By on June 2, 2009

Gosh that sounds bad, doesn’t it? Honda’s silver lining is (sorta) legit though, since the big H set an all-time sales record in May 2008. Toyota has no such excuse. Besides, falling sales are salling sales. So let’s put the lipstick away, and take a good, hard look at this pig.

Honda’s stats reflect the steep declines in car sales (-47.6) and shallower drop in truck sales (21.2) we’re seeing elsewhere. Acura (-34) also did better month-on-month than the Honda brand (-39.7). Of course this means that Accord and Civic were way down, clocking-in at -46.3 percent and -59.6 percent respectively. Honda’s new Insight hybrid had a relatively strong showing, however, with 2,780 moving off the lot last month. The Honda Odyssey (-2.9 percent) and Pilot (-8.9 percent) were relatively steady, with the Element (-46.7) and Ridgeline (-56.6) leading truck declines. Acura’s best performers were TL (-18.4) and RDX (-23.8).

Toyota’s core brand also did worse than its Lexus luxury brand, which fell 33.9 percent to Toyota’s 39 percent drop. There wasn’t as much discrepancy between cars and trucks for ToMoCo though, with cars falling 37.6 percent and trucks down 38.3 percent. Meanwhile, all Scion models have seen sales drop by at least 50 percent since last year. The box-fresh Venza sold 4,745 units in one of its first sales months, while the Lexus GS sold just 516.

Otherwise, Toyota and Lexus passenger vehicles saw sales fall between 32.2 percent (Corolla) and 62 percent (Lexus SC). On the “truck” front, the RAV-4 and Lexus RX stayed strong-ish with “only” 14.4 percent and 9.7 percent drops in sales respectively. The 4Runner is falling off badly with a 60 percent drop. Land Cruiser, FJ Cruiser and Tundra aren’t far behind, with sales of all three down by over 50 percent.

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65 Comments on “Honda Dives 39.2 Percent, Toyota Down 38.4 Percent...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    Thus far Ford is winning the least decline in monthly sales award.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    I think what you’re seeing from Toyota and Honda is their willingness to wait this out and not deeply discount. Time will tell if this is a good idea or not.

    Prius is back up to more than 10,000 this month; to forestall the inevitable comment in a day or two that hybrid sales have ‘tanked’.

  • avatar

    Toyota’s ‘heavy metal’ such as the Tundra is very weak.
    Can we conclude that the Tundra project has failed? And why exactly?

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Bring on the deep discounts. I could go for a Civic Si Coupe if I can get it for 17k.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    According to AN (best sales data) the decline for Toyota was 40.7% and Honda was 41.5%. GM down 29.0 and Ford 26.4…that’s and apples to apples comparison, not taking the worst of the listings vs. the best like some people (ehhheeemm) do.

    Sorry John Horner, looks like VW (-12.5) and Hyundai (-18.7) “beat” Ford. But, kinda like winning the 100 yard dash at the special olympics, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Just look at gas prices. A year ago, gas was over $4/gallon; now its at 65% of that level. This hands makers of less efficient vehicles a relative sales advantage.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Demetri –

    Same boat here and the money is literally right here waiting for that moment! I can wait.
    As of right now, in my part of the country (SW Ohio), a red Civic Si coupe w/o nav and w/o summer tires is listed on Edmunds at $20334. That’s below invoice and there are no available incentives on the Si. That’s what I’m waiting for…
    Maybe by July they’ll have the incentives to bring it down to the $18.5-19K range. When that happens, odds are good my money will go towards helping reduce that -39.2% figure!

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Good point, Sunnyvale. Small car sales were probably inflated last summer… that partially explains why the Focus went down so much this month.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    TTAC: Please post apples to apples numbers when posting your sensational sales headlines. Don’t use different sales stats for Domestics vs. Japan Inc. It really doesn’t look good for the “Truth” part of your site’s name, or your self-proclaimed neutrality.

    For all those who don’t realize, TTAC tends to post “worst looking” figures for Domestics and “best looking” figures for youknowho…

    ANYHOO this month TTAC chose to post the %decline in total monthly sales for the Domestics, and the %decline DSR for the chosen ones. Granted they all suck so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

    To do a true apples-apples comparison go here: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/06/02/by-the-numbers-may-2009-gm-and-ford-surprise-edition/

  • avatar
    PJungnitsch

    [i]Toyota’s ‘heavy metal’ such as the Tundra is very weak.[/i]

    All pickup sales are very weak, heavy metal, light metal, you name it. Ford full size down 40%, Ranger 43%. GM full size also down 40%, Colorado down 47%. Tacoma down 38%.

