By on May 5, 2011

The established Accord/Camry duopoly on the Midsized segment wasn’t in any serious trouble this month, but as tsunami-related shortages hit Honda, Toyota and Nissan, things could be in flux. In fact, the big story for April seems to be the relaxing of demand for Fusion and Altima, which still occupy a distinct second tier behind Accord/Camry in the Year-To-Date race. Behind those four, the Sonata and Malibu are neck-in-neck in the YTD standings, with the fleet-happy Impala (easy there Bias Police, AN [sub] reports that “In March, about 75 percent of Impala sales went to fleets and rental-car companies”) and the supply-constrained Prius trailing the pack. And then there’s everyone else. Chrysler Group’s midsizers are improving their sales, Legacy is in a holding patter, Maxima is showing its age and the Mazda6… well, that’s just a sad story, isn’t it? NB: VW did not sell a single Passat last month. Passat CC numbers will be in our weird mash-up segment of large/premium sedans.

 

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82 Comments on “April Sales: Midsized Sedans...”


  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I wonder with the Camry still selling so well whether they’ve purposely delayed introducing an updated model.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The 2007 Camry was pulled ahead six months for a spring ’06 release. IIRC Toyota decided to go back to the usual fall release for the next one.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        I am waiting to get a 2012 Camry. 4 cylinder. Leather seats. Alloy wheels. A factory alarm. Automatic. Nothing else. No need to waste money on useless options. Dealer tells me October.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It never ceases to amaze me how well the Camry is doing. I don’t own one and I don’t want one, but the popularity of this otherwise bland sedan is truly flabbergasting. In my area we are inundated with ads for the Fusion and the Malibu and the junk imported from Detroit but I have yet to see a Toyota ad of any kind, anywhere. Seriously!

      • 0 avatar
        SomeDude

        But has it ever amazed you how well Walmart is doing? Crap sells.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Dude, you got a point, but there is a difference between crap that sells because it costs less and people need it to live a better lifestyle, and paying substantially more for a Camry (or any other Toyota product for that matter) than any of its competition within that same class. The Camry of today is really not as up to date as its competition. What the Camry does have going for itself is its reputation for quality, reliability and value. If I were to need a sedan, any of the Sonata sedans would be my choice because they are fresh, up to date, and have a nice long warranty. Even Camrys break eventually, and they cost beaucoup bucks to fix in just parts alone. Anyone who ever had a Camry fixed or repaired can tell you all about that – like $1700 to get the AC rebuild, or $1500 for a 4-wheel disc-brake job. Ever had to replace worn-out switch relays in a Camry? Try $65 for the main ignition-key relay. That’ll water your eyes. They start having problems around 200K-250K on the clock. Things wear out.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Reputations last a long time, especially when most of your customer base does the bare minimum research. CR still rates the Camry very highly. From my view it doesn’t really deserve it anymore, but it is still a supremely quiet, roomy and smooth vehicle. Some people dig that. In fact, with the lack of interest that most people show in driving, I am guessing a LOT of people dig that.

        BTW, I don’t think most new car buyers care about maintenance costs at 200-250K. They don’t keep them that long.

      • 0 avatar
        salhany

        The Camry is the perfect car for the vast majority of the population that considers a car an appliance. It’s pretty simple to operate, it’s got a very good ride, it’s quiet, and there’s absolutely no drama to the thing. Many, many people want that from their vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Bland generic boring sedans sell and if it says Toyota on it that is a guarantee that people will keep blindly buying them even though literally everything else is a better buy. 90% of the Camrys I ever see are driven by old laddies, blue hairs or hand me downs to college kids that could care a less what they are driving as long as it gets there.

        The Impala is classified as a full size car and the silly 75% fleet sales in not really accurate. Among full sized sedans it is still the best seller trumping the Taurus, Avalon, Genesis, Charger and Azera.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        poncho, a V6 Camry SE will smoke every car on this list.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I love it that someone makes an honest attempt at bashing the Camry and it involves reliability issues cropping up once 200K miles have passed. Sounds pretty tempting to someone who watched a friend spend thousands of dollars over three years trying to make their Buick pass smog and start when hot before throwing in the towel at 38K miles, having been blacklisted by AAA in the process.

