claim that CR doesn’t have expertise, then prove it. So far, all you’ve done is accuse and repeat, accuse and repeat…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Do a search, TTAC did a three piece story on it.

        To be blunt, Mr. Karesh devotes far too much effort trying to attack True Delta’s competition for his word to be taken objectively (while his competition doesn’t bother to trash talk him in return.)

        All of these surveys have their advantages and disadvantages. None of them is perfect. But they’re all fairly consistent with each other in terms of ranking reliability, and GM and Chrysler tend not to do so well.

        Porsche has the best quality in North America???

        JD Power’s definition of “quality” in the Initial Quality Survey does not just include reliability.

        The IQS survey is designed for the automakers, not for the consumer, and gives data to the automakers that the automakers find useful. I would suggest that you account for the fact that it is a survey conducted at the 90 day mark, and that reliability comprises only one half of the scoring.

        I know that domestic car fans hate surveys, because they almost always lose. But that would point to a deficiency with the cars, not the survey.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Well, seeing that this VERY site has, as HoldenSSVSE has stated, done three separate pieces on CR’s methodology, or lack of same, maybe I’m not quite as crazy as you seem to think I am.

        Methinks they call your kind of attacks “ad hominiem”…as in, you made it personal. Damn good way to get out of actually responding to what I said about CR’s methodology, illustrated in my Genesis coupe example. And don’t even get me started on JD Power and all of the industry people with their hands in their pockets – again, the subject of a story on this very website.

        I think you just proved my point in my original post about close-mindedness. Damn CR, JD Power, even C/D and even this site. Go to the dealer, sit in the car, drive the car, and form your OWN impressions. CR is only a baseline, and a flawed one at that.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Methinks they call your kind of attacks “ad hominiem”…as in, you made it personal.

        There’s nothing personal about pointing out that you provide absolutely no support for your arguments.

        You claimed several times that CR had no expertise. I want you to prove it. I assume that you can’t, because you’ve posted similar remarks each time, always without anything factual to chew on.

        I’ve read Mr. Karesh’s work in the past. What I have read with respect to the auto surveys I have found to be debatable and often self-serving. He’s advocating for his site, not objectively evaluating those sources. Not that those other sources are perfect, but I have yet to find one that is, his included.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        “There’s nothing personal about pointing out that you provide absolutely no support for your arguments.”

        Really? Then what about this?

        “The problem is that your definition of “expert” seems to be “people who agree with jplew138″, since you keep making claims about CR that you can’t rationally support.”

        Sounds rather personal to me,no?

        “But an uninformed opinion isn’t much of an opinion.”

        And your opinion is more informed because of…what??

        And as far as Mr. Karesh’s pieces, I happen to find them rather informative and unique, seeing as he actually does this sort of stuff himself, unlike either you or me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a former salesman, but it takes a lot more than a mere CR report to sway me one way or the other on whether I’m buying a car or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        jimmyy,

        Please explain why Toyotas Scion was rated below the Detroit brands by JD Power. Also explain why Consumer Reports listed 3 Toyotas, 1 Honda and no Detroit cars as “Stuck In Reverse” for vehicles that fell the farthest in test scores. They also said the Honda Crosstour and CR-Z “Didn’t live up to expectations”.

        I’m not denying that Honda and Toyota make very good cars but clearly they are getting lazy just like Detroit did years ago. You can’t deny that the Detroit cars are getting much better, your bible Consumer Reports even say’s so along with recommending many of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      .

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    One thing I’ve noticed about these monthly/quarterly sales lists, is that they seem to bring out a lot of insecurities in some. Strong pickup sales prove how stupid Americans are, improved domestic auto sales show that Americans are smart, or… improved import sales show which Americans are smarter.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      I agree completely. Some of the Best & Brightest are not exactly showing either trait.

      Silverado and F-150? I’ve said it before. Bob the builder can’t haul sheet rock in a Prius. Now I’ve had some Prius owners read that and then insist that a Prius is a valid tradesman vehicle – I’m not sure on what planet but not here on earth. These vehicles will always have strong sales because of the segment. Why on earth would Toyota have invested billions in the failed Tundra, built a dedicated V8 engine factory in North America, and built a dedicated truck factory in San Antonio (now building other models due to very weak Tundra sales)? Did they do it out of sheer stupidity? Of course not. They did it because they saw the business. Oh sure, it is very easy to portray the soccer mom in her F-150 or the commuter in the Silverado. YES, absolutely many will never pull a trailer; but a lot of those sales are going to practical uses. The next point – the Silverado based on the five year old GMT900 platform is selling well, given it is by a landslide the oldest truck of the four main models (The Titan really isn’t a competitor in this space).

      Chevy Cruze. Amazing how many people remain in denial that the Cruze is a success. Oh I know, it would never sell, already outdated when it got here, over priced blah blah blah. It is selling well, inventory turn is at 38 days, a very healthy number, and was at 20 day inventory turn BEFORE the Japanese earthquake, GM is basically selling every one they build. California sales for the Cruze are up, something impossible a few years ago (Focus/Fiesta too). Cruze Eco is literally flying off lots, and over half of them with manuals (just an interesting fact). Its been almost a year and like people still waiting for Camaro sales to go to zero – it ain’t happening. When the diesel comes in 2013 things get even more interesting.

      Malibu – well this is an outlier because the Malibu is now the oldest of the D-segment sedans in the market and it shows. Fleet sales are high so this isn’t anything to write home about. If Toyota and Honda inventory levels were up to point – Camry and Accord sales would very likely exceed.

      Ford Escape – a bit surprised by the venerable Escape, but it does appear in the top ten from time to time and certainly is common on the top twenty list. A tidy package and certainly not a bad SUV. Likely benefiting from increased Ford showroom traffic from Focus tire kickers and reduced inventory.

