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What do the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Mazda3, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Jetta all have in common? Well, actually, lots. They are all four-door sedans that fall into the so-called C-segment, and they are all trending downward in sales. This data comes courtesy of Wards Auto, and, while not all such vehicles are down - the Hyunai Elantra has been trending upward - the deficit reportedly rings in at six-percent overall for the segment.
Where are all those compact sedan buyers going? To compact SUVs, at least in part. Wards cites data showing that sales of small SUVs and crossovers are up big over the last several months. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are all showing sales increases as buyers shift from sedans to utility vehicles, says Wards.
Still, it's way too early for automakers to give up on C-segment sedans. Though down, sales of popular models like the Civic and Corolla are good enough to put them well into the top 10 sales chart (in ninth and sixth place, respectively).Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under chevrolet, Dodge, ford, Ford Focus, honda, Honda Civic, Hyundai, Hyundai Elantra, Kia, Mazda, Mazda Mazda3, Subaru, Subaru Impreza, Toyota, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Jetta | send this post
When we reported yesterday on Toyota's stop-sale order of certain 2013 and 2014 models due to an issue with the fabrics on models with heated seats not conforming to flammability regulations, one of our many questions was how many vehicles were affected? More importantly, how many of those cars have already found homes?
Kelley Blue Book has the troubling statistics. Every 2013 and 2014 Avalon features heated seats. 6.2-percent of 2013 and 4.5-percent of 2014 Camry sedans, meanwhile, were sold with heated seats. That doesn't seem as bad as 100-percent of the larger Avalon, until you consider the Camry's huge volume - the 5.6-percent average still accounts for a lot of cars. Sienna minivans are heavily affected as well, with a total of 37-percent of 2013s and 46-percent of 2014s fitted with butt warmers. The stop-sale only affects 7-percent of 2014 Corolla models, but like the Camry, that number is rather misleading due to the sheer volume of cars Toyota moves. You can see the entire breakdown of percentages by clicking on the inset image.
According to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for KBB, this problem comes at the worst possible time. "Given that much of the US is currently in the grips of a record cold snap, there's sure to be high demand for models with seat heaters," Brauer notes. The stop-sale order is a good first step, but it doesn't do anything to inform consumers who currently own the affected models and may, in these frosty temperatures, want to use their seat heaters. "Should owners of those vehicles stop using the seat heaters?" Brauer asked.
To its credit, Toyota is showing that it learned its lesson when it comes to these sorts of quality issues. "[Toyota] seems intent on doing everything it can to allay consumer fears about what at this stage is only a potential problem," said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for KBB. That sentiment was echoed by Eric Ibara, the director of residual value consulting for the firm. "Toyota has learned from its experience with unintended acceleration that it needs to proactively take charge of safety issues involving its products," Ibara said.
As always, when more information about this issue becomes available, we'll be sure to let you know. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under Toyota, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camry, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tundra | send this post
Tags: budget, hybrid, Minivan/Van, Recall, recalls, Safety, seat heaters, Sedan, Toyota Recall, Truck
Toyota has issued a stop-sale order on six of its core models due to concerns about the flammability of certain seat fabrics. The issue rests not with the cloth and leather covers themselves, but with a piece of seat heater beneath them that fails to meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for flame retardancy.
There have been no reports of fires or injuries from the affected cars, which include some of Toyota's biggest volume sellers. 2013 and 2014 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid and Sienna models equipped with heated seats are included in the stop-sale, as are 2014 Tundra pickups and Corolla sedans. The exact number of vehicles with the non-compliant materials are still being tabulated, according to The Detroit Free Press.
According to a Toyota spokesman, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been notified, although it remains to be seen if a recall will be issued. Outside of a full recall, though, it's unclear how Toyota will deal with vehicles equipped with the flammable materials that have already found homes.
In the meantime, Toyota is reportedly developing a fix for those vehicle still sitting on dealer lots.
UPDATE: John Hanson, National Manager, Environmental, Quality, and Safety Communications for Lexus, has confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by this seat fabric issue.
UPDATE II: Toyota has released an official statement on the stop sale. You can read it below. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under Toyota, Toyota Camry, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra | send this post
Toyota may be heading toward some labor issues in the Great White North, as employees at a pair of Canadian Toyota factories may be set for a certification vote. The Unifor union, which was the result of a merger last year between the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union, will be holding the vote.
Over 40 percent of the employees at the Woodstock and Cambridge, Ontario factories have signed union cards, cresting the minimum percentage required to instigate a legal certification vote, according to Reuters. The Woodstock factory is responsible for RAV4 production, while Cambridge builds the Lexus RX350 and RX450h, as well as the Toyota Corolla. The two factories employ nearly 7,000 people.
It's unclear when the union will hold a certification vote at the two factories, but what is rather clear are the worker complaints. Employees are concerned about workers being hired on temporary contracts which lack the benefits of full employment, John Aman, head of organizing for Unifor, told Reuters.
Toyota countered that argument. "First, people are hired on contract basis and only when we can make a long-term commitment to them, in terms of their employment security, do we transition them into permanent status," spokesman Greig Mordue said. "Over the past 12 months or so we've hired 1,000 new team members and we've also made 900 contracts permanent."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tags: budget, canada, Caw, crossover, Hatchback, hybrid, Lexus RX, luxury, Plants/Manufacturing, Sedan, UAW/Unions, unions
The Ford F-Series is hands down the best-selling vehicle in the US, but as it turns out, there are plenty of states where the truck doesn't reign supreme. Business Insider compiled data from Kelley Blue Book based on 2013 sales figures from January through August to create a map of the top-selling vehicles in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Looking at the map, Ford's truck is the top vehicle in 34 states, but there are states - some surprising, some not - where other vehicles are more popular among consumers.
After Ford's pickup, it's a battle among midsize sedans, with the Honda Accord being the most popular in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, while the Toyota Camry (the reigning best-selling car in the US) is the favorite among Florida and Maryland owners; the Nissan Altima is one of the surprises on the list as the most popular car in Oklahoma. The Ford Fusion is the top-selling car in Michigan, and it is also the only American-branded car on the list. Rounding out the passenger cars, Massachusetts and Connecticut favor the Honda CR-V, California buyers flock to the Honda Civic and Washington, D.C. buyers prefer the Toyota Corolla.
Truck-loving buyers also reside in Maine and Indiana (choosing the Chevy Silverado), Vermont (GMC Sierra) and Hawaii (Toyota Tacoma). Regardless of what vehicle is most popular in which state, one interesting observation for all the models on this list is that they all have at least some US production. Head on over to Business Insider to see the whole map.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Published under chevrolet, ford, Ford Fusion, gmc, honda, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Honda CR-V, Nissan, Nissan Altima, Toyota, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma | send this post
Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.