        I rented a 2011 Camry 4 cylinder automatic. It was about as far from crap as a car can get. I’ve driven so many rental cars that absolutely were refuse, mostly from GM and Ford, but a few RHD Toyotas in third world countries too. The current Camry reminded me of the W124 300E I drove in college twenty years ago. Just as fast too. When I drive current Mercedes, I miss that feeling of mechanical integrity.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Around here its the opposite lots of Camry ads touting heavy discounts while nothing for the Fusion and Malibu. I guess it’s because I’m so close to the port so they are dumping them here to avoid shipping them across the country to dump them.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yeah, you guys all makes excellent points. We would expect that Ford with its massive advertising campaign promoting the Fusion would have done better. I really see no hope for either the Malibu or the 200 no matter how much they are hyped. There simply are too many issues with those companies. The Accord remains hard to beat no matter who it goes head-to-head with. I know people who reluctantly bought a Camry or an Accord years ago to get away from the domestic manufacturers, and now these people won’t buy anything else. Personally I never owned a foreign brand car. Our first venture with a foreign car was my wife’s 2008 Jap-built Highlander Limited AWD when she retired her 1992 Lincoln Towncar. Our experience has been excellent with the Highlander and it motivated me to buy a 2011 Tundra SR5 DC 5.7 when I wanted to get out of my 2006 F150. Even though I continue to be amazed by the popularity of the foreign brands, I am gaining an understanding myself why there is such loyalty. Ours have been trouble-free, both run like appliances. And I like that. Beats having to go in for warranty work.

    • 0 avatar
      dror

      I drive a Mazda 3 hatch, every time I drive a Camry, I can understand why so many people still buy it, I had some as rentals for a week at the time, then, at the dealer, an SE V6, how can you not be impressed by the power of this car?
      2 days ago, I drove a 2010 LE with the 4 cylinder 2.5 liter, to be honest, I was a little surprised by the eagerness of the engine moving such big car.
      90% of people will never understand what it means “too soft”, or “steering with no feel of the road”, this is why they buy this car.
      I just wish I could buy a car that can be a Mazda3 one day and a Camry when I take it on a long trip on the HWY.

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      New model got pushed back a month or so, september is when it comes out.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Wow, from what I recall, the Malibu made a big turnaround, and the 200/Avenger numbers are still good. The Mazda 6 is still surprising.

  • avatar
    SecretAznMan

    Poor Mazda. Some more advertising might help. We don’t need another Saab story from you!

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      That’s what happens when you try to make it bigger, no longer offer hatch and a wagon and have rust issues in this day and age.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        No…that’s most certainly NOT it.
        First, nobody purchased the small 6.
        Next…everybody grew in size, not just the 6.

        How about Ed and other such list providers telling us how many dealer doors of each brand to sort of take that into consideration when trying to understand sales numbers?

        When these list are given without such information, they are silly and useless.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Ford pulled back hard on the incentives for the Fusion for April. It’s a very good car, but this segment is so competitive it’s hard to convince buyers to pay a couple thousand more than they could for a Camry or Accord. On the bright side though, I’ve heard rumors that Toyota yanked pretty much all incentives for May, and with the Japanese supply chain issue causing price hikes, we should be on even price footing soon.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Don’t think this is accurate. In the boston globe, on any saturday, you can find a dealer running strippo Fusion specials in the low 16s. I have even seen 15s. Honda Accord and Toyota Camry is THOUSANDS higher than the Fusion. If Ford tried to score an Accord or Camry price for the Fusion, Fusion sales on the east coast would collapse.

      The base Camry “special” is always in the higher 17s to mid 18s, and those price levels are hard to get. 19s is a more possible Camry price. My brother struggled to get a LE with no options with an automatic for 19.5. Many dealers turned him down at that price. This was days after the earthquake. My brother tells me prices have moved up substantially since his purchase.

      From what I see on the east coast, Fusions are often in fleets. Does not appear to be too many in private hands in and around Boston. Is it possible that fleet sales are lower?