    Tundra is down only slightly more, not bad considering it is not getting near the discounting, ie F150s and Rams advertised at $8000 off from the factory.

  • avatar
    26theone

    They still didnt beat out the trucks. Getting close though…..

    Vehicle May 2009 sales
    1. Ford F-series 33,381
    2. Chevrolet Silverado 31,463
    3. Toyota Camry/Solara 31,325
    4. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 23,576
    5. Honda Accord 22,597
    6. Honda Civic 20,723
    7. Ford Fusion 19,786
    8. Chevrolet Impala 18,709
    9. Nissan Altima 18,408
    10. Ford Escape 16,391
    Source: Autodata Corp.

  • avatar
    Mark45

    Around here Toyota has been advertising the Camry at $4000 off and the Tundra at $4700 off.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Keep in mind that credit was easier to come by last year, gasoline prices were higher and people weren’t yet concerned about their future employment. It was the best of times for Toyonda.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Why doesn’t anyone see that Toyota is now where gm was in the early seventies. ALL empires decline eventually. China and India are going to come in and kick everyone’s ass down the road. If I hadn’t already lost my shirt in the stock market, I’d be buying up shares in Tata.

  • avatar

    @ commando1:

    That point has been made rather frequently on this blog. Once Chrysler and GM wind their operations down over the next several years, eventually going into Chapter 7, it will no longer be enough for Toyota to rest on their perceived reputation for quality and churn out millions of boring-ass, soul-less cars.

  • avatar
    AndrewDederer

    TTAC doesn’t use sales days for any maker golf4me, just month to month (they say this often enough, but no one’s mentioned it this time.

    Now for some real A2A comparisons (which you’d have to surf the archeives for), that 39.2% down for Honda is from a record month (which was up about 8% over their 2 years ago in a “16 million market” number). 40% down is just about following the market. The big 3 (and Toyota mostly in trucks) were already WAY down this time last year. Add the 2-year reductions together and it’s over 50 percent (that is they are shrinking faster than the market).

    If you want apples to apples “who is fading faster” numbers, wait for September, that’s when the credit issue had hit everyone.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    andrew…look at the charts on the link! I agree with all else you said, just pointing out the somewhat slanted reporting here…

  • avatar
    KixStart

    M1EK,

    I believe you’re right. I looked at Edmunds. GM cars are selling close to invoice; Toyotas get a decent margin. GM cars have cash on the hood, Toyotas don’t. If they wanted to move the metal, TOyota could do so. I didn’t check Honda but I’d expect the same.

    It seems to me that this also protects TOyota resale value. As a consumer, I appreciate that.

    I also listened to the GM conference call… fleet sales are doing well at GM.

  • avatar
    niky

    @Andrew: True…

    It’s been bugging me for some time, how misleading these sales drop figures are… simply because we’re looking at drops from a banner year to a recession year…

    Of course, month-to-month drops might not be any more accurate, as they’re still affected by seasonal buying.

    Numbers don’t lie… but you can get them to suggest many different things.

  • avatar
    RobertSD

    @ M1EK and KixStart –

    Incentive spend at Honda is at an all-time record. Toyota’s is almost at an all-time record, both exceeded last month’s spending – I don’t think they’re holding anything back. Camrys around here are being advertised for $4-6k off depending on the model. I have never seen that before.

    I would guess, and I could be completely wrong, that part of Honda and Toyota’s poor performance has to do with the sad state of the Golden State. Toyota claims nearly 30% of CA’s marketshare and CA is normally about 1/8th of the total car market. I would suspect that CA’s total sales are off by more than those in other states because of the extreme fiscal and housing problems here. Honda is in a similar situation where their marketshare far exceeds that of the rest of the nation. People who are still shopping are defecting to Hyundai in fairly large numbers.

    Meanwhile, while the state of Michigan is sucking it up, other states that still tilt GM/Ford/Chrysler like Texas, parts of the South and parts of the Midwest aren’t being hit AS hard. I wonder if anyone has looked at regional factors to try and figure some of this out…

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    “Credit? We don’t need no stinkin’ credit.”

    Turns out all car makers would like customers to have easily available credit.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Toyota – with a lineup of Tundra (total failure, they cancelled the diesel engine project), Camry (ugliest car in production with a lousy interior), Corolla (not a bad car, but overpriced and maybe fifth choice), and Yaris (why make fun of the Aveo, the Yaris is at least as bad), I have to conclude Toyota is going to fail.
    Why have a GM death watch. GM cars are far better priced and more appealing than Toyota cars. GM is closing all excess capacity, so its cars can be priced even lower. Toyota is maintaining its excess capacity, paralyzed into thinking the marked is going back to 16 millions cars. Until Toyota comes out of its state of denial, it is in for a rocky road financially. They also have a very poor product lineup.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Prius is back up to more than 10,000 this month; to forestall the inevitable comment in a day or two that hybrid sales have ‘tanked’.

