By on November 4, 2011

With October’s compact segment numbers reflecting Midsized segment’s return to the Toyota-Honda duopoly, the year-to-date graph shows that 2011 saw the rise of a new contender in the compact class: Chevy’s Cruze. With “virtually zero” 2012 Civics at Honda’s dealers (allegedly) due to Earthquake aftermath and Thai flooding, it’s beginning to look like Civic could be  kicked out of the new triumvirate, leaving Cruze and Corolla to fight it out to the finish.  To celebrate the drama, we’ve included a special bonus graph showing the “Big Six” compact horserace from January through October, to go along with the YTD graph. Enjoy!

 

 

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89 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Compact Cars In October And Year-To-Date (Bonus Edition!)...”


  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Considering the Civic is “new” I find its numbers disappointing except we got to remember the fact that almost none of them are fleet, the same cannot be said for the Corolla,Cruze, Elantra and Focus, they do a lot of fleet sales and those numbers are included here

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      The Cruze is “new-errrr”. GM fans didn’t have a real compact to buy for a long while, so it’s understandable there are accomulated demands. Let’s see how does the Cruze fare in 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      People on here keep harping on fleet sales, but fleet sales are not what they once were. I suspect that the rental and Gov. agency sales are somewhat discounted, but nothing like the firesale prices of 10-20 years ago when the Detroit Big Three actually OWNED the Rental Big Three. Nor are there really “fleet special” cars anymore. Plus I assume that the big rental companies buy direct, so they probably pay something near what dealers pay for the cars.

      I think at least the rental fleets are simply buying better quality cars than they have in the past because just like the rest of us they have learned that they can buy a Corolla, pay a little more upfront, spend less on maintenance, and sell it for more when they are done. Horrid little cockroaches to drive, but I can see them as an ideal vehicle to rent out. Ditto the Camry.

      • 0 avatar

        About fleet sale, recently I had my car in the shop for some time and I got a rental from enterprise, it was a 2010 Fusion with 30k miles on it.
        It’s been a while since my last rental here in the US and I don’t remember ever renting a car with more then 5k on it, they (rental companies) just keep the cars for much longer so I think feet sales are down accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Plus I assume that the big rental companies buy direct, so they probably pay something near what dealers pay for the cars.

        That isn’t really how it works. These deals negotiated between the rental agencies and car manufacturers are “program” sales. In essence, the fleet company buys the car, but then sells the car back to the automaker once it is retired from rental duty.

        In other words, the contractual aspect makes it appear to be a purchase, but the financial structure is equivalent to a lease from the automaker to the rental company. The net price paid after the buyback is equivalent to the rental company leasing the car from the automaker at some wholesale rate.

        To run the numbers from the automaker’s perspective, you’d have to calculate a net result that include both the initial purchase/ buyback and the subsequent sale of the used car after it has been repurchased from the rental agency. That would require knowing both the program terms and the real-world net revenues obtained from the resale of those cars after the buyback. The initial fleet purchase price, by itself, doesn’t tell you much.

        In the case of Hertz, about half of their cars are program cars. Program cars are still important to rental agencies; in addition to getting volume discounts, they also get predictable costs.

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        “In essence, the fleet company buys the car, but then sells the car back to the automaker once it is retired from rental duty.”

        I’m not sure what fraction of rental car sales are on guaranteed buy back programs these days. Hertz and others move a lot of them on their own used car lots now. Also, with the mileage the rental companies put on the vehicles, I think that the buy back programs have probably largely been phased out.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m not sure what fraction of rental car sales are on guaranteed buy back programs these days.

        As noted, about half.

        For Hertz, 55% of the fleet consisted of program cars as of EOY 2010. For Avis-Budget, it was 47%.

        Hertz and others move a lot of them on their own used car lots now.

        A lot of those cars being sold on rental company used-car lots are program cars. Many of the cars that are not bought on program end up going to auction.

  • avatar
    dmw

    If you add Golf/GTI to Jettas, which is appropriate, VW is now leading Ford in the segment, and few hundred units behind Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      You mean like how Corolla numbers include the Matrix? Shouldn’t the 36,000 HHR numbers be added to the Cruze as well, not to mention the 850 cobalts sold this year?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        When the Cobalt was being sold I would have argued that GM could have rolled the HHR numbers into the Cobalt numbers as they share the same platform and they could make the same excuse, the HHR is just a Cobalt wagon (e.g. Toyota Corolla vs. Toyota Matrix).