      In addition, many are flocking to Toyota and Honda dealers to get them before they are gone. The thought of driving a domestic on the east coast is uncool.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Some of it is based on market area in the PNW Toyota is discounting the Camry heavily and advertising the heck out of it. The Fusion has much lower incentives, no 0% interest deals and 0 advertising.

        Ford has played the game of chasing sales numbers with significant discounts, and is focusing on maintaining profit per unit.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        There is no east coast bias against domestics overall, I’ve lived in the mid-atlantic area, and now in FL, both on the east coast, and know that for a fact. Fusion fleet sales aren’t very high.

        Dead cost on a super base S Fusion manual with no options is $16,649 after incentives. At that price a dealer makes absolutely no profit on the car, and gives up the holdback, so I find it hard to believe anyone is selling them at that price, I certainly haven’t seen it anywhere around here.

        Some dealers will advertise with little tricks, showing prices ‘with trade in worth at least 3,000’ and etc. Dealers can also play games with their own accounting departments and do things like switch the holdbacks for two cars in inventory – giving the holdback from a F-450 to a Fusion allows them to effectively sell the Fusion thousands under actual cost, and to advertise a car at that price, but it also means they take a hit on the profit when they sell that F-450. All in all, it’s just shell games for advertising purposes.

        All I know is what I was seeing on the lot, and our incentives cut back big from March into April, making it hard to compete just on price for particular vehicles. I do have friends working at the local Toyota dealership however, and as I mentioned I’ve heard they cut back on incentives to next to nothing for this month, so that at least brings parity.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Just the messinger. Fact is in the northeast and southern california, except for the Escape and Focus, new Fords are uncommon.

      If you want a cheap Fusion, call Quirk Ford on the weekend. In fact, I will post the price they are offering the vehicle at Saturday morning. Stay tuned.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        No problem, I’m just pointing out where the message is wrong. The Ford dealer that sells the most cars in the US is in Southern California, Galpin Ford in Los Angeles. There are plenty of Ford dealers selling the entire range of vehicles to retail customers in great numbers in numerous places in the Northeast, SoCal, and various other places up and down both coasts, just as in the rest of the country.

        The Fusion/Focus retail numbers aren’t quite as high as the Camry/Corolla or Accord/Civic, but they are in the same ballpark, and getting closer every day. The slight edge of the imports is being chipped away by both Ford and GM as people realize that the quality, reliability, and features of the domestics are equal to or superior to that of the imports. Plenty of customers are a bit gunshy due to bad experiences with domestics in the past, but as world of mouth due to positive experiences continues to spread, the trend of the domestic offerings chipping away at the import leads will continue.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Shoot, why wait? Quirk has their newspaper ad online right now! New 2011 Ford Fusion S only $14,999!!!!! Save up to $7,000 off MSRP!!!!!11eleven!
        http://www.quirkford.com/newspaper.aspx

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Crud. I should have read the fine print. Sale ended 4/27/11.

      • 0 avatar
        Roundel

        JJ, You’ve been playing this same old tired song for months now.
        You and I both know that yout “east coast people think domestics are uncool” story is pure BS, plain and simple. Living inbetween Boston and New York, you see plenty of Fords, Chevys, Hyundais, Kias, you know… cars that everyone buys. You make it sound like New England is Toyota’s shrine, it isn’t. I’m not sure if your blinders are on too tight, or your glasses are too rosy, either way, its pretty transparent.

        What is with the import fanboys and their unrelenting parade of garbage posts recently. They are all starting to sound like that little brat kid from the Highlander commercials.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Huh? I always thought the ground north of NYC was Subaru territory, not Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        jj99

        Lots of Subaru also. I looked at one, but my bike would not fit. The new Subaru looks good.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        @jj99
        It’s Saturday night, now. Looking at the current Quirk Ford Quincy ad (expiration date 5/31/11) a Ford Fusion S is $14,799, security, tax, title, acq, reg, and doc extra. #F86311

        New Fords uncommon? Yeah, more than half of the houses in southwest New Hampshire have a Subaru or Toyota in the driveway, sometimes both, but there are also fleets of newer F250s out there.