    No, but small car sales otherwise are off from their high gas-price inspired highs.

    Doing relatively well: Small SUVs and crossovers, minivans, Prius, luxury cars

    Doing relatively poorly: Pickups, large SUVs, regular small and medium size sedans

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Can we conclude that the Tundra project has failed? And why exactly?

    The same reason the Flex bombed: timing. Both are big, expensive vehicles brought to market when there’s well, no market. Two years ago they’d have sold very well, and two years from now it will likely be selling well again.

    The Tundra is not a bad truck, but it’s not the right product for the times.

    Honestly the choice between half-tons comes down to preference rather than objective advantages. It’s not like, say, the compact truck market where the Taco really is much, much better than the Ranger and Canyonado.

  • avatar
    MikeyDee

    I got my 05 Civic on lease buyback for 12.5K. Put 2K down with 2.5K trade. Best car I’ve ever had for 8K.

  • avatar
    grog

    I agree with all else you said, just pointing out the somewhat slanted reporting here…

    Slanted reporting? Here? I’m shocked, shocked I say. This one wins the Claude Rains Memorial Anti Gambling Awareness Award for the week.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    why make fun of the Aveo, the Yaris is at least as bad

    Having spent a lot of time in both, I’d disagree with this. The Yaris, at least, gets very good mileage and feels moderately fun to drive in hatchback form.

    The Yaris’ problem is that it’s expensive in trim levels above the three-door stripper, and that the sedan sucks compared to the hatch.

    You’d think more enthusiasts would like the car, given that it’s a good two hundred pounds lighter than anything save the Smart Fortwo. But as it turns out, despite our singing the praises of the Geo Metro or mid-eighties Civic, the only modern car that’s comparable gets dissed, often with “why not buy a heavier, larger car that’s only a little bit more”. Turns out we don’t want small and light after all.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Incentive spend at Honda is at an all-time record.

    Incentives at Honda and Toyota are nowhere near the levels of the domestics. Per Edmunds:

    Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) – $4,288
    Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo) – $3,636
    General Motors – $4,063
    Honda (Acura, Honda) – $1,439
    Hyundai (Hyundai, Kia) – $3,591
    Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan) – $2,779
    Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) – $1,648
    Industry Average – $3,031

    http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS139918+01-May-2009+BW20090501

    Honda and Toyota are clearly making an effort to hold the line on incentives, at the expense of sales volumes. Their incentives are below the industry average, and are lower now than what the domestics typically have when times are good.

    It goes to show you how important it is to maintain price points over the long haul in order to maintain long-term profitability.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    “why make fun of the Aveo, the Yaris is at least as bad”

    The Aveo is cheap tiny crap that doesn’t even get good mileage. That’s why.

  • avatar
    MattVA

    Can we conclude that the Tundra project has failed? And why exactly?

    Toyota succeeded with the Camry because the domestic cars that people were driving at the time were pretty crappy and unreliable, thus they had a reason to switch.

    With the Tundra, the domestic trucks people are driving are actually pretty decent, so there’s no reason to switch. Sort of the same reason GM had a hard time selling the Malibu to Camry drivers; it might be a good car, but there’s no reason to switch.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    We have a giant dealership with many brands that still are advertising 2008 Tundras for 6-8K off sticker price. Yup 2008’s! Chalk that one up to another epic fail.

  • avatar
    grog

    For the life of me, I don’t see how GM can sell more Impalas over Malibus.

  • avatar
    86er

    For the life of me, I don’t see how GM can sell more Impalas over Malibus.

    Price is identical, it’s a bigger car (although on an outdated platform), and it’s got the hip and shoulder room sorely lacking in the Malibu.

    The “Impala” moniker can’t hurt, either.

    Oh and don’t forget fleet sales, either.

  • avatar
    rdodger

    Demetri,,

    How bout an 08 Civic SI w/navi, 4door in black for $19,385, brand new.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    With the Tundra, the domestic trucks people are driving are actually pretty decent, so there’s no reason to switch.

    And that is precisely why one should expect Toyota’s truck initiative to need years, not days or months, to succeed.