        The HHR is a different platform than the Cruze, so I would say the same argument doesn’t hold water.

        The reality is this time last year most of the Best & Brightest were screaming that the Cruze would never sell, NO ONE would buy a $24K (loaded out) compact Chevrolet, it was completely outdated before it even got here, that’s its MPG numbers were uncompetitive, and it was just another crappy Daewoo. Even if it sold in any form of volume when the 2011 Corolla, 2012 Civic, and the 2011 Elantra gets here, along with the new Ford Focus, which will certainly be cheaper than the Cruze, that will be the end of that.

        Toyota phoned in the Civic update – and this months “full production” sales numbers reflect that as they are still behind (and way behind peak) Corolla sales numbers. 16K isn’t impressive, top or not, their market share has taken a huge hit.

        The Civic is so poorly updated that Honda is rushing a refresh for 2013.

        A loaded Focus makes the Cruze look like a bargain, and a Focus electric equally makes the Volt look more practical of a car for the exact same sticker price (bam!)

        The Cruze has a very legit shot of being the top selling C-segment car in 2011 – given the stiff competition in the C-segment (only the Corolla is really undeserving in this class, even the maligned 2012 Civic isn’t as bad as the pundits say). Given the strength of the Elantra, Jetta, and other market issues – we’re seeing a major shift.

        The Best & the Brightest that predicted a Cruze failure have to admit, the Cruze control is on, and it will be a valid race until the end of the year; and when you compare Cruze to Corolla incentives specifically – Toyota has had more money or equal on the hood the whole year, including financing versus GM.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Hypnotoad: “… and it was just another crappy Daewoo…”

        Yes, those people are still here. Ad nauseam.

        WRT HHR, Cobalt and Cruze: IIRC wasn’t the HHR classified as a truck, not unlike it’s inspiration, the PT Cruiser? That may be why GM never combined the sales together.

        Otherwise, you’re right that the HHR (which has already ended production), is Delta I architecture, and the Cruze is Delta II. Related, but a generation apart.

        I don’t think it would be right to combine sales.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “You mean like how Corolla numbers include the Matrix? Shouldn’t the 36,000 HHR numbers be added to the Cruze as well, not to mention the 850 cobalts sold this year?”

        Yes, add them all up to see if there is any improvement in sales vs. Cobalt/G3/Saturn whatever before the bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        lol Cobalts.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        “… and it was just another crappy Daewoo…”

        Do you mean to suggest that just because GM managed to sell a few Cruzes, that it isn’t just another crappy Daewoo? Because reliability scores would sure seem to indicate otherwise. Already.

        Sales success does not mean the car isn’t complete junk. GM (and Chevy in particular) has a long, storied history to point to in support of this. Vega. Citation. Cavalier. Cobalt.

        In fact, Cruze sales only really demonstrate one thing: that there remain many government fleets, rental car companies, and dumb-as-rocks-sloped-forehead-pro-GM-Neanderthal-retail buyers hoping that just maybe THIS time GM got it right.

  • avatar
    SV

    So it looks like once all the supply issues go away Toyota and Honda are back on top. Annoying, considering how weak their entries are right now.

    Assuming the supply issues should be gone by now, the new Focus doesn’t seem to be thriving, although it certainly put in a better performance than last month. And Ford did say in their press release that Focus retail sales were up overall, with a 100% increase in California and a 50% rise in New York. So it’s not all bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      So it looks like once all the supply issues go away Toyota and Honda are back on top.

      According to some posters around here, the tsunami had no effect, and that buyers are fleeing the (evil) Japanese for the warm bosom of Detroit. Why do I have a feeling that they’re going to ignore or spin the results?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Pch101: According to some posters around here, the tsunami had no effect, and that buyers are fleeing the (evil) Japanese for the warm bosom of Detroit. Why do I have a feeling that they’re going to ignore or spin the results?

        It would be interesting if we could find out:

        1. If the Focus and Cruze are conquesting sales from other manufacturers;
        2. How many customers are trading in larger vehicles from the same manufacturer on a Focus or Cruze (for example, trading an Explorer on a Focus);
        3. What vehicle people would have bought if the Cruze or revamped Focus were not available.