        I must say this though: car brand ownership is highly regional. You will find a completely different mix of vehicles in Concord, MA than in Concord, NH. Heck, you’ll find a completely different vehicle mix going from a blue collar town to a white collar town. The white collar New Hampshire town will usually consist of nothing but Subarus and Toyotas with a smattering of Honda, the Germans and a few domestics whereas in the blue collar town you’ll find pretty much every vehicle brand made.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Is there any way to embed those graphs without having them enlarged and, thus, fuzzy? The graphic itself is fine, but when it’s embedded it gets distorted.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    No Optimas sold last month either? Certainly it’s not a premium car.

  • avatar
    FreezingD

    The Avenger selling at the same clip as the newly refreshed 200? Not good, considering all the advertising dollars thrown at the 200.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I wish Ford would take up some of Mazda’s unused capacity in the Flat Rock Michigan plant and start building Fusions (especially hybrids) there. I know several people that would buy Fusions if they were assembled in the United States. Since the Mazda6 and the Fusion are built on the same platform, it seems like it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      No one cares where the car is assembled. That is a union mentality. What people care about is hundreds of thousands of trouble free miles. Only Toyota and Honda have proven the ability to deliver such an animal. If Fusion is ever able to do this, it will be able to play with the big boys. So far, the track record is thin. Googling 2010 Fusion Transmission problems is enough to scare anyone away.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        The Fusion has had OUTSTANDING reliability. Look at your bible Consumer Reports, and the Fusion is actually ranked higher than both the Camry and Accord in reliability, distantly ahead in the case of the Honda. In fact, this is their ranking of midsized sedan reliability:

        1. Ford Fusion Hybrid
        2. Ford Fusion V6, FWD
        3. Subaru Legacy 4-cyl
        4. Ford Fusion 4-cyl FWD
        5. Toyota Camry Hybrid
        6. Hyundai Sonata
        7. Toyota Camry 4-cyl

        The Accord is only slightly above average and the Camry V6 is actually a touch below average, only ranking higher than the Impala.

        And if we’re going into used car ratings like you inevitably do, the Fusion is also rated either Very Good or Excellent in used reliability for every year since its introduction – even 2006, which was 5 years ago. Heck I’ll cover all the bases and also mention that TrueDelta has shown the Fusion to be better than average in reliability since the beginning as well.

        At this point I think it’s pretty safe to say the Fusion is an extremely reliable car.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Dealers just received communication that due to tsunami related parts shortages Fusion Hybrid builds are tentatively going to be put on hold from June – October. The batteries and E-CVTs will all go to MKZ Hybrids, which will continue being built, and are currently in extremely high demand, and likely bring a higher margin.

      JJ –

      Googling 2010 Fusion transmission problems is enough to show anyone with half a brain that a few early build cars after the redesign had some minor issues that could lead to hard shifts, and in rare cases a transmission failure. It also shows that after a trip to the dealer these issues were all easily fixed, and they don’t seem to be occurring in the 2011 cars. As for reliability, we’re seeing early Fusions starting to come in as trades with well over 100,000, and in rare cases over 200,000 miles. I don’t doubt that more cars will last past the 200,000 mile mark, but as the Fusion has only been out since ’06, people need more time to drive them.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Why aren’t the people who want a US assembled Fusion buying Mazda6s? They’re the same under the skin, and Car and Driver picked the Mazda over the Ford in a comparison test, although neither won.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    So 12,477 Prii sold in April. I had to look elsewhere to find there were 493 Volts sold.

    I assume that the Volt production is finally ramped up by now. So we have 25 Prii sold for every Volt sale…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      To be fair, the Prius can be had for much less than a Volt, and is sold at every Toyota dealer in all 50 states, while the Volt is still limited to certain markets, and even fully ramped up, isn’t produced in nearly the same amounts as the Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The Volt also costs nearly twice as much as a Prius, so expecting it to compete neck-and-neck might be unrealistic. I am guessing Chevy would be happy to sell a quarter of Prius numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Chevy plans to sell 10k Volts in 2011. Full year.

        If Chevy sold 1/4 as many Volt as Prius, they’d be pushing 25k Volts for the year. That might be possible in 2012, when the line is fully ramped.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        30-mile fetch, Volt costing twice as Prius was not Toyota’s fault.