    It is short-sighted to dismiss the effort to sell trucks just because it isn’t easy. This is precisely why they should do it. If they wish to stay on top over the long run, then they can’t just ignore a hugely popular segment just because it requires a fight. If Toyota has a popular truck and Honda and Hyundai do not, they will ultimately beat them both, while prevailing over the domestics.

    To avoid the fight would be to duplicate the same path-of-least-resistance choice that Detroit made with respect to cars, and you can see what good that did them. Ford is now pushing the Fusion for the same reasons; they now recognize that if an automaker wants to be a successful mainstream player, then large segments are ignored at your peril.

    Ironically, Toyota has been been praised in the past for being forward thinking, by sticking with things long enough to make them work. Now, they’re being condemned in real time for deploying the same strategy here. Well, that is what success looks like before it finally takes, there is no Victory Switch that can be flipped at the drop of a hat.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    grog :
    June 3rd, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    For the life of me, I don’t see how GM can sell more Impalas over Malibus.

    Living with and actually owning both cars answers that question rather quickly
    1) Impala has more interior room
    2) Impala has an 18.6 cu.ft. trunk vs 15.1 for Malibu
    3) Impala comes with 211 HP V6 std vs Malibus 169 HP 2.4 L4 for greater performance and passing power
    4) Impala only rates one less MPG on the road compared to the Malibu and real life driving by yours truly showed the Impala actually delivers better highway MPG
    5) Impala has superior steering at least compared to 4 cylinder Malibus. The electric steering in the Malibu is dull and has proven more troublesome. Mine was in 4 times for multiple steering issues including clunks, loss of electric assist and ISS shaft replacement
    6) Impala offers sporty SS model with a V8 which Malibu does not
    7) Impala has rear seat armrest and overhead assist handles that are not offered on any Malibu model
    8) Malibus one V6 option rates 26 MPG highway vs 29 for the Impalas 3500 and 27 for the larger 3900 V6
    9) Impala typically sells for a bit less and is typically more reliable with time honered parts and chassis
    10) Impala offers 6 passenger seating which the smaller Malibu does not

    Now I will agree that the Malibu does offer some virtues above the older style Impala. It’s revvy twin cam V6 has to be driven to be appreciated. The Impala doesn’t offer a 6 speed transmission option. The Malibu also has a more supple modern feeling ride and handles slighlty better at the limit. The final clinchers on Malibu ownership for me were it’s smaller more shallow trunk, unreliable steering and bang your head everytime you enter low roofline. My 2008 Impala 2LT 3900 is much easier to enter and exit, will carry a 12X9 rolled up piece of linoleum with the rear seat down and the trunk closed whereas the Malibu had the same size piece 2 years ago sticking out the back with the trunk tied down. I’m only 38 years old but am 6′ tall so need a car that is decently big, easy to get in and out of which I do 20 times a day, is reliable and proven and inexpensive to operate. I have seen well over 30 MPG on 3 long highway/thruway trips with the 3900 Impala which is really no worse than the 2.4 in my 2008 Malibu LT. For those reasons mentioned above is why my other half now drives the Malibu as a more in town shorter distance car and the Impala is used for high end work and travel.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    The Battleship Grey Camry has to be one of the ugliest cars of all time. It hurts my eyes more than the school bus yellow Aztec. Rumor has it Godzilla swooped down on Toyota City and raped a prior generation Camry. The evil spawn escaped before Toyota engineers could kill it, it self-reproduced, and is now roaming America.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    rdodger,

    I’ve seen an 09 sedan si without nav for $18,650. I already bought a new car in September, so I certainly don’t need a new car. It’s all about the price; and it better be pretty low if I’m going to take a hit by buying a another car so soon. And if I buy an Si it better be cheaper than I can get a Speed3 for to make me turn a blind eye to turbo power. 08 Speed3s were going for 19k. 18.5 if you have the preferred buyer discount.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Impala is now a very quiet, very good handling car. It is better than a Camry.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    M1EK :
    June 3rd, 2009 at 11:24 am

    “why make fun of the Aveo, the Yaris is at least as bad”

    The Aveo is cheap tiny crap that doesn’t even get good mileage. That’s why.

    The Yaris is cheap tiny crap which is priced higher. So I start out thousands of dollars ahead with the Aveo.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    No, Matt, the Yaris at least gets good mileage. The Aveo gets worse mileage than much bigger cars.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    M1EK – I never said anything about mileage. I said the Yaris is cheap tiny crap which is priced higher, as I was using your crude terminology. So maybe I would prefer to save the cash up front and get worse mileage.
    The point is, Toyota is making cars which have a hard time competing with Daewoo. I just bought a Suzuki Forenza (Daewoo) which has a nicer interior than either a base Camry or a base Corolla. At less than half the price of a new Corolla.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Now look at the review on the Yaris at Edmunds. Turns out the Yaris gets not very good mileage anyway.
    http://blogs.edmunds.com/strategies/2009/05/comparison-test-2009-nissan-cube-s-vs-2009-honda-fit-sport-vs-toyota-yaris-s.html

    3rd Place: 2009 Toyota Yaris S Liftback
    As-tested price: $17,953

    Yaris is only rated at 29/35, think I would take the Aveo at 27/34.

