The 2011 Hyundai Sonata has been selling like hot cakes since it came to market earlier this year. The stylish midsize sedan sold 107,085 units through July, up from 73,862 for the same period last year.
Sales are so hot that Hyundai has been running its plant in Montgomery, Alabama at maximum overtime for several months to meet demand. With new Sonatas still in short supply, Automotive News reports that Hyundai is shifting production of its Santa Fe crossover vehicle to free up capacity.
The Santa Fe is reportedly scheduled to move to a plant in West Point, Georgia that’s owned by corporate cousin, Kia. Hyundai’s crossover will be built alongside the new Kia Sorento, with which it shares a platform. A source familiar with the issue said that new workers have already been hired to staff the second production line.
Though Hyundai is staying tight-lipped on the subject, this is obviously good news for the company and good news for the local economies in Montgomery and West Point.
Some good news from across the pond: the Detroit Free Press reports that Ford sales in March were up 16.1 percent, making the Blue Oval brand number one across nineteen major European nations.
Ford credits strong sales of its Fiesta subcompact car for its success, noting that the recently redesigned car accounted for a full 35 percent of the brand’s sales volume. The Fiesta fell just behind the Volkswagen Golf to become the second-best selling car in Europe for 2009.
Though the blockbuster car has been on sale overseas since late 2008, American buyers will have to wait another few weeks for their chance behind the wheel. The Fiesta goes on sale stateside in May with every indication that it will continue to be a strong-seller.
The US version will be offered in both sedan and hatchback versions and Ford boasts that the fuel-sipping engine will get up to 40 miles per gallon. In Europe, the Fiesta has become known for energetic design and spirited handling, a combination the company expects will attract young American buyers.
Despite the excellent performance in March, Ford notes that the rest of the year may prove challenging for its European operations. The company predicts that without additional government incentives, automobile sales will drop from 15.8 million vehicles in 2009 to 14.5 million vehicles this year.
In the last 30 days, Toyota has recalled more cars (9 million) than it sold in the last three years. Industry analysts are deeming this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for America’s domestic automakers to reverse their declining market share and reestablish themselves as industry leaders. The obvious question on everyone’s minds: can they do it?
Figures just published on Automotive News show that both Ford and GM are out performing Toyota and expanding their market share.
Ford is showing unprecedented growth with a 43% boost in year-over-year sales while GM is moving in the right direction with 12% increase from last year. For the first time in almost a decade Toyota is showing a decline (9%) in year-over-year sales volume.
Although these most recent sales figures suggest and Ford and GM are moving in the right direction, the future is still very unclear. Toyota has temporarily stopped selling approximately 57% of its US models, but as soon as the current recall gets cleared up, they will undoubtedly be back on track and working hard to reprove their worth.
So how do Ford and GM take full advantage of their current upturn in fate? Industry analysts charge that domestic automakers need to beat Toyota (and Honda) at their own game: by building forward-looking cars with high mileage, attractive features, and outstanding quality.
Do you think that Ford and GM have what it takes to continue growing after Toyota completes this historic recall?
Source: [HBS Working Knowledge]
Toyota’s latest recall is potentially devastating for the car company. Toyota’s recall – one of the largest of its kind – is likely to change the way people think about the car company. So how bad will this be for Toyota? Looking back at other major recalls, Toyota may feel the heat for a long time.
In 2000, Ford was crushed during it’s “Exploder” incident where Explorers had faulty tread issues with its Firestone tires. That recall came at a time when Ford was on a roll, especially with its ultra successful SUV lineup. And while SUVs remained popular for a few years after the incident, Ford’s brand was damaged. A more devastating public “Death Penalty” occurred in the 1980s when Audi’s 5000 model had shifter-lock issues, which caused sudden acceleration issues. Audi took huge blow, causing an immediate >50% drop in sales . It took Audi nearly a decade to get back on track – mostly due to the introduction of its A4 model in the mid 90s. Audi is now back on track and “Audi 5000″ is merely an urban term.
Almost all of its US built models (no issue with Japanese-built Toyotas, including all of its Lexus or Scion vehicles) were affected. Toyota (like Ford) is blaming their supplier, CTS. As a “General contractor” Toyota is certainly to blame and I wonder if the tactic of handing the blame to suppliers is a wise one in the Information Age. Toyota models affected were: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, Certain 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia.
What do you think will happen to Toyota? Is this going to be another notorious debacle that crushes the company and hampers its “Tiger Woods” like reputation with the US car buying public? Did Toyota make a mistake by not taking the credit for the error?