      Ford Focus – oh it has a balky transmission, almost $29K loaded out, it will never sell. Clearly Chevrolet, Ford, and Hyundai have outflanked the Japanese in reading the market. It has been debated for years when/if/ever American buyers would be willing to go into the C-Segment but still get luxury features. Well the answer is yes, they are very ready and Honda and Toyota have both dropped the ball. However, easily recovered I think on both sides. The C-Segment has changed. I don’t know why that gets people so wound up. The days of pure Toyota and Honda dominance are likely over.

      Ram Pickup: See F-150 and Silverado above.

      Toyota Camry: Two things – first of all Camry is approaching fleet queen status given it is also a dated D-segment platform, fleet sales have grown to about 19% of Camry’s business. The second thing is clearly this is inventory reduced sales. But I have to wonder a bit on if C-Segment sales are chipping away. There is absolutely no denying that Hyundai and Kia are definitely eating away at the Camry dominance. A new model is coming, the timing is good, it should be as production comes back up to speed. I could easily see the Camry returning to a higher sales velocity of 30K a month – but how many of those are going to end up on Hertz lots (over 20% Toyota vehicles now) in stripper LE trim.

      Ford Fusion: Stands on its own merits. Its a good sedan. It appeals to customers. It is priced well, this is a normal sales level.

      Hyundai Elantra: Lets be clear on this one too, and I don’t understand why this gets the Toyota/Honda crowd so wound up. If Hyundai could build the Elantra faster, they’d sell them. I would suspect if they could build to the level it would have outsold the Cruze and Focus easily. Fleet sales are small, reviewers rave, content and value is high, resale value is guaranteed, best warranty in the industry. This is the main reason why the Corolla/Civic as the big dogs and no one else will come close dynamic is over (and lets be honest, the Corolla is slowly becoming a rental fleet darling also in this segment).

      There are a lot changes going on, and were going on before the earthquake (decline in Lexus sales is a great example of this). Has the earthquake tilted sales? Absolutely. Is the success of the Cruze, Elantra and Focus based upon that impact? Somewhat – and that is the part I find so amusing with everyone so upset in this thread. Would the sales be THIS strong? No. Is the only reason they are selling is because you can’t find a Corolla or Civic on a dealer lot? Seriously??? What, you can’t wait 30 days for the car you want to buy? Their base is that disloyal??? Ya I get it, car wrecked in an accident need new car now but that is a tiny percentage of buyers. If Toyota/Honda owner loyalty is so thin that the average buyer won’t wait – then it highlights they have bigger problems.

      The reality is the Cruze, Elantra and Focus are damn good cars, and there are shifts going on in the industry.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My exercise above makes it clear that June 2011 fleet sales for the Cruze are above the June 2010 fleet sales of the Cobalt. Based upon GM’s own figures, that change can’t be disputed.

        What the exact numbers of those fleet sales for the Cruze are exactly, we can only guess, since GM isn’t telling us. (They could eliminate all this speculation simply by spelling it out.) But even you should be able to admit that the Cobalt typically ran high fleet numbers, which implies that the Cruze had high fleet sales for at least this month, given how GM presented the sales data.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        You miss the main point. If you are a consumer, you usually want the most reliable long lasting car. Consumer Reports and JDPowers show Honda and Toyota cars are just that.

        Detroit tries to get people to focus on gadgets and gizmos instead of reliability. That is the value added from Detroit. gadgets and gizmos. The value added from Honda and Toyota is reliability. Long term reliability.

        Until Detroit achieves long term reliability, Detroit products are irrelevant to unbiased consumers who go for the best value. Honda and Toyota’s best move is to ignore Detroit’s irrelevant products until Detroit fixes it’s reliability and quality problem. Based on the recent JD Powers result, the same dark clouds are hanging over Detroit.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        @jimmyy

        And TTAC has done article after article showing that the methodology of JD Power and Consumer Reports are flawed, and SOME of the data in Consumer Reports is highly flawed (like the declaration that Porsche was the most reliable brand based – do a search). Does that mean it’s total garbage – nope.

        But when people trot out Consumer Reports or JD Power as a debate tool, it is a tool of those who don’t have much to argue.

        Chevrolet isn’t putting cash on the hood of the Cruze, Toyota is putting cash on the hood of the Corolla and writing car loans down to FICO 520 to 100% financing. That’s all the evidence I need to see on who is winning hearts and minds of buyers; and the Cruze is doing it at a much higher sticker price.

        The point of reliability has also been beaten senseless here. The reality is the gap between the worst car and the best car is incredibly narrow; and Consumer Reports since you quoted as in so much declared, along with JD Power. It really doesn’t matter if you buy a bottom of the pack Scion or VW (based on JD Power) a middle of the pack Chevy, a upper middle Ford, or an ancient Corolla. All of them in their 2011 trim should easily go 150K miles without any big issues. By the time you reach 150K miles I don’t care who makes it, bushings start getting tired, things like AC compressors and alternators get a bit suspect. Oh yes, anyone can quote their bother’s cousin’s uncle’s roommate with 500K and they use water instead of oil every 30K miles for oil changes and drive it 75 miles one way on their commute, uphill on an 8% grade both ways, pulling a 10,000 pound trailer at 120 MPH and they haven’t even replaced the tires after 250K miles. We’ve all heard the stories.

        The gap is narrow – and you can’t point to a single review, even from Consumer Reports, that calls the Corolla competitive or desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        HoldenSSVSE, I have been told by people in the new-car sales industry that sales of NEW cars in the US of A are depressed at this time. We could discuss ad nauseam the variables that potentially depress current sales but suffice it to say that sales of NEW cars could be whole lot better if economic circumstances were better in America.

        We’ll be shopping in 2013 to replace my wife’s 2008 Highlander Limited AWD, which will be fully depreciated then, and I hope that we will find something as good as, if not better than, what we have now. And ditto when trading my 2011 Tundra 5.7 in 2016.