        It’s one thing to ask for more because it’s better (i.e. G35 costing 2x Corolla), but it’s another just to set a retarded price (i.e. imagine Sentra costing 2x Corolla).

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    It’s a shame what Mazda did to the Mazda6. I’ve got an ’04 and still love it. In a (vain) effort to challenge Honda and Toyota, they left the nitch market that they spent so much advertising promoting, and surprise, surprise, fell flat on their collective face.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The current Mazda6 is a very good car. Especially with the 3.7 liter V6, it flies. It lost a little bit in road feel and sporty dynamics in exchange for more room and sound isolation, but given other automakers who have made that trade for great success, I can see how the product designed figured it was a smart move.

      What’s interesting to me is that as Subaru has become more mainstream sames have gone up, while Mazda seems to be wilting away. I really don’t know why the Mazda6 doesn’t get more attention. If I were buying a midsize sedan and I had to go Japanese, the Mazda6 would be my choice by a wide margin.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        The big difference between Subaru & Mazda?

        Subaru became more mainstream in size and comfort, but kept and celebrated the mechanical engineering features that made them distinctive and special. From an affinity standpoint, Subaru is very German. Like Porsche, BMW & Merc, they are exclusively N-S drivetrains. Plus, Subaru continues to market to their niche markets on a continuous basis.

        Mazda stopped developing Rotary Power, and seems to copy the market. They’re not special, just small, which is a bad place to be.

        The Subaru fundamentals and message are a lot stronger than the Mazda one. That’s why they have traction, and Mazda doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      Mazda has made the mistake of trying to chase Accord & Camry sales volumes twice now and failed. First with the 626 and now with the 6. They definitely should stick to being a niche player in the U.S. unless the market comes to them a-la Subaru.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Mechanically, a Subaru has S-AWD and boxer engines, while Mazda is the same as a Honda or Toyota, so what’s niche about Mazda?

        And then the cars look completely ridiculous.

        That’s the problem with Mazda.

        Fix the looks and make something about the car fundamentally different, and Mazda will do just fine as a niche vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Ironically, the Jetta just did the same thing and sales appear to be up by a wide margin. Go figure.

      We were in the market for a car a year ago, and if Mazda had still offered the previous gen 6 wagon we would have bought it. They don’t, so we don’t have a Mazda now.

      Fuel economy probably isn’t helping its case either, for both the 4 and 6 cyl, it is a bit low. And reviews I have read were lukewarm on the 4 cyl engine, whereas the engines in the Accord, Altima, and Camry have been praised.

      Its a shame, but you still have the Kizashi and Altima if you want sporty.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      If I were Mazda, I’d push toward (mostly Strong) Hybrids with a Rotary Power motor/generator. At least it’d be different.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Rotary engines are thermally inefficient. The combustion chamber has more surface area for its volume than a piston engine, so more of the combustion heat is dumped into the engine where it does not propel the car. They are inherently gas-suckers as a result. At one time, a rotary had packaging efficiency and perhaps power/weight going for it; but I’m not even that’s true any more with DFI and forced induction. That’s why no one else fools with them and perhaps even Mazda has given up on them.

        It would be interesting if a micro-gas turbine, optimized for a particular RPM and switched on and off in response to demand, could be a good power source (driving a generator) for a series hybrid. The power/weight and power/volume ratios of the engine would be very favorable. Unfortunately, such an engine would be more expensive to manufacture, since it requires more exotic metals and precision machining.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Rotary engine is still more compact, but the key point is that Mazda needs to do something different. And yeah, it’ll be expensive. But otherwise, they go out of business.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Efficiency isn’t the strong suit of the rotary, but rotaries are just inherently cool. Considering that rotaries haven’t had nearly as much R&D time and money dumped into them as traditional piston ICEs I’d stop short of calling the rotary a dead end.

        Direct injection and forced induction could help with both the fuel economy and lack of low end torque that plague the rotary.

        Mazda had some success with the miller cycle engine used in the Millenia S. Apparently it’s possible to make an atkinson cycle rotary engine, and given that the miller cycle is more or less an atkinson cycle engine combined with forced induction, perhaps a miller cycle rotary would be possible (though I’ll leave the details about how this could work to those with actual engineering knowledge).

