Ford Retail Sales at Toyota Expense in ’13 Seen Holding Bloomberg

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Ford Retail Sales at Expense in ’13 Seen Holding

The Ford brand is closing in on as the favorite of retail auto a sign of rising popularity of the mid-size car and Escape sport-utility and of growing dismay with the manufacturer.

Toyota Motor ’s namesake brand, a default of a generation of car buyers who admired its quality, lost ground the past six years amid natural disasters and stiffer

Its share of the U.S. retail fell to 13.5 percent year from 16.3 in 2008, according to data to Bloomberg by IHS Automotive using vehicle-registration records. Toyota’s 2.8 point loss matched the of Ford Motor Co. ’s main to a 13.2 percent share, the same period.

Retail are the best measure of the tastes of car buyers because they bulk fleet sales to and government customers. Toyota the retail market before the with top sellers such as the sedan and Corolla compact. models now face tougher as car shoppers favor Ford including the Fusion, which frequent comparisons to an Aston and a restyled, fuel-efficient Escape.

Motor Co. and Subaru, the auto of Fuji Heavy Industries also gained ground.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

A Motor Co. emblem appears the grille of a 2014 Ford at a dealership in East Peoria.

A Motor Co. emblem appears the grille of a 2014 Ford at a dealership in East Peoria.

“Before 2010, Toyota’s was bulletproof, and while it is still it’s not rock solid and as as it was before,” Tom Libby. auto for IHS Automotive, said in an interview. “It now their march forward has slowed.”

Top Three

The leader in U.S. sales is General Co.. which has four including Chevrolet and Cadillac. including its fleet sales and brand is No. 2, followed by Toyota, overtook Ford in sales by from 2007 to 2009 falling back to the third

Those rankings will again when February’s sales results are announced 3, according to analysts surveyed by Toyota, GM and Ford may all report while Chrysler Group LLC and Motor Co. post gains, to analysts surveyed.

Light-vehicle in the U.S. may rise 0.3 percent in to almost 1.2 million, the average of analyst estimates. The annualized adjusted for seasonal trends, probably tick up to 15.4 the average of 13 analyst estimates, 15.3 million in February

Industrywide sales may even Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president, yesterday in Detroit, adding he was “confident” Nissan would a gain.

Rebound Scenario

once-pristine image was tarnished, said, when it recalled than 10 million vehicles for related to unintended acceleration in and 2010, involving defective mats and accelerator pedals. The largest automaker lost in 2011 after an earthquake and rocked Japan and shut Toyota’s car factories.

Toyota’s retail market share to 12.4 percent in 2011, to 13.7 percent in 2012 and again last year, the IHS show.

“A fair number of — I was among them thought that after the situation and after the tsunami Toyota would just where they were,” said. “Lo and behold, they not.”

As total U.S. sales rose, Toyota has sales by more than a vehicles in the last two years. is more important than its market share, said Michels. a Toyota spokesman.

doesn’t pay the bills, sales do that was and is our focus,” Michels in an e-mail. “Toyota recovered an amount of volume after the and Tsunami/Thailand floods impacted

Design Changes

Toyota probably maintain its slight lead over Ford year thanks to redesigns of its RAV4 small SUV and Highlander said Jeff Schuster. an with researcher LMC Automotive in Michigan. The Camry, Toyota’s top will also receive design changes late year, he said.

“Ford’s to give them a run for their over the next couple but at this point we don’t see overtaking Toyota,” Schuster

Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda has pushed his to create more exciting after critics have the company’s products as “blandmobiles.” At the auto show in January, generated buzz and floor with its red FT-1 concept drew inspiration from the Supra sports car.

seen some indication Toyota is going to refocus on and basically bring sexy or maybe get it for the first time,” said.

Swoopy Sonata

The of Hyundai’s swoopy Sonata Kia’s angular Optima and Ford’s Fusion have family-car buyers, Schuster Korea’s Hyundai and its corporate Kia combined to control 8.2 percent of the retail market last up from 5 percent in 2008, down from 2012, to the IHS data.

“Vehicles like the Fusion, and our hybrids have provided us a tremendous amount of retail and share gain, particularly in the regions in the west and southeast, that typically have dominated by Japanese automakers,” Erich Merkle. Ford’s analyst. The Ford brand’s retail sales rose 14 in 2013, he said, powered by a 21 rise in the west and a 17 percent in the southeast.

Quality Parity

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The quality gap among automakers has a onetime Toyota advantage, said. The Toyota brand seventh in J.D. Power Initial Quality Study year, below GM’s GMC brand, which ranked and its Chevrolet line, which fifth.


“In core car segments, Toyota really had their and still has strength, there’s legitimate competition,” Libby

Despite quality gains and from critics, GM’s brand also lost among individual retail Chevy’s U.S. retail fell to 10.7 percent year, from 11.4 in 2008. GM last year a redesigned Silverado pickup its top seller, as well as updating the of its Malibu family car.

is pretty disappointing. They’ve had a product revival over the two years and they’ve not been to gain share,” Libby

Since 2008, Chevrolet has the minivan and small pickup which cost it retail said Jim Cain. a company GM will begin offering a pickup later this with the Colorado model. The automaker also is putting a emphasis on profits, selling cars on deep discount, he

Light Years

“The of our market share is light ahead of where it was in 2008,” said. “We are much more and the resale of our products has risen thanks to what is now an essentially showroom of vehicles.”

Chrysler, the automaker owned by Fiat saw its Jeep line of SUVs to 3.4 percent from 2.7 percent in the IHS data show.

The next top will find a way to lead in as Toyota did in the last two decades the Prius hybrid-electric car and the RAV4 helped pioneer the car-like SUV Libby said.

Segment

Honda Motor Co.. was second to Toyota in retail in 2008, has slipped to fourth. It had percent of the retail market year, down from percent in 2008, according to the IHS Honda also has suffered lackluster looks, Libby as the competition has become more

Like Toyota, it also had to with natural disasters in that disrupted production in

While its retail share Honda said its top-selling were retail leaders in segments: the Civic compact, mid-size car, CR-V utility and Odyssey minivan. The doesn’t have a fleet-sales and few Honda dealers handle sales.

“Our focus on sales to individual buyers has a correlation to the high resale of Honda products, which is a key in the value proposition for our customers,” Mendel. executive vice of automobile sales for Honda’s unit, said in a statement week.

To contact the reporter on story: Keith Naughton in Michigan, at knaughton3@bloomberg.net

To contact the responsible for this story: Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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