        There is a lot more room for talking turkey when the SAAR is 17m instead of 12m. At 12m most dealerships do not have much of a margin to cover operating expenses, and even less for making a profit.

        What really matters are the end-of-year sales figures published in January 2012. Monthly sales numbers are snapshots that become just a one-twelfth portion of the annual overall sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @HoldenSSVSE You seem to have a pretty good grasp on what seems to be happening in the auto industry right now, and unlike some of the stuff that I’ve heard on this thread, it seems to be reasoned…miracle of miracles.

        I guess my main complaint is the fact that the great majority of people who are either import- or domestic- bashing haven’t actually driven the cars in question. And if they did, I doubt their opinions would change much…kinda like the “old crows” that jimmyy speaks of.

        And another one of my points that seems to have been lost in translation is…actually go out and DRIVE the cars before you form an opinion on them. CR ain’t driving the cars…YOU are.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        jplew138, it is the hardest thing in the world to get people to test drive something that they do not, or will not, support for psychological or other personal reasons.

        I have brothers in the new car retail business that sell both domestic and foreign brands and they’ve told me this knife cuts both ways. Foreign-bashers will not drive a foreign brand. Domestic-haters will not drive a domestic brand even if it is made in Mexico or Canada. Each for their own personal reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      @jplew138

      I am not an automotive writer. I am not associated with the auto industry. I am very much an enthusiast. I travel a lot personally and as part of the day job. Whenever I travel I always play lets make a deal at the rental counter and try to drive the newest and latest to form my own opinions. I can’t even get my hands on a Cruze, folks at the rental counter tell me either a) they don’t have them or b) they are very popular and what few they have rent out quickly. Now surely someone is reading this and going, ya, well here in Nashville there are 100 Cruze’s at the Avis lot. OK, I haven’t flown into Nashville – so what of it? Try to rent one in Boston at Logan (maybe easier than my last adventure in March of 2011).

      In renting cars I could make a quick list of studs and duds:

      1) Malibu LTZ – got a brand new 2009 in December of 2008 with the 4-banger. Damn nice car – I was really surprised. Light years better than the previous gen Malibu.

      2) Pontiac G8 – had a 2008 6-cylinder in orange. Loved it so much went and bought a GT version.

      3) Hyundai Sonata V6 – previous generation – was extremely impressed. Reminded me of a Honda Accord with a not quite as nice interior. Engine and transmission combination was outstanding, fuel economy did not impress.

      4) Buick Lucerne V6 – one of the worst cars I’ve ever driven. Gutless, floats, steers like a boat. On the highway once up to speed it was a fabulous cruising vehicle – but overall – yeck.

      5) Toyota Camry LE 2008 – stripper rental duty version. What a steaming pile. Huge step backwards from previous generation. Terrible fit and finish, gases coming out of the plastic almost rendered me unconscious. Like the Lucerne it was a nice highway cruiser but powerless, numb steering and soft brakes. One of the most uncomfortable driver seats I’ve ever sat in.

      6) Ford Taurus (previous generation – the renamed 500). Worst – car – ever. This was such a God awful abomination on wheels I stopped at another Avis where I told them I just couldn’t take it – swapped it out for…

      7) Hyundai Azera. The dish of real vanilla ice cream with real vanilla bean specks for the automotive world. Bland yet somehow satisfying.

      8) Jeep Compass – yes, as bad as you have heard. A plastic cooler on wheels.

      9) Ford Fusion – loved everyone I’ve rented EXCEPT my most recent 2010 experience. Whomever at Ford decided that putting the HVAC controls as far down to the bottom of the center stack as possible should be shot. Ergonomically the interior tweaks were a big step backwards, but this remains my favorite D-segment car. If I can’t find something “new” to drive, this is my go to vehicle, especially if it has Sync.

      What I’ve seen in almost 20 years of traveling for work is a big improvement in the domestics – and shifting inventories at the rental lots. Absolutely plenty of Impalas, Chargers, and Avenger/200 pulling fleet duty in the universe, won’t argue that for a second. But anyone who does any real travel time will have observed an explosion in Toyota models in the rental fleets, along with Nissan. I almost fell over when I was offered a Honda Accord recently (haven’t had wheel time since 2003, ALMOST took it, but wiggled my way to Mercedes C-300 for the same rate instead).

      There is a whole lot of cognitive bias here on both sides of the argument. The sales data in 2011 is not vindication that the domestics are now the ruling vehicles of choice, nor does it indicate that Japan is the ruling leader earthquake or no. The reality lies somewhere between.

      However the repeated, spouted nonsense that Japanese cars never die is equally as silly as America only builds gas guzzling planet destroying hulks that fall apart before they leave the lot. Again, the truth is somewhere in between. A reasonable person can stand back and go the top brands of Japan, Toyota and Honda (and their luxury divisions) have fallen off the mark, and quality has gone downhill; however they still build respectable offerings. Detroit has come a very long way and in a very short time, especially Ford followed by GM and in a distant third Chrysler. That doesn’t mean they build the best cars on the planet.

      As I noted in another reply, I don’t see rebates on the Cruze (as I type this at least) and there is a 38 day inventory turn; that kind of data doesn’t support the insentience the Cruze must be a fleet queen, how else could those sales numbers be so good. The Cobalt it replaced sold at half the volume, and if the argument is the Cruze is now going to Avis at 12,000 units a month 50% of production??? Well shoot do the math on how sustainable that is for Avis Enterprise et al and GM. It’s not. Toyota on the other hand has restricted inventory, but still has to put cash on the hood to move the car; and do some really scary financing down to FICO 520 at 100% of value, out to 60 months (and possibly out to 84 months if you read the fine print at TFS). That bit of data speaks volumes to me also — if supply is tight and demand is high, you don’t need rebates to move inventory. Likewise is supply is overflowing and only fleet customers are buying, you need to slap cash on the hood to have some action.