  • avatar
    niky

    While the Yaris has good fuel economy… (all depends on how you drive it… wring out a Yaris or a Fit and they’ll both get less than 30 mpg) that’s about the only thing it has going for it… the Fit is miles better to drive and is actually fun to wring out on a twisting road. The Yaris has the same numbo-jumbo steering as the Corolla and similar body control. Not a very inspiring small car to drive.

    Of course, the Aveo is much, much worse… with the same number of cubes as the Japanese, the Aveo has less oomph and less economy… and it has the handling of a minivan. Truly a terrible engineering effort from Daewoo’s finest.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Yaris is only rated at 29/35, think I would take the Aveo at 27/34.

    Yaris exceeds its EPA ratings by about 20%, Aveo only 4%.

    Comparables out the door puts the Yaris premium at about $300, but it has ABS, unlike the Aveo.

    At current gas prices, that $300 difference would be gone after about 16 months or 20K miles.

    Aveo’s advantage is mostly in terms of being slightly longer and having a little more cargo space, which ends up translating into about 300 extra pounds to lug around with the same horsepower.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Long126 Mike

    I challenge you on Yaris exceeds its EPA ratings by 20%, and Aveo by 4%.

    Secondly, today, the prices of the cars are similar. However, earlier this year, there were much larger incentives on Aveo, and later this year, there will be much larger incentives on Aveo. So if you time your buying, you get more car for the money with GM than you get with Toyota.

    Considering all the opprobrium heaped on the Aveo by some of the posters here, the Yaris is even worse. So I am not going to argue the Aveo is the most desirable car, I am trying to point out the depths Toyota has sunk to.

    http://blogs.edmunds.com/strategies/2009/05/comparison-test-2009-nissan-cube-s-vs-2009-honda-fit-sport-vs-toyota-yaris-s.html

  • avatar
    long126mike

    I challenge you on Yaris exceeds its EPA ratings by 20%, and Aveo by 4%. Secondly, today, the prices of the cars are similar. However, earlier this year, there were much larger incentives on Aveo, and later this year, there will be much larger incentives on Aveo.

    Real-world numbers were crunched from available data at the EPA and compared to the rated combined MPG.

    Price differential was from Edmunds’ comparable function using their true market value estimates, which includes current incentives.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Where are these real world numbers? Can’t you copy them here? I don’t see the numbers you are quoting, when I go to Edmunds and see what people are listing as the actual mileage they are achieving with the Aveo and with the Yaris.

    Currently you get $2000 extra cash back if you own and GM car and buy the Pontiac G3. You also get zero percent interest for five years. I have not looked at Aveo lately.

    As I stated, time your purchase, you will do better with GM.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Where are these real world numbers? Can’t you copy them here? I don’t see the numbers you are quoting, when I go to Edmunds and see what people are listing as the actual mileage they are achieving with the Aveo and with the Yaris.

    I linked directly to the real-world MPG page. Choose the make, then the model, and it pops right up. For a given configuration, just multiply the averages for a given model year times the number of entries. Sum those up for all model years in question and divide by the number of entries. There’s your real-world MPG, or at least the best data available on it at this point. Feel free to check my numbers, but I’ve done this many times and I doubt I am in error.

    I did not say people were reporting those MPG numbers at Edmunds. The Edmunds link was to the comparator to demonstrate the respective TMVs of the two vehicles in question.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    I never said you got your mileage numbers from Edmunds. I said, I did not see the mileage gains you found at EPA when I went to Edmunds. I owned a Toyota Tacoma I just traded this past week. People seem to report accurate mileage numbers for Tacoma.

    When I go to Edmunds, there seem to be three types of posters on mileage – people telling fish stories, people reporting honest mileage, and people who are mileage enthusiasts who maximize their mileage. Sorting through the numbers, I gather the honest people who drive normally are getting 34 mpg with their Yaris automatic, at 65-75 on the highway, with a little city driving mixed in.

