By on January 21, 2016

2015 Toyota Camry

The streak began in 2002 and remains unbroken. Yes, 2002, which began with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and ended after George W. Bush’s GOP was strengthened during the first mid-term elections of his presidency.

The Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car. And the Camry has topped the best-selling cars leaderboard every year since.

In 2015, the Camry’s lead over the second-ranked car grew to 66,000 units from 40,000 in 2014. As U.S. passenger car volume declined in a record-setting year for the auto industry, the Toyota Camry’s sales did not. As midsize car sales slid 2 percent, U.S. Camry volume increased to the highest level seen of America’s most popular car in seven years.

Threats to the Camry’s supremacy in 2016? They stand shoulder to shoulder with the Camry inside Toyota’s own showrooms. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2015

2015 Honda Civic Concept

Now it can be told: Perhaps the most cringe-worthy moment of my life was my own “Affluenza” episode, otherwise known as “The Time I Wrote A Poem About Not Getting A BMW 2002 For Christmas.”

I was eighteen years old and busy failing to fulfill my potential at university. I was already on my second car, the infamous Red Marquis, having unceremoniously crashed my 200SX on my first unsupervised day as a temporary-license holder. During one of our brief telephone conversations that fall, my father asked me some questions about “old BMWs,” with particular focus on the 2002. My fevered imagination had grasped that straw and run with it until I was honestly surprised to get two sweaters and a couple of shirts on the blessed morning of the 25th.

I went back to school early so I could mope in private and write a poem about it, the worst couplets of which I’ve retrieved from memory for your amusement:

(Read More…)

By on October 16, 2015

1994 M3 E36 GT. Picture courtesy BMW

I recently started to think about automotive over styling. This is because many of today’s cars are styled to the point where you wonder if they had some contractual obligation with the supplier to put in as many unnecessary curves and creases as humanly possible.

This all got started when I walked by an E36 BMW 3 Series a few weeks ago. That is a handsome car. It has clean lines, and clean panels, and virtually no unnecessary curves or surfaces or trim. The thing is all purpose, all business, and somehow it still manages to be beautiful. I love it.

(Read More…)

By on June 6, 2015

USA midsize car sales chart May 2015

Through the first five months of 2015, the Toyota Camry opened up a lead of nearly 36,000 units over the Nissan Altima in the race to end the year as America’s best-selling midsize car.

Aside from popularity, the Camry and Altima – as well as nearly every intermediate car on the market – share another factor in common: their sales are declining. (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2015

2015 Toyota Camry XSE red

U.S. sales of midsize cars tumbled 7% during the month of April and are down 4% through the first four months of 2015.

On the whole, America’s appetite for passenger cars is in decline. Overall demand for cars is slightly south of flat in the early part of this year even as the auto industry posted 5% year-over-year expansion between January and April.

As more American car buyers become buyers of small and midsize utility vehicles, the vehicle groups most obviously paying the price are family sedans. The Toyota Corolla-led compact car category, for instance, is up 7% this year. But Chevrolet Impala-class cars have fallen 13% and the segment up for discussion has lost nearly 30,000 sales in the first third of the year. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2015

2015 Ford Mustang GT dirt road

The U.S. auto industry was projected to make 6% gains in April 2015, an increase that would have produced at least 80,000 more April sales this year than in April 2014.

Instead, April 2015 auto sales grew by less than 5%, and the industry’s volume improved by around 64,000 units. Auto sales are healthy, but why weren’t they quite as healthy last month as anticipated?

There are hundreds of factors to consider, from Bob realizing that new patio furniture was more important than a new Ram EcoDiesel, to the decreased demand for certain aging models. But if one vehicle category needed to accept blame, it would be passenger cars.  (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2015

2015 Ford F-150After an especially strong start to 2015, Ford F-Series volume failed to increase in the United States in the second month of the year. The F-Series was outsold by GM’s full-size twins in February 2015, just as it was in the final five months of 2014. Through the first two months of 2015, however, the F-Series isn’t just America’s best-selling vehicle line, it’s also ahead of the GM twins.

Slightly.

By 327 units.

It’ll be the race to watch in 2015, not because there’s any real possibility of the F-Series being unseated – the Silverado would need to outsell the F-Series by an average of 2811 units in each of 2015’s remaining ten months to take the top spot by year’s end – but because 2015 is a major year for Ford’s truck line. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2015

U.S. midsize car sales chart January 2015America’s five top-selling midsize cars have held an iron-fisted grip on their category for years, making it very difficult for interlopers to succeed in any meaningful way.


• Sonata & Malibu knocked out of January’s top five

• Midsize cars up 5.5% in January

• Top five own 69% of midsize market


Yet after earning more than seven out of every ten midsize sales in 2009 and 2010 – when the top five included the Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, and Malibu – the top five’s market share slid to 67% in 2011 and 64% in 2012. In 2011, the Hyundai Sonata supplanted the Chevrolet Malibu in the top five and didn’t let go in 2012, 2013, or 2014.

But then a return to the norm began, as the top quintuplet’s share grew to 66% in 2013 and 69% in 2014.

2015 started off similarly.

(Read More…)

By on January 28, 2015

 

2006 FORD FUSION

(photo courtesy: autoopinion.blogspot.com/)

Casey writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I love your column! Anyway long story short I’m an idiot. When I met my wife she had a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that was in ROUGH shape inside and out, cosmetically and mechanically. She liked her truck though and it worked for us for a few years. Recently we (I) was tired of it. So I traded it in on a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6. It’s a beautiful car, black on black, lots of power and nice ride. I paid $7,200 for it with 108,000 miles.

The problem is, only about 5 months into ownership and 4,000 miles later several issues have revealed themselves. (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2015

2015 Toyota Camry XSE blue crush metallicThe Camry connoisseur, if there is such a thing, would spot the difference.

Unlike some well-known TTAC authors who don’t hide their Camry admiration, I wasn’t on board the Camry love boat. The last SE I drove disappointed me with unimpressive efficiency figures, an interior in need of polish, and an overall sensation of obsolescence. And it was in fact obsolete, as Toyota Canada delivered a Camry Hybrid SE to my driveway in October 2014 when the refreshed 2015 car was already a thing.


• USD Base Price: $27,725

• Horsepower: 268 @ 6200 rpm

• Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 19.3 mpg


Nevertheless, I’ll readily admit I appreciate that Toyota finally located the Camry’s sense of style. When this particular car pulled up in front of our house, I noticed right off the bat that it was an XSE, a trim level Toyota introduced for 2015 to combine XLE luxury with the SE’s sporting intentions. The Blue Crush Metallic also represents top-notch taste.

While it’s my job and I do my best and I take a measure of pride in these things, I didn’t notice key signifiers: twin tailpipes. Granted, Blue Crush arrived on Monday, January 5, the busiest work day of the year for a sales-oriented auto writer like myself. I backed the car into our driveway, refusing to take time out of my busy schedule for an unnecessary late night Volkswagen GTI-like drive to the grocery store. “It’s not like it has a V6,” I muttered. (Read More…)

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