        My gut feeling is mixed – I agree with you that too many people are quick to proclaim these cars are finally vanquishing the Civic and Corolla, but they are huge improvements over what went before. Enough of an improvement to get buyers’ attention.

        We have a 2005 Focus SE sedan, and it has been a reliable, competent car, but when I test drove the new one this summer, I was shocked at how much of an improvement it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My gut feeling is mixed – I agree with you that too many people are quick to proclaim these cars are finally vanquishing the Civic and Corolla, but they are huge improvements over what went before.

        I would agree that there is probably a combination of factors at work here. If we had the data, I would expect to find:

        -Most of the loss in Toyota and Honda sales were due to supply constraints, but that some sales were lost to the competition (although disproportionately to Hyundai/ Kia, Nissan, and possibly Ford, not so much to GM or Chrysler)

        -The Cruze gains are largely a combination of benefiting from an overall increase in the size of the market, robust fleet sales, and cannibalization of the Malibu. The conquest rate of transplants is probably better than it has been historically, but not nearly as high as the fanboys would believe it to be.

        As we don’t have all of the numbers, some of this is speculative. But it should be obvious to anyone who is being objective that supply constraints were an issue for Toyota and Honda. People are free to dislike the cars if they wish, but simply manufacturing “facts” out of whole cloth in order to spin a falsehood is not impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Pch101, that all sounds logical to me.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Annoying, considering how weak their entries are right now.”

      I tend to agree, but reliability, low cost of ownership, resale value, and fuel economy are not weak attributes for most car shoppers, and the Toyondas still have ‘em.

      I don’t think I’d even test drive them if I were shopping here, but for many buyers steering feel, optimized ride/handling balance, soft-touch dashboards, and DSG transmissions are not even on the radar.

      Right off the bat the Focus and 3 have two practical strikes against them: cramped backseat, small trunk. That’s enough to send some mainstream shoppers elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar

        And in many cases things like DSG transmission are a minus. As yet unproven reliability, potentially expensive repairs/service, harsh shifts…for what? A car that can shift quickly for the two times you drive it in manual mode? Useless.

        As of yet, I’ve no interest in a DSG-equipped car. Give me a stick or just give me an automatic that will be reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        While I do agree that a DSG-type transmission is a minus, I feel the same way about conventional automatics too.

        Automakers are going towards the DSG and CVTs not because they shift faster, but because they ARE more efficient than conventional torque-converter transmissions. And probably cheaper than the 6 and 7 speed varieties of such. But no matter how well any sort of automatic does on the fake test cycles, in the real world I believe a manual can ALWAYS beat them given decent gearing. And will CERTAINLY beat them in long-term ownership costs.

        As I have often said, I can change a clutch in my garage for a few hundred bucks, but I can’t rebuild an automatic on my dining room table.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      SV writes:

      “So it looks like once all the supply issues go away Toyota and Honda are back on top. Annoying, considering how weak their entries are right now.”

      Free oil changes every 10k or whatever the Toyota service interval is can’t hurt. The fact is the Corolla is old old old – but it’s proven reliable. Will the Cruze be free of the intermediate shaft clunk and other stupid GM issues? Will the Cruze cruse for 150k more or less major trouble free miles like the Cobalt did but without the disintegration of the interior that the last x generations of GM cars are known for?

      If GM puts out a good performance with the Cruze it might be a Very Bad Thing for Toyota.

      If Honda can reclaim the sporty yet smooth not quite zoom zoom sensibility it was known for the civic might continue to do well…if not same as Toyota…

      As to the Focus – lets give it a while to get up to speed…the Consumers Reports news was of little help I think…

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Agreed; the new Focus is still getting up to speed. I think sales will continue to improve until it’s posting solid gains over the old one. Of course there’s also the factor that Ford may be significantly dropping fleet sales with the new one, at the expense of overall numbers; retail Focus sales WERE up this month, according to their press release, but fleet deliveries were down enough to make the overall number flat, and if that trend continues the new Focus’s performance may look less than impressive even if it’s actually doing very well for Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        SV:

        The other elephant in the room – what are the transactional prices for the various cars? IIRC, the Focus is going out the door at near sticker pricing; if FoMoCo has reduced fleet sales, and increased retail, the Focus may be making way more profit at the lower numbers than the Corolla or Cruze are for their respective makers.

