Published Date : May 3, 2013
It’s 2013. We are on the tail end of the Great Recession (hopefully). All of the automakers have survived the recession in some form or another. We lost some iconic brands along the way, the likes of Mercury and Pontiac. They are just a piece of history now, but these actions helped position Ford and GM to continue on in the new economy.
With this new economy we have come to see new challenges in automobile manufacturing. Automakers buckled down to ensure they are manufacturing as efficiently as possible. What’s interesting is that efficient manufacturing and tax advantages for the Japanese, Korean and other automakers meant introducing production facilities within the United States.
We took a look at the current lineups of some of the major Japanese automakers to see how many and which models are produced right here in the United States. Here are our findings.
Toyota has 14 models in its lineup. Fifty percent of these models are made right here in the USA. Of those seven models, four of them are their most popular models: Camry, Corolla, Avalon and Highlander. The other three models manufactured in America are the Sequoia, Tundra and Venza. All of these models sell in much higher volumes than the other more niche models (e.g. 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, etc.) and therefore are doing an excellent job at supporting American manufacturing and creating jobs for American workers.
Honda Motor Company, another Japanese automaker, discovered back in the 1980s that producing their most popular car (the Honda Accord) in Ohio was going to be an integral part of their strategy for expanding in the United States. The 1986 Accord was the first US manufactured model to roll off the assembly line. Fast forward to today and Honda is not only assembling more cars than ever in the United States, they just celebrated exporting (yes, exporting!) their one millionth car, a silver 2013 Honda Accord that made its way to South Korea! In addition to the Accord, four other Honda models are also produced in the United States, which means that over 70% of Honda models bought in America are American made. Again, we have another example of a foreign automaker producing the majority of their American purchased cars in the United States.
Following suit behind Toyota and Honda are the likes of Hyundai, Kia and many other automakers. Automakers are finding an advantage in assembling automobiles in the United States.
Of course if you want to buy American, you can buy a Ford or a Chevy. More than 50% of their lineups are made in the USA, especially the ever popular F-150 and Silverado. But it’s interesting that Ford makes the Fusion, arguably one of their most popular cars, in Mexico. The Fusion, which is direct competition to the Accord and Camry, is the only one of the three models in the mid-size car segment that isn’t assembled by American hands. The Fusion may be made by an American car manufacturer, but at this point it’s not made by an American.
Are you in the market to buy a new car? Does its origin matter to you? Do you care about where the car is assembled, or is that far down the list of car buying priorities? I’m proud to say that I’ve owned two Honda Accords and one Acura CL, and they all rolled off the assembly line in Marysville, Ohio. Let us know if this matters to you by leaving us a comment.
Posted on May 3, 2013 by
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Published Date : April 19, 2013
Yup, you read correctly. BMW is really introducing a 4-Series coupe as a 2014 model. This is news, but it is far from awesome news in my humble opinion. I always love the introduction of a new BMW model. The reintroduction of the 6-Series was music to my ears because I always loved the old model from the 1980s. The 1-Series excited me because it’s a BMW I can come close to actually affording. Unfortunately I can’t get nearly as excited over the introduction of this 4-Series. Here’s why…it is just a rebadged 3-Series.
Courtesy of Motor Trend
Now a lot of you are probably thinking, “This car looks hot…what’s the problem?!” I couldn’t agree more. I could retire with this car. No midlife crisis Corvette necessary. BMW continues to push the stylistic envelope with the pending introduction of this 4-Series model line. It follows the current trend in luxury coupe styling first introduced with the Infiniti G35 Coupe: the car looks shorter, has a larger rear windshield and a shorter trunk door. It’s extremely slick and curvy. The M4 version of the 4-Series will be dynamite if the current M3 is an indicator (which it is!!)
The only improvement I would propose to this new 4-Series is a glass roof, similar to the all glass roof found on the current generation of the Scion tC. If for whatever reason a glass roof is not an option, then perhaps a carbon fiber roof that accentuates the sportiness of the new model line. Everything else about the car itself is awesome!
Ok so I implied before that I’m not completely on board with the introduction of the new 4-Series. This is true. Here’s my issue. I don’t like the company rebadging the 3-series coupe after all this time. I feel that the model line should be left alone. It just works, period. The 3-series coupe is a coveted model.