    You also see they have a blog on the Yaris being a lemon, with many problems reported. I definitely would want stick if I were buying the Yaris.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    When I go to Edmunds, there seem to be three types of posters on mileage – people telling fish stories, people reporting honest mileage, and people who are mileage enthusiasts who maximize their mileage. Sorting through the numbers, I gather the honest people who drive normally are getting 34 mpg with their Yaris automatic, at 65-75 on the highway, with a little city driving mixed in.

    Here’s the actual numbers that they had.

    Yaris has 3 years of data for both automatic and manual. Automatic has 113 entries for at an average of 35.2, compared to its 31 mpg rating. Manual has 85 entries at an average of 38.5, compared to its 32 mpg rating.

    Aveo has numbers for the sedan as well as the Aveo 5. Both datasets are very close in results. I used the 5’s dataset, as that’s the model I selected to compare at Edmunds. For that, auto – 19 entries, 27.6 mpg, compared to EPA rating of 28. Manual had 30 entries, 31.3 mpg, compared to EPA rating of 30.

    When I used the 4% and 20% figures, it referred to the Edmunds comparison I linked to, which was manual transmission, bare bones models.

    The numbers are what they are. You can doubt their validity, but the larger the dataset, the less likely that is.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Matt51: “You also see they have a blog on the Yaris being a lemon, with many problems reported.”

    For every car in the world, there’s a blog about how it’s a lemon.

    Customer reviews on Edmunds seem more considerably more favorable for the Yaris than the Aveo.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    I just asked you to supply some verification, because as best I can tell, both get about 34 mpg, mostly highway, driven normally (hard), not babied at 55 mph.
    Anyway, I would look at the Nissan Versa 1.8 which has $2500 incentive over either of those, or I can buy a 2009 Spectra LX new with air and cd for 10.9K (advertised and verified). Or a 2008 Suzuki Forenza (which I did buy last Monday).
    Toyota is not no 1 in the heart of its car lineup: Yaris, Corolla, Camry. It is no. 4 in large trucks, with no diesel on the way, and no future. They have said they will permanently close either their new Texas Tundra plant (larger), or their Indiana plant. Both are on “temporary” shutdown now.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    I just asked you to supply some verification, because as best I can tell, both get about 34 mpg, mostly highway, driven normally (hard), not babied at 55 mph.

    Both vehicles strike me as more suited to city environs than highway, mostly because of their parkability. I can’t imagine either one is a very good choice for extensive highway travel.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Yaris is only rated at 29/35, think I would take the Aveo at 27/34.

    I find it curious that you would compare the automatic Yaris to the manual Aveo. If you know something about cars, then you should know that an automatic transmission car will typically have inferior fuel economy.

    If you wish to compare automatics, it’s Aveo at 25/34 vs. Yaris at 29/35.

    If you prefer manuals, it’s Aveo at 27/34 vs. Yaris at 29/36.

    In both instances, the Aveo is inferior. Whether it’s inferior enough to matter is your decision, but don’t misrepresent what it actually is just because you personally dislike Toyotas.

    You can doubt their validity, but the larger the dataset, the less likely that is.

    I tend not to believe these figures, either way. It’s clear just from threads on this site that many commentators who talk a lot about fuel economy don’t know how to even properly measure it.

    For its flaws, I’d stick with the EPA. At least those tests are controlled, so you can compare apples to apples, and expect that those who did the measuring know how to work an abacus. With the stuff that you read online, you never know what you have.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    I tend not to believe these figures, either way. It’s clear just from threads on this site that many commentators who talk a lot about fuel economy don’t know how to even properly measure it.

    Let’s think about that for a moment. In this example, there’s roughly 100 data points for the FE number for the Yaris. Now of course it’s possible that a few people populated the dataset with false information, and it’s also possible that there’s a selection bias – ie, people who tend to be more aware of fuel economy would be more likely to report it, and all things equal, they probably get better fuel economy than the norm.

    However, the same constraints would apply to those entering data for the Aveo, so statistically that should wash out.

    As for people being incapable of measuring their fuel economy, this may be a decent generalization, but the number of datapoints are miniscule compared to the owner base, and the site gives very clear and specific instructions on how to calculate fuel economy properly. So if people are taking time to register at that site and input the data, it’s very likely they have “mastered” writing down gallons at fill-up and odometer readings.

    The nice thing is that one can drill down to the microdata at that site and go with the raw numbers to calculate standard errors and the like, and look for any obvious outliers to exclude.

    The alternative is to just make up wild guesses and rely on random anecdotes. The EPA methodology at this point is generally sound, but there’s some fairly large variances from real world numbers with specific vehicles – eg, VW diesels and the Honda Insight (both gens).

