“The Honda Odyssey wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award achieving the highest IVA score of any vehicle measured. Odyssey not only is the highest rated minivan, but also the highest rated vehicle!” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “Owners rate the Odyssey best-in-class in seven of fifteen rating categories and very competitive in the others. Clearly Honda understands what the Minivan buyer wants and have designed the Odyssey to hit that target.” Top-scoring Odyssey characteristics include:
* Exterior size
* Passenger room
* Cargo room
* Both ride and handing
* Power and acceleration
* Safety features
“Honda Fit wins AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award for Economy Cars with an extraordinary eight category-leading ratings by their owners. Adding the IVA to its win of AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award and being the top car in owner recommendations in its class is an impressive achievement – an absolute homerun,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. Some of the class-leading attributes that make the Fit ideal include:
* Exterior size
* Cargo space
* Interior storage
* Level of fechnology
* Safety features
Within the Economy Car segment, the Honda Fit blew the competition into the weeds. There is simply not much owners don’t like about the Fit. From overall satisfaction to anticipated resale value, the Fit dominated the Economy Car segment, scoring highest in no fewer than 34 of 48 attributes. A few of those class-leading attributes include:
• Overall quality with top scores for reliability, dependability, durability and longevity
• Ease of getting in and out with flexible changeable seating – a clever interior with interior storage/ compartments
• Ease of loading/unloading cargo
• Brand and vehicle reputation along with image
• Fun to drive with best in segment ride and handling
• Controls have quality feel/operation
• Perhaps most important, value for the money including operating costs, fuel economy and anticipated resale value
• Top marks for seat visibility and instrument layout
• Innovative technology and safety features received top marks and helped owners feeling safe while driving
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced the winners of its 2009 Top Safety Picks. There are 72 winners in 2009; more than double in 2008 and more than 3 times as many as in 2007. Some key factors leading to winning results are better structure to protect from side impacts and increased application of electronic stability control which helps maintain control and minimize rollovers. Additionally, improved headrests are doing a better job protecting against whiplash.
IIHS works for auto insurers and publishes the results of its Top Safety Picks to help consumers select the safest cars and light trucks when they are in the market. AutoPacific’s research shows that safety features and feeling safe while driving are very important when a person selects their vehicle.
Ford Wins 16 Top Safety Picks – almost 25% of Those Awarded
A major result of the 2009 Top Picks was that Ford Motor Company (including Volvo) had 16 of the 72 Top Picks. Several years ago, after Ford acquired Volvo, Ford began adopting Volvo safety strategies in its designs. Several Ford vehicles are derived from the Volvo S80 platform – Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus X, Mercury Sable, Ford Flex, Volvo S80. Using Volvo’s vaunted SIPS (Side Impact Protection System), Ford has been able to make its larger vehicles able to withstand significant blows from the side.
The Ford Fusion with ESC and Mercury Milan with ESC, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo C70, Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, Volvo XC90, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford F-150 also won IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2009.
Honda Comes In Second – Close Behind Ford
Coming in close behind Ford Motor Company products was another company that set an objective to become a safety leader several years ago. American Honda has Top Safety Picks for Acura RL, Acura TL, Acura TSX, Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Honda Accord 4-doors, Honda Civic 4-doors with ESC, Honda Fit, Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, Honda CRV, Honda Element and Honda Ridgeline. The Honda Fit is the first Economy (Mini) Car to achieve an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
• • • • •
The IIHS Press Release Is shown below the fold.
May sales reports are coming in. Ford F-Series, for the first time since 1991 (according to Automotive News) has been outsold by a car. In fact, by four cars.
The world is coming to an end!
Numbers after the jump…
Cadillac Top Brand, Mercedes-Benz S-Class Top Car, Toyota Sequoia Top Truck and Top Vehicle
Tustin, California, May 29, 2008 – A study released today by noted automotive consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc
. summarizes the results of its 2008 model year vehicle satisfaction research. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new passenger car or light truck.
In a year that promises to be the toughest in a decade, owner-based awards like AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award will help customers make their purchase decisions.
The brand with the highest satisfaction rating is Cadillac. The vehicle – car or truck – registering highest overall satisfaction in 2008 is the new-for-2008 Toyota Sequoia Large Sport Utility Vehicle. The passenger car with the highest overall satisfaction score is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
There are twenty-eight Vehicle Satisfaction Award categories. At the manufacturer level, multiple top ranked award winners include: General Motors
(eleven categories), Toyota (nine categories), Ford (six categories), Volkswagen
(four categories), Honda
(three categories) and Hyundai
“Cadillac wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award as the top brand in a close race. Strong satisfaction performance by Cadillac cars and trucks has Cadillac winning over other leading luxury marques including Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Top ranked finishes by Cadillac’s Escalade, CTS and DTS helped cement their industry topping position.”
Peterson continues, “Vehicles that are all new received top rankings in several categories: Cadillac CTS, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Lancer, Scion xD, Toyota Sequoia, Audi Q7, Buick Enclave, Hyundai Veracruz, GMC Acadia, Saturn Vue and Nissan Rogue. These new-for-2008 vehicles were strongly rated by their owners showing that the industry continues to improve as new vehicles are added to the hotly contested American car and light truck markets.”