      Meh – the truth is in between likely.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t see rebates on the Cruze (as I type this at least)

        There’s a financing incentive.

        there is a 38 day inventory turn; that kind of data doesn’t support the insentience the Cruze must be a fleet queen

        It is possible to improve one’s inventory management and sell to fleets, simultaneously. The two data points are not mutually exclusive.

        The fleet numbers are supported by GM’s own data. Look at their own reports, and it is clear that their overall fleet sales volumes have not declined. The percentages have improved a bit, but the overall volume across the lineup is about the same.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @HoldenSSVSE

        You and I are on the same wavelength here. I do a lot of traveling myself, and seeing as I’m in the market for a car now, I’ve test driven a lot of cars over the last three months or so. Here is my list of studs and duds.

        1)2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo – I was impressed with the power, more so that they can get that kind of power out of regular unleaded. I liked the interior styling and actually like the touchscreen nav system – works better than a similar system in a Jag XF a friend of mine owns. The road noise could be calmed down, especially in the SE, but overall, a winner.

        2)2009 Hyundai Elantra – It had decent power, decent interior space, and the overall interior quality was better than I expected. It was also quiet – quieter, to me, than the new 2011 model. Handling was nothing to write home about, but the ride seems to be a bit better controlled than the new model.

        3)2012 Chevy Cruze – This car surprised me – I’ve had an animus towards GM for years now, and I really didn’t expect the Cruze to change anything, but it did. The interior is light years ahead of the Corolla and Versa, a little less ahead of the Civic, and about on par with the new Focus. It’s quiet too…Cadillac-like, if I dare say. The weak link is the engine – too small to move the car with any kind of quickness in the city…on the road, it’s fine, though.

        4)2011 Mazda 3s – The best handling mainstream small car out there now – period. The interior could be a little better, although it was fine when it came out a couple of years ago – the bar has been raised just a bit now. Road noise and mileage are problems, and that damn Jack Nicholson Joker grin on the front just turn me off.

        5)2012 Ford Focus – Handling almost as good as the 3, although it should be, as they’re built off of the same basic platform. I thought it could have had a bit more room, but I’m 6’3″ 1/2 tall, and you could say I’m a bit picky about that. The ride/handling balance is just right, better than any small car besides the 3, and it’s quieter than the 3 too. The problem for the Focus will be price on the SEL and Titanium models – $28,000 for a Focus Titanium is waaaaay too much…you could get a Sonata SE Turbo for that.

        6)2012 Honda Civic – The BIG disappointment of the group, and I was a Honda fan, too. The styling a)isn’t as nice as the old one, and b)besides the styling and some interior changes, nothing else has changed, when almost all of the competition had made major changes. It’s a perfectly good car, mind you…it’s just that I expect a lot more out of a Honda – a LOT more.

        Just my two cents on some cars that I’ve driven over the last three to four months. Enjoy :)

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        HoldenSSVSE, I, too, have been told that the quality of Toyota has gone downhill drastically, and not just over the past couple of years. Long time (since 1987) Toyota Camry owners have told me that their first Camry built in Kentucky was dramatically different from the one that they owned before that was built in Japan.

        As first-time Toyota owners (2008 Highlander AWD and 2011 Tundra 5.7) we haven’t experienced any problems so far. When compared to the Ford products we owned before, the Toyota vehicles have been a better experience for us. But when we go to trade my wife’s Highlander in 2013, I don’t think we’ll replace it with one built in the US. Too many issues there.

        The former Toyota and Honda owners we know who were disappointed with their US-built versions have stepped up to cars like the E-Class Mercedes, or a Lexus, and even an Infiniti. None have regressed to buying a domestic brand product, even if it was made in Mexico or Canada.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        @Pch101 – 2.9% is a competitive offer to those with good credit, I can get similar rates from at least two local credit unions.

        Toyota is putting cash on the hood, doing 100% financing down to FICO 520, running give away lease payments that are almost assuredly negative equity for Toyota.

        I really don’t care to have this circular argument with you anymore. You are convinced, with no evidence that fleet sales for the Cruze are at 25% to 50% last month. So be it, it is not my job to convince you otherwise – nor do I care too. But you haven’t provided any evidence to support the position, and there is strong evidence that does not support your position.

        Now I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I did go to college, and I didn’t do too much mind altering drugs when I was there. When inventory is tight, and a product is in demand, prices go up. With cash on the hood of the Corolla – clearly they are trying to drive demand that is not matching their inventory level.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        2.9% is a competitive offer to those with good credit

        You claimed that there was no incentive. I corrected you — there is a financing incentive.

        Toyota is putting cash on the hood, doing 100% financing down to FICO 520, running give away lease payments that are almost assuredly negative equity for Toyota.

        We’re discussing GM. Nobody claimed that Toyota didn’t have an incentive program on the Corolla.

        You are convinced, with no evidence that fleet sales for the Cruze are at 25% to 50% last month.

        You apparently didn’t bother to run the numbers. GM is running about the same number of fleet sales in June 2011 that it did in June 2010, but it has fewer nameplates to carry those sales. Meanwhile, GM doesn’t report its fleet numbers for the Cruze, but does provide a comparison to the Cobalt that would suggest that the Cruze is probably running at about 30% fleet.

        Your only rebuttal to that is a days of inventory figure. But you don’t know the denominator for which that was calculated, nor does it mean that fleet sales aren’t a large part of the mix.

        I know that you want to be in love with the Cruze and kick the crap out of Toyota. I get it.