        And I’ll agree on the new Focus; in comaprison with our loaded 05 ZX5 SES the new one is noticeably better – well worth the extra money, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Well, it takes a long time from brand perception to change. Decades, really. So while I’m really pumped that Ford and GM finally have good entries in the market, I’m not surprised that Toyota and Honda can successfully coast for a while. Especially when the weakness is more or less inferior interiors, it’s going to be a long time for the brand perception to catch up to the current reality. Since the domestics benefited from decades of brand inertia, it’s only fair they have to fight it to get back on top.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    You know the Insight is an epic flop when it’s beat out by the xB, Lancer, and Caliber.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Yeah, the Insight is quite the stinker. It’s cheap for a hybrid…but it’s also…cheap.

      Fully cognizant of Toyota/Honda’s production woes working in Chevy’s favor, I still consider the success of the Cruze -rising from the ashes of the Cobalt – a huge achievement. Chevy has shown that in the partial vacuum made by the Corolla/Civic shortage, they can come in with a compact that people want to buy just as much as those stalwarts.

      But I can’t say it enough. Chevy cannot rest on its laurels. The Cruze HAS to get better year after year, or it won’t be at or near the top for long.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        +1. A friend bought a Cruze 1.4T RS and it’s a very nice car – well-built and comfortable. Any comparisons I or others may have made to the Cavalier/Cobalt were mistaken.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        Phillydlj writes

        “So it looks like once all the supply issues go away Toyota and Honda are back on top. Annoying, considering how weak their entries are right now.”

        Agree 100%.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Japan Inc’s production woes should not be over-stated. Toyota and Honda were already experiencing downturns long before the earthquake in March. Nissan and Mazda were able to bounce back, why not the two juggernauts?
        While everyone is so busy patting GM on the back for making the Cruze noticeably better than its predecessor, one cannot overlook the fact that without Pontiac’s noose around Chevrolet’s neck, the development and advertising dollars are finally up to par. I see the Cruze billboards and ads everywhere! The Cobalt and G5/Pursuit had to split everything.
        I wonder how many sales GM lost over the years when a customer drove the front-runner Cavalier, but left the dealership to look at the Sunfire, then bought an import. GM was fighting itself for decades. Rule #1 in the sales game: you never want the customer to leave the show room to check out the competition – even if that competition is the same company, different brand!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The reverse is true: how much of an epic flop is the Caliber and Lancer that they can’t outsell an also-ran hybrid?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Caliber is old and ignored. I had to ask a friend a few weeks ago if Chrysler still sells it. He is a Chrysler fan, and even he didn’t immediately know. The car receives no advertising support.

        As for Mitsubishi, I believe the one dealer in this area went out of business.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I can’t believe the Sentra is still selling in these numbers. But maybe that is explained by the seemingly endless examples that I see in rental lots across the country.

  • avatar
    plunk10

    How is the Sentra doing so great? They haven’t redesigned that car in years.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      It’s got great interior volume, good fuel economy, conservative sedan styling and isn’t expensive. I don’t see why it shouldn’t sell well.

      I rented one of these a few years ago, and, even with the CVT, I thought that it was a fine transportation module.

      There are still buyers who don’t give a hoot about ‘soft touch plastics’, dual clutch trannies or direct injection turbos. The Sentra provides much of what people need. Personally, I would buy a Focus or Mazda3 because I like livelier handling and a hatch, but not everybody shares my enthusiasm for these things.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Nissan has positioned itself very well to take advantage of Honda and Toyota’s production woes. Which is to say they put a bunch of cash on the hood and ran a bunch of ads that essentially state “We’re Japanese and we have cars!”

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I rented one September. The Sentra is cheap, but it offers acceptable seat comfort, lots of interior room, acceptable steering feel, and ok ride quality. Not great, but not infuriatingly bad like the Cavalier and to a lesser extent the Cobalt were.

      In contrast to the Cobalt, the Chevrolet Cruze is a serious contender that a reasonable consumer might prefer over a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. The Cruze looks more upscale than it’s Japanese rivals while offering room for 4 adults and their carry on luggage.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        The one thing I keep wondering is why people keep complaining the Civic getting too big and yet praise the Cruze being bigger than the Civic. Exactly which way should it be?

      • 0 avatar

        wsn, I haven’t heard of that complaint yet, too big? It stayed the same size…

        What does bother me is people complaining about how it got lighter/cheaper.