    It’s not rocket science to realize that a narrower car weighing 300 pounds less than another with the same power and torque and fuel engine type is going to most likely have measurably better fuel economy. Not a hard-and-fast rule (eg, gearing matters), but the results are not unexpected.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    However, the same constraints would apply to those entering data for the Aveo, so statistically that should wash out.

    Bad data is bad data. If there is a lot of bad data within a given pool, then you have to either remove the bad data or else throw out all the data and start over again, because it isn’t trustworthy.

    In this case, you have many irrelevant data sets, not just one. My reaction to ignore all of it, and stick with the data that was collected within reasonable parameters.

    There are certain things that you can poll for, and some things that you can’t. If you poll people about a political issue, for example, you can get pretty good data, because people can be pretty accurate in describing what they think. If it is something simple, such as a Consumer Reports survey, I’m inclined to believe it because most people know if their cars are broken or they aren’t.

    But something like this is much different. Now, you’re demanding that people measure things that they may very well measure improperly. There are too many variables, and the respondents are likely to screw up some of them up. The error rate is going to necessarily be high and the results untrustworthy.

    I would not use the EPA figures for absolutes, so much as I would for a ranking. They control all the inputs and measure things accurately, so you can see how things stack up against each other.

    There could be distortions if automakers design vehicles around the test and the test doesn’t correlate to the driver’s real world behavior. But at least we can easily determine EPA’s methodology, as they disclose it freely, and then judge accordingly.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Bad data is bad data. If there is a lot of bad data within a given pool, then you have to either remove the bad data or else throw out all the data and start over again, because it isn’t trustworthy. In this case, you have many irrelevant data sets, not just one. My reaction to ignore all of it, and stick with the data that was collected within reasonable parameters.

    You have no idea whether the data is solid or not, so calling it “bad data” or “irrelevant” is presumptive. Again, people can and do mess up their calculations, but egregious calculation errors are going to stick out like a sore thumb to the person inputting the data, and if it doesn’t to them, it should to anyone examining the data for obvious outliers. If it’s about sloppiness in measurement or calculation, it’s just as likely to understate as to overstate the number, so this also washes out statistically.

    Like I said before, the larger the dataset gets, the less noise impacts the results, and selection bias applies to the database as a whole, so if one suspects contributors to report numbers higher than the user base as a whole, that would apply to any given vehicle where someone is posting their fuel economy. Again, a statistical washout when the point is simply to make a comparison. It’s not about absolute precision but about comparisons within a given framework.

    As for the EPA’s methodology, there is a set testing protocol run by the producers, not the EPA, and is usually done on pre-production prototypes. The EPA only confirms about 10-15% of those figures with their own testing. Furthermore, the manufacturer only tests one vehicle per weight class, transmission class, and basic engine size. Clearly there are variations of those in terms of their total retail selection, and what consumers might gravitate towards might not be quite like the combination as tested.

    Their methodology is to run the vehicles on a dynamometer over a given course to simulate a typical mix of driving conditions. The tailpipe is hooked up to a hose to measure the carbon output to estimate the fuel consumed.

    One obvious problem with this approach is that different vehicles tend to be used in very different manners. Some people are going to favor highway driving for a given vehicle, others vehicles may tend to be more urban vehicles. So arriving at the combined fuel economy rating is assuming a mix of uses under a single, idealized route which may have very little relevance to a given vehicle. On top of that, there can be use choices for a given vehicle — like driving a sports car hard or using a hybrid in an “ECO” mode which is not a default setting — which can result in much different real world numbers on average than the model assumes.

    The nice thing about real world data, particularly when there’s a lot of it, is that it flushes out these things and tends to make sense when examined in detail. What’s nice about the datasets in question is that they often include estimates of percentage of city and highway travel to adjust the EPA rating numbers accordingly for comparison (the default is 55% city/45% highway).

    I have a certain amount of trust in the real world data, having seen how independent databases of sufficient size tend to reach very similar numbers. Greenhybrid, for example, has an extensive database of real world numbers for a variety of vehicles (not just hybrids), and I’ve found the numbers there to be very close to the real world numbers on the EPA site.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    I just looked up the EPA mpg at Edwards. Both with stick – 29/36 to 27/34, so Toyota gets 2 more mpg in city and highway. The Yaris is four inches shorter, 250 lbs lighter, and has a one inch shorter wheelbase. All interior dimensions are the same or are larger in the Aveo. So golly gee, the smaller lighter car gets 2 more mpg. What a marvel of technology the Yaris is.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    So golly gee, the smaller lighter car gets 2 more mpg. What a marvel of technology the Yaris is.