        All I did is identify that the fleet sales figure is probably high, given the data points that GM provided us, but that it would be nice if GM would just come out and tell us clearly what the number is. Because GM won’t give it to us, we’ll have to wait for ages before a source such as Fleet Central does.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Holden, I have got to say your posts here today are well balanced, relevant, correct, and pretty much nail it on the head. I don’t think poster vajj, or jimmyjj or whatever his name is was worth the effort you put in as he is a troll that has been beaten senseless with four rolled up copies of CR. You are certainly correct in stating that the spread of reliability is just not nearly as wide as it used to be. Factor out the couple of basement dwellers and the difference is even less. So to focus solely on the top 10% percent of the most reliable cars really puts one at a disadvantage. There are plenty of cars with good reliability that don’t come in Toyota beige…

  • avatar
    AaronH

    It is one of very few that does not look like it was designed by a 9 year old girl…It is why the Kia Sorento sells well too. Even American women don’t want to look weak by “wearing” an infantile-looking car.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Wow. This article sure didn’t bring out the best and the brightest. Look, can we all agree on the following:

    1. The Cruze, Focus, Malibu and Fusion are all solid vehicles. Probably not the best of their classes, but close enough that there is a lot of latent demand for a decent domestic nameplate vehicle, and they are selling well.

    2. The Tsunami has obviously had an impact. Inventory and production are way down, for Toyota and Honda especially. By the end of the year this will be resolved, and we’ll have a better feel for what levels of sales are ‘normal’ going forward.

    3. Ford and Chevy have done a lot to improve their quality. In many cases, their offerings are as good as Toyota and Honda, in some cases better. But that said, after decades of getting burned by domestic lemons, many American buyers are wary of plunking down 20-25 large on a domestic car.

    4. There is a lot of ‘noise’ in the monthly figures, which are subject to short term incentives and seasonality.

    Let’s move on now.

  • avatar
    wallstreet

    I’m not a truck person but that is a beautiful orange Raptor in the photo.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “The problem is that your definition of “expert” seems to be “people who agree with jplew138″, since you keep making claims about CR that you can’t rationally support.”

    Sounds rather personal to me,no?

    No, it isn’t personal at all. It’s a fact — you keep accusing CR of suffering from a lack of expertise, yet you provide zero evidence to support your position.

    I’m going to make it easy for you. Tell me what’s wrong with this guy. Be specific:

    ____________________________

    DAVID CHAMPION – Senior Director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Division

    Champion obtained a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Aston in Birmingham, England, and started his working career at Lucas Electrical (“the Prince of Darkness”), until, as he puts it, “I saw the light and it was dim at the end of a long tunnel.” He then moved on to Land Rover where he tested vehicles in the Arizona desert and Nissans in California before joining the Consumer Reports auto-testing program in 1997.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/auto-test/the-people-behind-the-tests-david-champion/

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      Ah…I never said that CR suffered from a lack of “expertise” at all. My problem is the continual referring to CR as this sort of be-all end-all automotive bible, which they are most assuredly ARE NOT. Their fumble on the Explorer rollover issue – which, I might add, no other magazine or automotive authority could duplicate, should illustrate that clearly.

      And again, you completely skirt my main point in my original post, which was that the seat of YOUR pants – not some CR or other magazine tester – should be your final authority as to whether you should buy a car or not. Reliability ratings and all are fine and good, but they’re not sitting in the car and driving it. YOU are.

      And as a side note…Mr. Champion’s qualifications are fine and good…except for the fact that if I worked for Lucas and Land Rover during their respective dog days, I wouldn’t tell anybody :)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I never said that CR suffered from a lack of “expertise” at all.

        You might want to reread what you wrote:

        “And how about you consider the fact that CR are not car ‘experts’? At least not on the level of Car and Driver, Motor Trend, or the people who do the writing for this site.”

        “Counting bubbles, doing a few accident avoidance maneuvers and writing it down does NOT an expert make.”

        “My point was that they aren’t actual experts on the way cars handle and ride in the same way that C/D and this site are.”

        “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and mine just happens to be that CR aren’t automotive ‘experts’.”

        That guy runs the auto testing for CR. He worked at Nissan, Land Rover and (God forbid) Lucas, plus he has an engineering degree. Were you seriously claiming that someone with an engineering education and a career in auto production doesn’t have any automotive expertise?

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Oh, I fully well know what I wrote. And I stand by that. C/D, Motor Trend, and this site, among others, are far more “expert” on cars than CR EVER will be. Or maybe I should have said “enthusiast”, since that’s what I consider myself. I want to know what a car does…beyond mere numbers. And sorry, but CR doesn’t do that – period.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        C/D, Motor Trend, and this site, among others, are far more “expert” on cars than CR EVER will be

        RIK PAUL – Automotive Editor

        Rik is a 25-year veteran of the automotive publishing field, having served as Motor Trend‘s Senior Feature Editor for nine years in Los Angeles and, in earlier days, writing several do-it-yourself repair manuals for Haynes Publications.

        http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/auto-test/the-people-behind-the-tests-rik-paul/

        I want to know what a car does…beyond mere numbers. And sorry, but CR doesn’t do that – period.

        This confirms my earlier point: “The problem is that your definition of “expert” seems to be “people who agree with jplew138″, since you keep making claims about CR that you can’t rationally support.”

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        @Pch101

        You’re kind of pissing up a rope here.

        The engineers that designed the Titanic I’m sure had lots of degrees and engineering experience.

        The engineers that designed the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge I’m sure had lots of degrees and civil engineering experience.

        I have had the displeasure of working with many an MBA that would go outside to study the rain but not have the common sense to put a coat on.

        Steve Ballmer has run Microsoft for 11 years – would you REALLY want him running your tech company?

        On the other hand Abraham Lincoln was an abject failure at almost everything he did in life, until he became President. John Adams was generally so reviled, mostly because of his gruff, direct ways, that his son took the name John Quincy Adams to distinguish himself from his father. Historically, John Adams was one of the most intelligent, principled, and key founding fathers. Bill Gates and Larry Ellison both, college drop outs who built huge empires.