        People on this forum endlessly whine and whinge about how cars are so heavy these days, we need to back to the basics, blah blah blah, and when Honda presents them with an impossibly light, basic (note the lack of turbos, etc) car everyone hounds them for it being awful.

        Than we see the Cruze, which is heavy, and pretty much what everyone on these forums complains about, and the general consensus is that it is good.

        I don’t care if you complain, just pick a side!

    • 0 avatar
      MusicMachine

      I was wondering the same thing: ‘Why has the Sentra’s sales increased?’ Dose anyone have some hard data on this?

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        The answer is fleet sales. I’ve been on the road a lot lately and rental lots are overflowing with Sentras, Calibers and Corollas. Whatever has become unsaleable to the public usually shows up in rental fleets.

        I did rent the Sentra last week and it was well below average. The suspension is vague but not comfortable. On the roads around Philly it was bouncy and not at all confidence inspiring. The engine could at best be described as agricultural and, while the fuel economy is good, the ergonomics are not. The right driver HVAC vent is way to close to the steering wheel that all you get is cold fingers if turn on the AC. There are much better cars for this kind of money.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Redesigns are not all they are cracked up to be. If a vehicle does the job well and can be sold at the right price, people will keep buying it for a long time.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I visited the local Honda lot last week… the lack of Civics is visually stunning. But I am seeing more and more of them on the street now. The Elantra had a big splash when it first started shipping, and annecdotally, I’d say it’s been a steady increase since then. But I’ll say it again… I hope GM realizes how much of an opportunity they have this year with the Cruze, something that could set the stage for a product cycle or two.

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    stuntmonkey said

    “I hope GM realizes how much of an opportunity they have this year with the Cruze, something that could set the stage for a product cycle or two.”

    The 3 series wasn’t built in a generation…

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I think what stuntmonkey was saying is that there is a huge oportunity to keep customers coming back now that there is a large influx of (presumably) the competition’s customers buying Cruzes. If they keep the model fresh with updates each year or 2 at most, they can cement the Cruze as a valid option and start its good reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        Whats the 3 series known for? Steady evolution perhaps? Refinement year after year. Breaking down to the tune of 1999.99 a pop after the warranty expires as well, but hey that’s another issue.

        GM has an opportunity to make sales with Hyundai’s production limits and Toyota/Honda’s various issues. VW is selling quite a few Jeti BTW.

        5 years from now if that ’11 or 12 Jetta or Cruze is doing ok for (friend/relative/guy at work/hairdresser/whomever) and they say they like it (everyone likes their NEW car else they are idiots to have bought it but after 5 years the truth comes out) and it’s still a well liked ride well that will help drive additional sales.

        I think that dynamic will hurt VW and help GM. I think Fords initial troubles with electronics and CVT will be worked out by mid ’12 models unless system redesign is required – unlikely given the role SW plays in modern products of all types.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    I’d love to know how many Cruze sales came from potential Malibu customers. Seeing how many Cobalts were sold this time last year would also give a better picture of the gains Chevy’s made in this segment.
    It’s a competitive product, there’s far more parity in fleet sales than their used to be. I certainly see a lot of them on the road, no doubt a result of the major marketing push over the past year. But nobody who otherwise bought a $20,000 Civic EX is buying a $24,000 Cruze LTZ.

    Those flatline Focus numbers are interesting. For all the hype, it’s not selling any better than last year’s turd. Maybe it has more pressure from above and below with the Fiesta and Fusion. Or maybe Joe Schmo doesn’t care about fancy Euro handling and hatchback body styles and just wants an econobox that lets him talk to his iPod. To wit, most of the new Focuses I’ve seen are of the plastic hubcap variety.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      To be fair to Ford I suspect they are making more profit per unit sold (with less fleet sales and a much higher ATP). So steady volume is OK for them from a financial perspective. I agree with you that most Foci I have seen have been the SE model.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’d like to know what proportion of Focus and Cruze sales are of higher trim levels. An MSRP above $19-20K for a compact sedan is getting expensive, and will likely weed out any buyers that simply want an efficient commuter, leaving you only with those who actually want a small car. Don’t know how large that clientele is, but it was pretty small in the past.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        I think above that price threshold, these are just cannibalizing larger cars. Buyer walks into look at a Malibu and sees the leather and other fancy crap in the Cruze for the same money and buys it instead. And in a couple years once the newness wears off and the new Malibu and Fusion debut, that trend may flip.