    It doesn’t appear anyone feels that the Yaris is some “marvel of technology.” What does appear to be the case is that it seems to be a better vehicle than the Aveo in many respects. Consumers seem to agree, given the differential in sales numbers.

    As for 2 mpg, the real world difference is 7.2 mpg. That is not a minor difference.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    It doesn’t appear anyone feels that the Yaris is some “marvel of technology.” Nice to see you admit it.

    What does appear to be the case is that it seems to be a better vehicle than the Aveo in many respects. If many means at least five, list them.

    Consumers seem to agree, given the differential in sales numbers. Toyota has been given a pass by the press like Consumer Reports. GM does not adequately represent, or promote, the Aveo.

    As for 2 mpg, the real world difference is 7.2 mpg. No, it is not. The EPA is a laboratory test that directly compares car A to car B. The numbers you are generating have different geographic distributions (more Toyotas in California, more Chevy’s in Indiana), different age distributions of the car driver, and so forth. Too many variables in your number, I will accept the EPA numbers, which agree with I have seen at Edmund’s from actual drivers who drive the two cars similarly.

    One of the “many” complaints (I can list at least five) of the Yaris, is the gas pedal and brake pedal are too close to each other, leading some people to stomp on the wrong pedal.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Mike,

    Feel free to comment on why in the three way comparison test at Edmunds, which tested the Fit, the Cube, and the Yaris, why the Yaris came in last. Which leads back to the thread, Toyota is in trouble. Not temporary, or easily fixed.

    “Where It Follows: 09 yaris 5door int.jpg
    Features, functionality, bang for the buck factor. Those are three big strikes against the Yaris, given this segment’s mission. With its lack of rear passenger space and ultimate cargo capacity, the Yaris offered the least functionality for the most money. And despite listing for nearly $18,000, the Yaris lacked a number of key features — specifically stability control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and an auto-up driver’s window. Also, the central instrument layout is rather wonky, with all vital information placed out of the driver’s line of sight: speedometer, tach, the trip meter, clock and fuel gauge.

    The Yaris also brought up the rear, so to speak, in terms of back seat comfort and cargo space. Though the rear seat slides and reclines, the somewhat flat and hard cushions won’t win over those who miss out on calling “shotgun.” With the rear seats down, the Yaris offers a paltry 26 cubic feet — less than half of what the other two have available. Furthermore, we couldn’t get our golf clubs behind the rear seat and our large travel case was a tight fit.

    Best For: We’re not really sure.”

    One of the reader comments:The Yaris is an immediate fail for me ’cause you can’t get the more useful 4-door model with a manual. I think that the purpose of buying one of these little cars is to have fun driving a slow car fast, and attaching a 1.5 liter thrashmill to a 4-speed slushbox ruins that. The old Xb with this engine and a stick was a riot to drive, had more space, and only gave up 2 mpg to the Yaris tested here.

  • avatar
    niky

    Errh…

    EPA numbers merely show what economy you will get when you follow EPA testing protocol.

    Many manufacturers know how to fudge those numbers… that’s how a skip-shift Corvette avoids the gas guzzler tax.

    Now… real-world data shows the Yaris to be more economical. Normally, I’d be wary of such numbers myself…

    BUT: I’ve road-tested the Yaris extensively… with a V-Box to calibrate trip readings, working from several full tank – to – full tank comparisons.

    The EPA testing regimen is too unkind to the Yaris. It simply shows up the shortcomings of the typically short-geared Japanese transmission… in real-world driving, I’ve seen 35 mpg, and highs of 45 mpg on long highway trips at a sustained 60 mph.

    The same goes for the Honda Fit… coincidentally…

    But… for Korean-engined cars we’ve tested… 35 mpg or so seems to be as far as you can push it… even with hypermiling… the engines are simply pure crap. And the Aveo engine, yes, is a Korean engine… I’ve heard of lows of under 20 mpg in traffic for GMDAT four-bangers… (of course, our traffic is worse than yours)… and the Aveo’s bigger brother, the Forenza, even needed a mid-life ECU reflash to cure this consumption issue.

    The Yaris, flawed though it is, is a much better car than the Aveo. I’d sooner buy a Hyundai Accent (much though I loathe the steering and suspension of that plasticky little thing) cash out than accept an Aveo at half-price.

    Oh. Did I mention the one-star crash tests in Europe?

  • avatar
    long126mike

    No, it is not.

    Yes, it is. There is no grand conspiracy involved to make your very precious Aveo look bad.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    BTW, don’t assume we don’t have any experience with the Aveo. I’ve been stuck with two now on business trips.

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