        Experience or lack there of, fancy degrees, or industry expertise means squat. A guy who was building airplanes four years ago is doing a pretty damn good job of running a car company; or is he unqualified because he lacks an automotive background?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Experience or lack there of, fancy degrees, or industry expertise means squat. A guy who was building airplanes four years ago is doing a pretty damn good job of running a car company.

        You should slug it out with jplew138. He’s apparently upset that the people who work at Consumer Reports don’t have the expertise that jplew138 thinks that they should.

        Not that he told us what expertise that is supposed to be exactly, but whatever it is….well, he just doesn’t like it.

        And I stand by that. C/D, Motor Trend, and this site, among others, are far more “expert” on cars than CR EVER will be.

        RIK PAUL – Automotive Editor

        Rik is a 25-year veteran of the automotive publishing field, having served as Motor Trend’s Senior Feature Editor for nine years in Los Angeles and, in earlier days, writing several do-it-yourself repair manuals for Haynes Publications.

        http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/auto-test/the-people-behind-the-tests-rik-paul/

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Experience or lack there of, fancy degrees, or industry expertise means squat. A guy who was building airplanes four years ago is doing a pretty damn good job of running a car company.

        You should slug it out with jplew138. He’s apparently upset that the people who work at Consumer Reports don’t have the expertise that jplew138 thinks that they should.

        Not that he told us what expertise that is supposed to be exactly, but whatever it is….well, he just doesn’t like it.

        And I stand by that. C/D, Motor Trend, and this site, among others, are far more “expert” on cars than CR EVER will be.

        RIK PAUL – Consumer Reports Automotive Editor

        Rik is a 25-year veteran of the automotive publishing field, having served as Motor Trend’s Senior Feature Editor for nine years in Los Angeles and, in earlier days, writing several do-it-yourself repair manuals for Haynes Publications.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Good god, man. Do you ever quit? All I gave was my opinion, and I get this self-serving BS. Look, I get it…CR is your final authority on everything automotive. CR, according to your “expertise”, is God as far as you know with respect to automotive journalism.

        I’ve been on this forum for about a year now and I’ve gotten into some pretty heavy-duty disagreements with people over stuff, but this is truly ridiculous. I just wonder if Mr. PCH either works for, or has worked for Consumers Union at any point in his life. He sure as hell defends them like he did. Oh, and I should point out, as much good as it will do, that he never answered the question that my original post posed. But then, you never intended to, did you.

        Have fun, fella…one of these days, maybe you’ll run your very own site like this…or maybe you do undercover and just won’t tell any one. Truly disgusting and depressing.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        I can’t believe I read all that and I can’t believe as well that I’m actually jumping into this (especially since I can’t swim), but having read through everyone’s comments I don’t think Pch101 was defending CR as the god of of automotive journalism. He/she was simply pointing out that CR offers a certain perspective on automobiles that is helpful in certain regards as a source of information. He/she never denied that CR’s way of accumulating and reporting data may have its flaws (as has been pointed out on this and other sites), but was simply suggesting that even with those flaws it’s still a helpful perspective on certain aspects of automobile ownership. Here’s a quote from Pch101:

        “Rather than expect everyone to agree with you, accept that each source has its advantages and disadvantages, and use each of them accordingly. CR is not a place to find passion for all things automotive; they seem to appreciate, but they do not romanticize the car. But if you want to know whether the trunk is well designed for carrying groceries or whether the rear seat folds flat, then CR is hard to beat.”

        I think Pch101 was simply suggesting that, instead of dismissing CR’s reports as empty and irrelevant, it might be better to see their reports as a useful source of information that offers a helpful if somewhat narrow perspective on automobiles and automobile ownership.

        As for the ‘import’ vs ‘domestic’ dispute, I tend to agree with those people who suggest that we should evaluate cars on their own merits before passing any sort of ‘final’ judgment on them. Trend data can be helpful as a way of predicting and pre-judging present and future vehicles, but relying solely and completely on trends also has its own limitations and risks (as sometimes automobiles and automobile makers can ‘buck’ such trends). As is often the case, some combination of trend assessment combined with a willingness to actually assess and test a particular vehicle (and vehicle manufacturer) on its own merits is usually the best way to pass judgment in such matters (and I might add that this often applies to other things as well, including how we judge people).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I think Pch101 was simply suggesting that, instead of dismissing CR’s reports as empty and irrelevant, it might be better to see their reports as a useful source of information that offers a helpful if somewhat narrow perspective on automobiles and automobile ownership.

        My point to jplew138 is simpler than that — if you want to make a claim, then have something substantive to back it up. Repeating a bad argument doesn’t make it any better, nor does repeating a claim that has no factual support make it any more factual.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        Hmmm…very interesting debate I started, I see. I see that I have called CR “idiots”, which I never did. All I was suggesting was that your test drive and the way YOU felt about the car be your final guide to what you buy. But I see that I’m not going to get anywhere with that argument, seeing as none of the people who have responded to my post actually said anything about THAT part of my post.

        So, have fun, fellas. I’m done…wish you luck on the other side.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        All I was suggesting was that your test drive and the way YOU felt about the car be your final guide to what you buy

        You did more than that. You kept saying repeatedly that CR had no expertise, only to back away from your comments when I showed you that the guy who runs their testing came out of the auto industry, and its editor came from Motor Trend and Haynes.

        If you don’t like CR because you take offense to colored circles or the lack of witty prose or because you don’t like Mondays, that’s your choice. But when you make objective statements such as denying the professional credibility of its staff, then you ought to try to gather a few facts before you start making accusations.