        I remember 15 years ago, trying to talk my dad, cheapskate that he was, into buying a Corolla LE so the family wouldn’t have to suffer through another one of the bargain-basement Camcords he was so fond of. He said “Why the heck would I pay the same money for a smaller, slower car just so I can have electric windows? That’s stupid.” Years later, prices and MPG being relatively equal, I’m inclined to agree.

      • 0 avatar

        5 month ago I went car shopping and test drove the 2012 Focus, it was hard to choose any model less than SEL hatch, the simple models look much less appealing but I wasn’t ready to spend that much on a car with a questionable AT so I took a Mazda3 hatch for a much better deal.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        A 2012 Focus SE with cruise, Sirius, Sync, and alloys and automatic (a pretty common set of options for someone to buy) goes for around $21,500. The same options on a 2011 Focus would have been around $18,000, and then there would have been a $3,000 rebate or thereabouts on top of it. Even without loading up with leather, auto-park, nav, etc, the transaction prices are a lot higher on the new Focus than they were on the old one.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        The Focus’s average transaction price is up over $5000 versus the 2011.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/whats-in-a-name/

        Retail sales were also up this month (less fleet sales), so Ford’s definitely making more money.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      I have a feeling that the Cruze is cannibalizing Malibu sales, but the opposite is happening at Ford where the Fusion is cannibalizing Focus sales. In both instances, because of pricing.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Ford must be disappointed considering little momentum with the new Focus. Add too those soft Fiesta sales. Should you visit your Ford store you’ll find others are offering better incentives e.g. Sentra. But then Sentra doesn’t offer a hatch and the sport Sentra don’t even do 60/40 with the back seat. Perhaps too, the-cats-out-of-the-bag for Ford on dual-clutch?

    Why have Sentra sales increased? Mexican labor = discounting. The Versa does not do better mileage than the Sentra SER.

    Civic assembled in canuck WTF/CANADIAN – nuff said.

    Seems VW parts masochists chance Jetta over Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Both Focus and Fiesta have automatic transmission shift problems. Continued issues with Sync when so equipped have also p’d off a lot of new owners. Word gets around.

      What is amazing is how well the Cruze is doing but that is probably due to including fleet sales which will saturate the used market in 12-18 months.

  • avatar
    eldard

    The return of the CorVic’s dominance proves once again the delusions of Detroit fans. lolz

    • 0 avatar
      jogrd

      I remember growing up my Dad was a big Valiant fan. Sturdy and dependable but hopelessly boring and stodgy. The Corolla of its day. I grew up always owning Civics and Toyotas which are probably to my kids not unlike the Valiant that I was shuffled around in. I bought a Ford this time and it’s fine. I love Sync and have had zero problems with it. I have already noticed that the service schedule doesn’t call to rebuild half the car and call it maintainance as Honda did with my Civics.

      Not knocking Honda quality as most of mine were great but I have trouble believing anyone who has had a Civic and hasn’t had igniter, distibuter or exhaust problems a few times over the life of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        jogrd, I am surprised by your comments about the Civic since I have a friend in Los Angeles, City of Industry, California, who owns 30 Civics of different vintages for his business.

        Many of those Civics have well over 150,000 miles on them from every-day use and they are run around the clock by different drivers.

        Aside from tires, timing belts and oil and filter changes they haven’t had any problems to speak of, unless they were involved in a collision or other accident.

        He likes to sell them around the 200,000-mile point at which time he sells them to Mexican nationals who haul them south to Mexico where they continue to do duty as daily drivers for somebody.

        It is ironic that he started out using Ford and Chevy vehicles years ago and switched over to buying Honda because he had so many breakdowns with the Fords and Chevies.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’m not sure what an igniter is, but the R series(2005-current DX, LX, and EX) and K series(2002-current Si) engines used in Civics have neither distributors nor timing belts. The maintenance requirements are as few as any car I’ve seen, although they are more frequent than certain cars that are only meant to out last their warranty periods.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        Of course a new Ford will seem nicer than an old Honda at first. But just wait until the flux capacitor goes.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        As CJinSD will shortly point out, Hondas don’t have flux capacitors so they will surely be more reliable.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It’s actually a good thing that the Cruze hasn’t overwhelming flattened the CorVic. If it had, GM has a long history of sitting back and resting on its laurels with a success to the point that it’s no longer viable. Toyota and Honda didn’t get into a leadership position overnight. They were relentless in maintaining a quality (albeit boring) product that, with minimal maintenance, would last hundreds of thousands of miles.