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Hydrogen Renesis Hybrid?
        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/06/mazda-testing-hydrogen-hybrid-premacy/
        It’s almost been three years. Mazda should have most of the bugs worked out and costs amortized, right?

  • avatar
    Billy Rockfish

    Good news for buyers looking for a good car that is an outstanding value, that being the Ford Fusion. Real bad news for Ford’s luxury divison Lincoln, who sells a thinly disguised Fusion, with an MK badge. Granted, a lovely car – very nice leather seats with Jaguar Vanden-Plas style piping – a nice $28-32K car, most certainly not a $40K car – and with 10 Fusions to every 1 MKZ, you can’t tell the Fusion apart from the MKZ except from the rear (sort of) or the front end (the 21st Century Lincoln “teeth”).

    Ford – bring Lincoln the Falcon from OZ with 2002 Continental Concept car styling queues and leave the Fusion for Ford.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My question is: Who is buying all the Altima sedans? Rental agencies? My car for my Detroit trip this week was a Budget 2.5S Altima sedan. Not a bad car, but so plain on the inside and the seat cushion(?) was like a park bench – my back’s still recovering. It did get great mileage, though. I made the whole trip – 493 miles – on a single tank of gas! 35 mpg! I guess that helps. I had no issue with the CVT, but all I did was cruise I-75 for the most part, no A/C, so not a true road test. I suppose if I took a detour to Defiance, Oh – Educator Dan’s family’s territory – I could’ve had a little fun on the Ohio blue highways, but as that land is flat corn & hog country, I guess not!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I actually really liked the Altima I took on a test drive (2.5S trim). Good engine, the manual function in the CVT was super sharp, the interior was spartan but made well, and it was quiet enough. But what really got my attention was the steering and ride/handling balance. Sharp handling without being harsh. Seats felt fine to me, but I didn’t drive 500 miles in it.

      If I was in the market for a midsize sedan, the Altima would be at the top of my list alongside the Kizashi and 6.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        One thing I did notice and liked was the ABSENCE of hard plastic on the dash and door panels, so that earns lots of points.

        “Spartan” is a good word for the interior, though. Too spartan for me, at least in that trim level.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Zach,

      That was my impression of the Altima too, although I’m sure there are fancier trim levels (I hope). Funny, now you can *upgrade* to a Chrysler 200 and get a better interior with more comfortable seats.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Zackman: The real fun is on the eastern side of Ohio. There are tons of fun roads in Northeast Ohio, and particularly Southeast Ohio. Northwest Ohio? Pretty flat.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Yup, “bulldozed by glaciers” flat. No wonder my Dad loved his big cushy American cars. The most likely you were to turn was when you came to a full stop at the end of one linear to turn onto another.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        You’re right, Geo.

        I had a lot of fun several years ago taking the “long way” home from a business trip to Rittman(!). Took me 4 hours from there to Columbus! The Amish country roads were great and scary – you may just have to dodge an oncoming buggy within an inch of their lives if you’re not careful! Oh yeah, in the fall, the scenery is beautiful, too! Eastern Ohio above Dayton, where the highest point is any given overpass.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: Rittman? That’s where it starts to flatten out. You have to try the roads near the Marietta, OH area. Much better. And scarier.

        A story about the Amish buggies: Back in 1987, I had just gotten uprated injectors and a bigger throttle body put on my 5.0L Mercury Capri SC, and was trying out the new throttle response in the hills in and around south of Kent, Ohio. I was having so much fun I wandered about 40 miles out of my way. As I was cresting at fairly high speed what I thought was one hill, I came to find out that there was a small dip between TWO hills, in which was perched a stopped Amish buggy.

        Many prayers to the wingfooted Gods of traction (and this is before anti lock brakes were prevalent), but I was able to stop short of the buggy and not spook the horses. I got some really nasty looks from the occupants of the buggy however. After cleaning out my shorts, I decided to take the freeways back to Youngstown…

  • avatar
    JMII

    My parents are in the market for a new ride, leading the way is the Sonata SE. They really liked the Altima at first but its more expensive and gets less MPG then Hyundia’s offerings. I told them to check into the Fusion.