        It’s obvious now to anyone who is being objective that you really didn’t know anything about them at all and were just making it up as you went along. Try not to be surprised when somebody calls you on it.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @Pch101

        You forgot something. I never claimed to be objective. I said that I thought that CR weren’t automotive experts in the vein of Motor Trend, Car and Driver, and the like. And I stand by that, regardless of whether you think my opinion holds water or not. I never questioned their qualifications, education, or anything else like that. My post wasn’t about that at all. YOU made it into that, I didn’t. And, I should also add that my post wasn’t directed at you, it was directed at someone else – who at least made an attempt at answering the original question my post posed.

        Bottom line – if you want CR to be your final, or one of your final authorities on your car-buying decision, go for it. I don’t. The seat of my pants is my final authority.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You forgot something. I never claimed to be objective

        I was referring to the other readers, some of whom are objective. You haven’t fooled any of those individuals with this accuse-then-deny shtick of yours.

        You’ve dug yourself into a hole. It might help you if you were to stop digging.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        @Pch101

        You know, that is a very interesting comment, seeing as you’re the only one who has raised this much hell about what I said. And before you even bring it up, Philosophil’s comments were a good bit more reasoned than yours ever were, and he didn’t attack my credibility or my good sense the way you did. The only hole I dug is the one you see…and I’m not all that worried about that.

        And…since you refuse to address the original thrust of my post, let me repeat, for the last time…only your own personal seat-of-the-pants observations should be the final determining factor in what car you decide to buy/lease or whatever. Not the opinions of a magazine, whether it’s CR, C/D, or whomever. Maybe if you had bothered to address THAT part of what I posted, I might have a little more respect for your opinions of what CR does. Instead, you sound like an apologist. Which I have absolutely no respect for. And, whether you want to admit it or not, you did attack me personally, which Philosophil most assuredly did not.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I also feel I need to add my two cents about the language debate. One of the fundamental tenets of argumentation and rhetoric is to know your audience. What may be acceptable language amongst a small group of friends or a close-knit group may be completely unacceptable amongst a larger or different group. It’s largely a matter of context.

      While the internet has done a lot to make communication easy (and cheap, relatively speaking), it has also brought about drastic changes in the nature of one’s audience. People often forget that when they speak over the internet they are basically speaking in a public forum, as public a forum as there likely ever has been. People from around the globe can now read your words, often in a matter of seconds. What this means is that, like it or not, your internet audience is global (or at least potentially so). As a result, we should be far more careful about what we say and how we say it.

      Some might complain that this level of audience sensitivity may promote a kind of ‘sterility’ and overly generic use of language, but I would reply that this might well be one of the unanticipated effects of this kind of global, internet technology (because almost every new technology has unanticipated effects, not all of which are good).

      It always helps to keep in mind that you’re no longer speaking to your neighbor here, but are speaking to people from diverse backgrounds who may not have the same norms of language use that you do. I realize this just makes things even more complicated and messy than they already are, but such is the nature of our modern information age.

      By the way, I honestly don’t mean to sound like I’m pontificating here. I’m just trying to remind people of where they are and of the complex nature of their audience.

      p.s., I also don’t think it helps matters when we resort to name-calling (though I’ve probably been guilty of that here as well on occasion–though I do at least try).

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    “With the V6 you can tow 3,500 lbs, and the Escape is also flat-towable with no modifications, so it’s popular with the motorhome crowd.”
    I dont think it would be very wise to tow a motorhome with a compact V6 SUV. Maybe downhill with no passengers. A popup camper would be a better choice. Most V6 suv’s are rated for 3500lbs. That’s really not that much if you subtract the weight of three passengers and gear.
    It will take a lot more than a few initial quality studies to convince me to buy another ‘Merican car. Lets wait and see how they hold up at 70,000 miles…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Behind the motorhome goes the Escape. And when you consider that the alternative for “flat towing” is likely a Jeep Wrangler which might not be as enjoyable for the senior set…

      Flat towing – Towing a vehicle four wheels down behind a motorhome, with the intent of unhooking the towed vehicle and using for sightseeing or local driving. Only certain vehicles are authorized by auto manufacturers for towing in this manner, and manufacturers’ towing procedures must be followed.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        I thought anything with a manual transmission could be flat-towed, and anything with an automatic could not. So, yeah, an Escape could be flat-towed, but it would have to be the strippo, base, manual transmission version.

        Has that changed? Are there now flat-towable automatic-equipped vehicles, and non-flat-towable manual transmission ones?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I always thought that for 4wd and AWD vehicles the ability to flat tow was based on having a neutral position on the transfer case.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Any manual transmission vehicle should be flat-towable, and the same for 4×4 vehicles that have a true neutral mode in the transfer case (less common than you would think).

        Some automatics are also flat towable, the Ford CUVs being examples (as well as most Ford cars). Most Saturns were also flat-towable with automatics.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        So an automatic FWD Escape (as well as other Fords and Saturns) can be flat-towed without damaging the transmission? What engineering design allows that? Whatever it is, kudos to Ford for including it.

        Reminds me of the early days of the Chrysler Torqueflite when you could push-start a car so equipped.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Apparently the flat-towable transmissions use internal baffles to direct oil flow inside of the transmission even when the engine (and therefore fluid pump) isn’t on. I imagine it works based on fluid thermodynamic principles – the hotter oil displaces the cooler oil and the baffles direct the cooler oil where it needs to go.

        There’s a similar design principle in the EcoBoost engine for the F-150 where capillary action is used to draw up cooler oil through the turbos and engine even after the engine is shut off to prevent coking.