    In short, here’s hoping GM doesn’t follow the usual, typical GM practice of blowing it once they get a decent product to market. The last time they had a small car anything like the Cruze was the Saturn SL, and everyone knows how that panned out.

    Ironically, as of late, Toyota and Honda seem to be following GM’s past practice of relaxing and not really putting much effort into the CorVic, figuring they’re ‘good enough’ to maintain superior sales. After a long 4-5 years model cycle, when the new model arrives, it’s been little more than a new grill/tail-lights and lots of decontenting/cheapening for the same (or higher) price. The recent lackluster Civic refresh, in particular, is evidence of that. However, unlike GM, Honda is embarking on a crash program to rush a better Civic to market in an effort to correct their mistake.

  • avatar
    mjz

    I think the Focus is meeting price resistance in the market. You can easily hit mid $20′s with the mid/upper trim levels. That’s why the Fusion is doing so well this year. I think a lot of potential Focus customers are moving up to the bigger Fusion since they are very closely priced. I see a lot of the lower trim levels of the Cruze (LS) that go for around $18,000. Hardly ever see the base Focus S trim.

  • avatar
    mjz

    For calendar year 2012, the 800 lb gorilla in this segment is going to be the new Dodge Caliber sedan replacement. Chrysler has traditionally been strong in the past in this segment, and the new Dodge (Hornet? Rebel? Neon?) sedan looks pretty good in the few spy photos that have leaked out.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I agree that the big problem Ford has with new Focus and the Fiesta is the price point. Ford is trying to sell a “premium” small car, but needs to hold on to its lower price paying customer. The new Focus will never go out the door at the prices of the older model, and that is a problem. Part of the profit on the newer small cars is due to the assembly in Mexico. I wonder how the USA assembly of Chevy Sonic and Cruze iw impacting their bottom line. Price seems to rule in this current market. I note how the ancient Impala keeps putting up impressive sales numbers, especially compared to the newer Malibu. I guess a lower price per pound resonates with the Chevy/GM customer

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    It would be interesting to see how the urban/suburban divide shapes up for the Focus. My bet is that it’s got better penetration in areas with higher density and narrower streets. I can see the resistance to paying for a premium for a small car in the burbs where lanes are a mile wide and there are cheaper alternatives.

    However, my feeling is that no matter how much we want them, it’s just not the economy for a premium small car… at least not as the bedrock of a product line. They took a volume product and pushed the price up… hopefully increasing their margins along the way… but they could end up contracting their volume. End result could be the same revenue on a smaller base… that’s not just a good thing for a volume producer. It’s what Audi did when they headed for the hills during the sea-change from Audi 90/100 to the A4/A6 era. It only makes sense if you can’t meet volume… Ford can’t do that. They have to be a volume player, their infrastructure is based on volume.

    I think Honda had it right in the 90′s before a number of things gimped it up… build a volume Civic and then produce the upscale Integra cousin on the same platform. What Ford has done is to basically replace the their ‘Civic’ line with an ‘Integra’ line… potentially not working. Yes, you could argue that buyers could opt for the less spec’d version, but I think what is happening is showing the worth of having differentiated premium and volume name plates… it’s not to enhance your high end offerings, it’s to maintain the base of the lower end.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      I think Ford made a huge mistake by eliminating Mercury, as Mercury versions of the Fiesta and Focus could have had more premium positioning (like the Titanium trim line), with the Ford versions aimed at their more traditional, lower priced, high volume segment of the market. Instead, it seems that a lot of potential Fiesta/Focus buyers are experiencing sticker shock when checking out the new Fords. While I understand Ford’s desire for higher margins, they could have accomplished the same results, and saved Lincoln-Mercury dealers a slow, painful death due to a lack os sales volume because of the elimination of the Mercury brand.