  • avatar
    NN

    The Camry and Accord still sit somewhat comfortably at the top, if only because the 2nd tier of competitors where the fight really is (Sonata, Malibu, Fusion, Altima) is heavily influenced by incentives. The given winner of these four any month seems to usually be the one with the best incentive. It looks like Nissan just peeled back their crazy incentives on the Altima. I know from personal experience that the incentives are a big driver…when I bought our new 2010 Malibu last August, there was $3k on the hood from GM incentive being offered. When added up with all other incentives I pulled together and after wrangling on the price, I could buy a loaded 4-cyl LTZ ($28,600 sticker) for $22,800. I looked most closely at the 2011 Sonata, the Fusion, and the Accord. But at the end of the day the Malibu was still thousands less than a similarly equipped competitor, which made my decision easy.

  • avatar
    RoadRage

    Every car today is pretty reliable. There is no longer a need to look to Honda or Toyota for solid transpertation. At this point it’s about your personal tast. Yes some of us are loyal to certain brands, but we can no longer thumb our nose to the Kia or Hyundai buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Think so? Check this link out. 2011 Mustangs are reliable? Nope.

      http://jalopnik.com/5796207/
      ford-silent-on-broken-mustang-transmissions

      Nullo, are you silent on this one also? I bet it is just an early production issue.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I’d say overall yes, the new Mustangs are reliable. Yes, there is apparently something going on with some of the manual transmission cars, but Ford isn’t being silent about it. I don’t know offhand what the actual numbers are. TrueDelta shows the 2011 Mustang towards the good side of average for reliability, with roughly have of the issues listed being due to the manual trans issue. From what I’ve read the issue seems to be concentrated in cold weather areas, so I haven’t had any customers of mine come back with the problem yet.

        Ford customer service reps are participating in a number of Mustang forums actively escalating the service process for those people are experiencing the issue, and trying to figure out what is causing it. Explanations seem to be running anywhere from air bubbles in the hydraulic lines to bad trans fluid to improper tolerances on some of the clutch plates or bolts. Considering the vast majority of manual transmission Mustangs are fine, it likely isn’t a design fault. My personal guess would be that the Chinese supplier who is building the transmissions isn’t building everything to the same spec. Whatever it is, it’s being handled under warranty, which in the end is what warranties are for.

    • 0 avatar
      Rada

      “Every car today is pretty reliable.”

      LOL, yeah right

  • avatar
    philadlj

    From last month:

    …while Ford’s Fusion battles with the best-sellers…Malibu is falling out of the front pack and into the second tier of competition. Still, with the volatility we’re seeing in this segment, it’s too early to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions.

    The Malibu surge this month surprised me. That 24K number would be all the more impressive if there wasn’t a significant increase in Malibu fleet sales or incentives. While GM makes no bones about Impala being primarily a fleet special (let’s be honest, at this point it’s GM’s Panther), they’d rather sell Malibus (especially the next generation) to consumers.

    Perhaps this was a Malibu and Sonata month, just as last month was an Altima and Fusion month. It’s really hard to predict this segment, as the only constant seems to be the lack of any consistently dominant leader.

    Also, if Subaru Camry-fied the Subaru to try to elevate sales into the second or even first tier, they aren’t succeeding. This bodes well for a next-gen Legacy with a little more personality.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      As usual, *each* of the top 3 models in this segment sell more cars than the entire Subaru lineup *combined*.

      And Subaru is selling at maximum production capacity.

      With that in perspective, the Legacy is selling quite well and contributing to those numbers.

      For Subaru to sell more, they will need more plant capacity.

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    The Fusion is made @ one plant, and if I’m not mistaken that plant is only capable of producing 300,000 units a year. At the current selling rate Ford doesn’t have much wiggle room, especially when you take into account the fact that the MKZ is built at the same facility.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Looks like the Eminem Super Bowl ad did the trick. The Chrysler 200 is staring to became a player in this segment. The 200 seems to be in short supply at the dealers

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Subaru has been riding the AWD wave — some 30% of cars now sell with AWD. 0% sell with snow tires.

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