The luxury car industry went through phases of rebadging coupes to keep them identified on their own vs. their sedan counterparts. Examples go back as far as the Acura CL (coupe version of the TL) and the Audi A5, which is a coupe version of the A4 sedan.
BMW had the opportunity to rebadge this car multiple times, first back in 1999 and again in 2006 when the company introduced new generations of the 3-Series lineup. Instead they stuck to the 3-Series model name that everyone is familiar with. When they chose not to do anything about it, I figured they were keeping the 3-Series intact.
Courtesy of Motor Trend
What’s just as interesting in all of this luxury car rebadging is that Mercedes-Benz very recently introduced an E-Class coupe. In my opinion Mercedes-Benz paid BMW a complement when they ditched the CLK-Class in favor of the E-Class coupe, aiming to maintain the E-Class presence as the mid-size force to be reckoned with no matter the body style.
All in all I think BMW should have left the 3-Series alone. The 3-Series is a tried and true model, the anchor of the BMW brand and company. The company sells more 3-Series models than any other model. It’s won Car and Driver’s 10-Best award a record 23 times in multiple forms from 1992 to today…what a streak! Why put this streak at risk?!
For me it all comes down to one famous line of thinking…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? What are your thoughts?
Posted on April 19, 2013 by
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Published Date : April 12, 2013
Automotive companies have made waves in recent years with retro inspired styling. All of the major American brands introduced one or multiple models that paid homage to styling from the 60s and 70s. These cars give buyers from older generations a gateway into their pasts with modern versions of models from a simpler time, while also giving younger buyers a taste of the fast muscle car era.
What is interesting about the retro styling movement is that it’s limited to automobiles only. Clearly there is an emotional attachment to our cars and the isolated nature of the automotive retro movement is proof of that. The retro movement didn’t show up in any other form of consumer transportation, from motorcycles, to boats, and so on. In fact, this retro styling movement did not show up in any other form of, well…anything. Think about recent releases of other products in other industries. From homes, to home appliances, to all forms of computers and electronics, to furniture, and so on, we didn’t see any real “throwback” trend. The goods we were buying continued to get sleeker and more modern looking and feeling.
Now coming back to cars, I know some may say that perhaps the Chrysler PT Cruiser started the modern automotive retro styling movement. I think they would be right. After all, it was introduced in 2001. But really, who cares about that awful throwback hearse anyway?! That’s why this discussion is centered on the faster, flashier cars that more defined the retro styling movement. This brings me to what is arguably the peak of this movement, and one of my favorites, the introduction of the 2005 Ford Mustang.
Courtesy of Serious Wheels
This generation Ford Mustang ushered in an era of precise retro styling working in perfect harmony with current day technology. It is really an automotive engineering marvel. It closely replicated the styling of the late-1960s Mustang while adding a few aerodynamic cues, better fuel economy and better reliability. This allowed the car to have mass appeal across generations of buyers and fans. Men and women alike fell in love with this release of the Mustang.
That same year Chrysler released the 300 and the following year the Dodge brand released the Charger. This was good for them because it helped boost sales within these brands, but was actually a little irrelevant considering the competition wasn’t promoting a retro styling movement in the full size sedan segment. Think about it, did you see Cadillac taillight fins make a comeback?
It took until 2008 for another automaker to answer the call of the retro styled Mustang. Dodge answered with the release of the Challenger, followed by GM finally reintroducing a retro styled Camaro in 2010. All of these cars followed a similar retro styling philosophy to Ford with the Mustang. Only issue here is that the Challenger and Camaro were three and five years too late, respectively.
Fast forward to the end of 2009 and we see that the Mustang was refreshed as a 2010 model, showing some curve while attempting to preserve the essence of the retro styling. It is retro with a Euro-Japanese twist. Clearly Ford starting transitioning out of the retro styling movement almost as quickly as it went in.
2015 Ford Mustang conceptualized, courtesy of Edmunds’ What’s Hot
The 2015 Ford Mustang has been conceptualized, and the departure from the retro styled late-1960s throwback is becoming even more evident. Ford designers are taking the Mustang in a different direction, sleeker while keeping a strong presence. It looks ready to go up against anything Europe has to throw at it, but the real question is whether the average buyer will be into it. Regardless, if the Mustang defined the peak of the retro styling movement, then here in this case it is also marking the end.
Posted on April 12, 2013 by