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil

      I agree that Mercury should still be here. The high content cars could be there; for those who want a sporting, loaded small car (like me). I like automatic high beams and windshiled washers, heated and cooled seats, fancy suspensions, in a very small car. Then Ford could concentrate on cost cutting of base models. If Nissan can build a base $10,000 car, so should ford. Honda did it with the old civic/ integra proposition, they sold a boatload of both. Not everyone is willing to pay for all the content. Thats why the sentra is popular. Cheap, inoffensive. These days, seems that ford, etc are after the bling money, forgetting the basic needs of transportation.

      For myself, i look at GTI’s, Mini cooper, now Fiat 500. I dearly love the Mustang, but its not a sports car in spite what anyone says. It’s an american old school grand tourer. Nice, but not a canyon carver. Sigh. Perhaps a reincarnated Capri mustang clone, with a peaky 4 cyl turbo motor, better suspended. Oh well.

  • avatar
    jogrd

    I’ve had enough of an education in statistics to understand that I represent a very small sample against the large population of satisfied Honda owners. A few $800 ignition jobs notwithstanding, I had pretty good luck with Hondas though not as good as everyone else I know, including the friend who is on the third transmission in his Odyssey but has “never had a problem with it.”

    But my poorly explained point remains. The Valiant was probably one of the most reliable cars of its era until the vastly superior Accord came along and redefined the game. Now the Koreans for sure, and maybe even Detroit (though even I’ll admit I hedged my bet with an extended warranty) may be about to do the Corolla what the Accord did to the Valiant.

    Didn’t the Japanese companies concede defeat on televisions last week? Not something that seemed likely 15 years ago.

    Anf fortunately my Dad tried the unknown Tercel rather than the Valiant’s successor the Volare.

  • avatar

    iPhone with 4% market share has a 50% share of profits in smart-phone market. Which company is in better shape Apple or Nokia? I would consider rather share of profits in compact car market rather than meaningless market-share.

    • 0 avatar
      eldard

      You talk as if compact cars are high end smart phones. They’re not. They’re cheap phones with #hitty cameras. As for expensive cars, Daimler rules that market.

      • 0 avatar

        Shouldn’t compact cars bring profits too? And I am not sure that Daimler makes 52% of profits in luxury car market with only 4% of market share.

        Regarding smartphones I was talking about only smartphones. Which means – Apple makes 52% off all profits in SMARTPHONE market alone while having only 4.2% market share in smartphone market only. It does not include dumb phones. It means also that Nokia and other 95.8% who make remaining 48% of profits are in about smartphone only market. If you did not see Nokia smartphones, as well as Blackberry, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Toshiba, Sharp and others – go and check them out – they are not cheap and crappy phones – they have big screens, good cameras and powerful CPUs with lot of memory and high end OS like Android or Win7. Many of they have better HW than iPhone.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        I doubt if compact cars bring the profits especially so if you only have one model that sells. GM makes profits from trucks.

      • 0 avatar

        If compact cars are not profitable then they are unprofitable and and then achieving highest market share is to the detriment of the company. In this case Toyota and Honda must be losers if they command highest market share selling most unprofitable base trims and Ford and GM are doing better having less market share but selling higher trim and therefore losing less money. In so called free world companies are competing to lose more money.

  • avatar
    th009

    For the premium cars, BMW is in the market share lead (worldwide), with Audi and Daimler close. Others are far, far behind. The three are also highly profitable, with much better gross margins than other premium makers. BMW has traditionally had the best margins though Audi is now ahead as BMW spends money on the new 3-series launch.

    And, yes, the compact models (3-series, A4/A5, C-class) are the biggest money-makers for the three.

    • 0 avatar

      So we must talk about German companies instead of arguing which one of Japanese or American companies are losing more money by having higher market share. Germans figured it out (how to design and make automobile to highest standard and get make highest net profit doing so).

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        So higher market share = no profits?

      • 0 avatar

        Well reality is not B&W. But Apple’s example shows that market share is not as important as gross margins. I wonder why people care so much and ready to kill each other for market share but totally ignore profits. GM had a lot of market share but nevertheless went bankrupt. Look Sony makes every imaginable electronic device but still for several years is in red, while Apple makes only several products but all are world leaders in their class. Unfortunately Detroit followed Sony’s way of making cheap low margin commodities when it had the potential to be a world leader like Apple.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        Not every manufacturer can become a low volume, high margin seller. Not everyone will be able to afford a high end product. The Germans cemented their positions a century ago. The market for volume goods will continue to exist. And there will always be companies ready to suck the money from that market.


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