From a vehicle type perspective, Traditional Sport Utility Vehicles received the highest ratings as a class closely followed by Crossover Sport Utility Vehicles. Peterson says, “Clearly, SUVs continue to be one of the most popular and satisfying vehicle types available in the USA today. Even with skyrocketing gas prices, SUVs are attractive and Crossover SUVs fill the bill for most SUV buyers with better fuel economy.” Cars scored slightly below industry average followed by minivans and pickup trucks.
Honda unveiled their much anticipated Pilot prototype at the 2008 NAIAS in Detroit. Conveying the design features of the production 2009 Pilot, set to make its debut this spring, this 2nd generation Pilot is tougher, smarter, larger, roomier, stronger, bolder, cleaner and safer than its predecessor.
While the specifications of the new Pilot are impressive, there was wide comment about its styling. Tougher-looking, yes, said many auto journalists, but ugly. Some of the descriptors were: “Styled by Isuzu”, “third world styling”, “bland”, “worst looking production vehicle of show”. Sometimes these things grow on you. Most folks have become accustomed to the weird styling of the Ridgeline SUT. Maybe that will happen with the new Pilot.
Toyota sold more cars and trucks globally during 1st Quarter 2007 than General Motors. For the first time in 79 years General Motors’ global sales have been topped by a major competitor.
GM’s Global Sales Leadership Crown in Jeopardy
During the 1st Quarter Toyota sold 2.35 million vehicles compared with 2.26 million vehicles for General Motors. This shift had been forecast to occur during the 2007 calendar year, but not as early as the 1st Quarter.
Toyota sells Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles in the USA. Major stakes in Daihatsu and Subaru are not included in the global sales totals. General Motors sales includes Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Saturn, HUMMER, Saab, Opel, and Vauxhall.
VehicleVoice Research Indicates Toyota will Continue to Gain on General Motors in USA
In VehicleVoice brand image and consideration research reported on April 16, 2007, positive consideration for Toyota in the USA was 54% compared with 42% for General Motors as a whole. Consideration for Ford Motor Company products was 44% and Honda products was 53% in the same study. While Toyota continues to be a distant second or third to General Motors in the USA, this continuing level of strong positive consideration indicates that Toyota should be able to continue to close the gap year-by-year.
New Products in USA Bolster Toyota’s Position
In 2006 and early 2007 Toyota launched or renewed a slew of vehicles in the USA. The new Yaris small car replaced the under-performing and unfortunately styled Echo. The FJ Cruiser was launched to rave reviews and strong sales. The Camry was all new and earned the Motor Trend 2007 Car of the Year Award. The all new Lexus LS460 has arguably established a new luxury car benchmark in the premium luxury car market in the USA. And we can’t forget the launch of the all-new Toyota Tundra full size pickup. Tundra finally becomes a fully-competitive half-ton pickup for 2007. While still lacking 3/4 and 1 Ton models, the Tundra should give its half ton competition a run for the money.
Can GM Hold off Toyota?
While the annual global sales figures are still months away, Toyota may, indeed, be able to wrest the global sales crown from GM this year. General Motors is moving aggressively to add capacity and sales in China. If this comes on stream quickly enough, GM may be able to parry the threat.
During the last week of March 2007, 1,254 VehicleVoice panelists responded to an Internet survey concerning their opinion of major automakers in the USA. VehicleVoice asked these questions because the opinion of buyers and their attitudes towards various aspects of a manufacturer’s image are critically important. Managing image and opinion plus understanding what is driving that opinion can influence whether a person will positively consider or reject a brand next time they are in the market.
The key question in the VehicleVoice survey was whether the respondent’s opinion of a manufacturer had changed since this time last year. If their opinion had changed, the panel member was given the chance to explain why their opinion had changed. We received over 5,000 comments concerning these manufacturers. Some were as short one word. Some were as long as a page of 10-point type. Folks really had a lot to say and their comments were fascinating.
Discussion for each of the brands is below the fold.
Club Racer S2000 Arrives Fall 2007
According to John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, the S2000 CR “is the closest thing you can get to a Honda-built race car with license plate holders and a horn.” Introduced at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, this special S2000 uses the same powertrain (237HP 2.2L I4 and six-speed manual), but has massaged in just about every other area with the simple goal of reducing track times. Though the gearing of the manual is the same, there is a new shorter shift knob for even quicker shifts. About the only cosmetic decisions were the exterior and interior color combinations. The S2000 CR will be a standard trim level for 2008MY.
The aero body kit of the CR is functional and contributes to the overall goal, as well as giving the roadster a take-no-prisoners look, by reducing lift. The front spoiler and large rear wing are the better elements; the nacelles behind driver and passenger leave the impression of mimicking the Pontiac Solstice. The front and rear spoilers were developed to reduce lift, and even the center bulge on the rear spoiler a functional rather than stylistic element. The S2000 CR drops its power softtop and replaces it with an aluminum hardtop, just one of the efforts for reducing weight. Though structural bracing, adding rigidity, takes up the space where the soft top used to stow, the change allows a drop of about 90 pounds.