        Here is the press release on the 6F35 transmission which is one of the ones that is flat-tow capable:

        http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=28196

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      IIRC, back in the day, all auto shifts had a front hydro pump, driven by the engine, and a rear pump, driven by the rear wheels when push starting, etc. That rear pump disappeared long ago from most units.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I miss the TTAC of old. Somehow the discussions had more depth and less vitriol. The term “best and brightest” has always been a bit tongue in cheek, but seems to be more firmly so as the months go by. It seems that all of the politics around bailouts and such have moved TTAC more into the realm of a typical auto blog and less out of the realm of being something really special. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    If anyone wants to comment on a particular vehicle, it is much better when done from a point of personal experiences (as some here have done), rather than the “Oh yeah, well Car and Driver hates it” or “But, Consumer Reports are all idiots” lines of discussion which are fruitless, pointless and annoying.

    As to the top ten list, there are some actual interesting facts in there. Honda not having any vehicle in the top ten is a huge wake up call. Perhaps some of that is tsunami related, but that is clearly not the whole story. Likewise, Hyundai making an appearance in the top 10 is big news. Chevy having the best selling car is big news. Ram trucks being really back in the game is noteworthy. That both the Fusion and the Malibu are outselling the Camry and Accord is a sea change.

    Surely some of these ranking may change in the months ahead as the effects of the tsunami subside, but for industry observers these are all unusual data points which make the ears perk up a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      Dragophire

      “It seems that all of the politics around bailouts and such have moved TTAC more into the realm of a typical auto blog and less out of the realm of being something really special. Hopefully I’m wrong.” You unfortunately are not. I have been apart of this forum for about two years now..It seems that some of the commenter are the same folks that I left other sights for. Lack of open mindedness and juvenile comments overall. I actually like and trust CR (to a point) with acknowledgement that they do make mistakes but are very good at testing “PRODUCTS” and I take everything they say with a grain of salt.

      When I bought my 2008 CX9 they said in 07 it was below average reliability. Well 3 years and 57k miles later only one issue that I fixed my self. When it comes to paying nearly 42 grand for something I buy what I want not what someone recommends. I use CR and other sites like this as a bridge of my own knowledge. Most on this site (editor and contributors) don’t really like the CX9 that much. I don’t belittle them for doing so. That’s why when I am buying I drive everything in its segment that is 10grand above and below to get a perspective.

      I used to hate Honda when I was younger. I always thought that there reputation was over blown. Now several years later I realized that they deserved their reputation just as the domestics deserved theirs. Now I like the MDX a lot (nearly bought one) and the TL is a nice care that I wouldn’t mind having.

      So John even though I haven’t always with your comments I hope your are wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      I generally agree with the disappointment expressed over trends in commentary here, although I don’t subscribe to the idea that TTAC once enjoyed a “golden age” in which we were ruled by pure reason, untroubled by weak commentary, fatuous partisanship and general ass-clownery. Like most honest endeavors, this site is a constant balancing act, with the commentary pendulum always swinging between openness and restrictions, quality and quantity, constructiveness and blind prejudice.

      It’s possible that my pendulum swings at a different rate than some long-term TTAC commenters, but I’m swinging back to the side of restrictions, quality and constructiveness. When I started this job, I relied on the B&B to correct and cajole me to (hopefully) improved contributions. But lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been becoming less inspired and edified by the discussion here, and (as much as I loath the task of comment moderation) that’s not a direction I want to continue in. Yes, it is ultimately my responsibility to maintain a community rooted in the values of respect, intellectual honesty and the pursuit of truth… but I beg everyone who appreciates TTAC’s on-balance still-brilliant commentariat to join the task of keeping these pages a forum for vibrant, diverse, civil discourse. It takes, to mix overused cliches, a global village…

      • 0 avatar
        Dr Lemming

        It is a difficult balance to achieve, particularly if you don’t want to come across as authoritarian. Farago could go too far in the latter direction.

        Might we start by agreeing to basic civility? A certain derogatory derivative of Japanese shouldn’t be acceptable usage in a site like this. No need to endlessly reargue it. Those posts upthread should be gone and the commentator warned.

        My biggest personal frustration is the overly ideological and crass nature of the political discussions. There are plenty of other sites out there that engage in intellectual food fights. Must that happen here?

        It’s pretty hard to have a rational conversation when some of the regulars insist on referring to Obama and the Democrats as Marxists. Try to explain that they are using their terms inaccurately and oh, boy….

        To me the mark of a good blogospheric dialogue is that most of the commentators approach a topic with a spirit of inquiry, good cheer and an openness to learning something new.

        How do you get there? I don’t see the moderator as someone who only deletes wayward posts, but as a facilitator of sorts who helps guide the discussion by stepping in at key moments to ask Socratic questions.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Part of the problem, and about my only real critique of TTAC (logo aside) is that editorials and content used to be separate, whereas now the line is blurred and a lot of editorializing happens.

      This means that a lot of stories beg commentary that used to be reserved for the likes of the Death Watch et al, but because they’re often shorter pieces, the commentariat is left to fill in the discussion points that a full editorial would have done on it’s own. The result is that all us opinionated jack_sses spout off all at once, instead of debating the argument.

      And yes, under Ed’s direction moderation is a less heavy-handed. That’s certainly another part of it. That’s probably the greater part, but also much harder to do. I’d be in favour of a little more heavy-handedness, if nothing more than a private-message slap upside the head when we go too far. Which we will. Again.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Gotta say, every time I see a new Focus, the paint job and general finish impresses me mightily. Plus, I now have seen two cases where people have parked their new Focuses obviously a long way from other cars in the parking lots at malls. To avoid door dings, I bet. Reminds me of the old days when we car nuts used to try to put our Volvos and BMWs far away from the madding crowd, only to watch in disbelief when some doink driving an old Dodge pickup would contrarily park next to one’s treasured wheels and throw open the door. Krang!!

    Nice to see Detroit building such well-finished vehicles that inspire owner devotion. The Cruze is well-made too. The obvious increase in quality is there for all to see, and I think it’s working. The game is on.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States