This, Not That: Consumer Reports Releases Its List
Compilations and lists purporting to tout the ‘best and worst’ of any consumer product – from cars to computers to toasters – are always given side glances in this office, if for no other reason than our own skeptical nature. Still, the crew at Consumer Reports have been releasing exactly this type of list for longer than some of us have been alive, so there’s reason to mention their findings.
In this year’s brand ranking on reliability, there were the usual suspects at the fore – and only one ‘domestic’ brand in the top ten.
Here Are All the Vehicles German Auto Brands Sell and Build In the United States
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump
Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.
At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.
But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with [s]no[/s] limited commentary.
China 2015: The Cars of Shanghai
Shanghai Pudong street scenes
After going through the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Shanghai Auto Show, it’s time to go wandering the streets of Shanghai to share with you the most popular cars. The Shanghai automotive landscape is surprisingly easy to read with a few main trends on display.
QOTD: Your Favorite Domestic Sleepers
Domestic cars don’t get enough attention on TTAC, but we can also be prone to heaping too much praise on particular examples; I may be the lone dissenting voice on the roster that does not swear a blood oath to the Panther. The W-Body Impala, which is set to go into Panther-like fleet-only production until mid-2014, is similarly polarizing. Some adore it, some despise it while others reflexively disdain it due to the effusive praise heaped upon it.
Cars.com Kicks Off Annual "American Made" Debate: Ford Falling?
Every June cars.com trolls the protectionist elements of the car guy world by trotting out its “American Made Index,” which has been topped by the Toyota Camry for the third year running. So what’s cars.com’s criteria for the American Made Index? According to a presser
Cars.com’s annual American-Made Index ranks the most-American vehicles based on percentage of their parts that are made domestically, where they are assembled and how many are sold to U.S. buyers.
That last bit goes a long way towards explaining the Camry/Accord dominance: this is not just a measure of assembly and “domestic parts content” (which NHTSA strangely counts as parts made in the US or Canada), but popularity with Americans as well. If, on the other hand, you just look at the raw 2011 “domestic” parts content percentages… well, it tells a slightly different story.
San Francisco Loses Last Domestic Dealership
Detroit’s brand managers, particularly those at the resurgent premium and luxury brands, have made West Coast sales a high priority as they seek to bring new buyers into once-moribund brands like Buick and Cadillac. California, in particular, is a huge market for luxury and premium cars, and it’s generally an edgier, more youthful market that has long shunned domestic offerings. Everything from “lifestyle events” to no-cost hybrid drivetrain options on Lincoln MKZ have been introduced in an effort to get California’s copious yuppie population interested in Detroit luxury, but the results just haven’t shown up yet. According to Ford’s Mark “MKF” Fields [via AN [sub]], only about 25% of MKZ buyers were tempted by the free-hybrid deal in March, and meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Golden Gate City has just lost its final domestic auto dealership, a Ford/Lincoln store. Detroit may be California dreaming, but the Buicks and Lincolns of the world are still a long way from gaining ground in the West Coast.
Hyundai: The Domestic Diva?
As we’ve noted before, Hyundai and Kia have been quick to exploit the weakness of the domestic auto industry by advertising their American-made cars as American-made cars. Now, they’re taking the attack to a whole new level, as Hyundai USA President John Krafcik tells CNN Money that his brand will build 80 percent of its vehicles in the United States by next year. If the Korean brand can actually achieve that goal, it would make Hyundai’s lineup the most American-built full line on the market. And though he insists that Hyundai doesn’t make decisions about production based on PR, Krafcik can’t help but twist the knife, saying
I’m going to build my three best selling cars in the US. Ford builds its best selling car in Mexico.
Chart Of The Day: Domestic Content Edition
These are the ten vehicles that NHTSA says are made from 90 percent domestically-produced components [via cars.com]. Notice a common thread there? Yes, the correct answer is Ford involvement, but according to cars.com, the task of crowning a “king of domestic content” isn’t as simple as NHTSA’s number.