“One Ford” assumes that North Americans soon will be buying the same kinds of cars and crossovers popular in Europe. That may be true in the near future. For now, the Top 10 best sellers in the U.S. are significantly different from the Top 10 in China, the single largest automotive market, and in Europe, which collectively is still larger than China As an individual country, China passed the United States some six or seven years earlier than expected, when our market plummeted in the thick of the 2009 Great Recession. China has remained ahead since. For year-to-date 2010 numbers through October, there were 11.1 million cars sold in China, up 35.5 percent. U.S. sales through October totaled 9.6 million, up 11 percent, while Europe’s automotive market continued to suffer stagnation. Sales in 27 countries there totaled 11.6 million through October, off 4.6 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2009. Here’s a snapshot of the Top 10 in each market year-to-date … [Read more...] about Comparing the Top 10 sellers in the U.S., China, and Europe
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Call it the Americanization of Mercedes-Benz. While the German automaker has assembled C-Class, GLE and GLS models in Alabama for some time (and, more recently, Sprinters in South Carolina), recent pressure from the Trump administration has led the automaker to reconsider what goes into those vehicles.After being characterized by President Trump as “very bad,” it’s possible other German automakers operating in the U.S. could follow Mercedes’ lead in a bid to avoid further heat.According to The Wall Street Journal, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG has announced it will source more parts from U.S. suppliers. The automaker recently told suppliers it “sees value” in securing components from areas closer to its Tuscaloosa assembly plant.For Mercedes, the timing of the move implies it has more to do with politics than logistics or cost. Trump claims a $15.4 billion automotive trade deficit exists between the two countries, lumping Mercedes-Benz … [Read more...] about U.S.-Built Mercedes-Benz Models to Become More American
A day after its head office was raided by Japanese Transport Ministry officials, the U.S. is going to put Mitsubishi’s mileage claims under scrutiny.The scandal began when Mitsubishi admitted it overstated fuel economy numbers on its Japanese market eK mini wagons, but Reuters is now claiming the false data extends to U.S. market vehicles.Reports in Japanese media single out the diminutive electric i-MiEV, which has sold in the U.S. since 2011. Overseas RVR and Outlander models might also be saddled with misleading mileage numbers.The scandal has caused Mitsubishi’s stock value to drop 40 percent since midweek, prompting Japan’s Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii to tell reporters, “This is a serious problem that could lead to the loss of trust in our country’s auto industry.”Now that U.S.-bound vehicles have become suspect, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has asked Mitsubishi to turn over data on domestic … [Read more...] about Mitsubishi Mileage Scandal Makes its Way to the U.S.
Nissan announced yesterday that the current-generation Rogue would be concurrently produced for U.S. sales in Japan, Korea and the automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, which had us wondering: What about the Rogue Select?According to a Nissan spokesman, the Rogue Select (which is essentially the last-generation Rogue) won’t be built alongside the current-generation Rogue in Japan, which may spell the end of the Select model in the states.It’s unclear how many Rogue Selects Nissan sells in the U.S. Nissan doesn’t differentiate in its sales data between the two Rogue models. Last year, Cars.com reported that as much as 43 percent of new Rogues on dealer lots were Rogue Selects.Nissan sells the 2015 Rogue Select for $2,990 less than 2015 Rogue.A Nissan spokesman didn’t specify how many Rogues on sale in the U.S. would be built in Japan, Korea or the U.S. … [Read more...] about Nissan May Be Ending Rogue Select Sales in U.S.
After Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, we fly south to Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.Juneau is America’s only state capital that cannot be reached by car — only boat or plane — as its road network does not connect it to any other towns. It is bound to stay that way as half its residents and its mayor opposed a plan to build a road that would. But even though you can’t drive anywhere, Juneau has a very dynamic car park.First, a little more trivia on Juneau, which owes its existence to Alaska’s first major gold strike in 1880 and was the first town to be founded after Alaska’s purchase from the Russians in 1867. The Alaskan capital was originally Sitka on the Pacific Ocean coast, but after the whaling and fur trade declined and reduced Sitka’s importance, it was moved to Juneau in 1906 and remains so until today, despite many challenges to move it again as I described in the previous episode of this series.Flying from … [Read more...] about U.S. North to South 2015: Juneau, Alaska
After Barrow and Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, at the extreme north of the United States, we now fly south 620 miles (1,007 km) to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska but not its capital.As much as I would have liked to tackle the mighty Dalton Highway, an additional 230 miles and a 14- to 18-hour trip depending on the weather, time and budget constraints meant I had to fly instead, in a semi-cargo plane: the first third of the plane was cargo with the remaining two-thirds for passengers and entry only from the back of the plane. It was the first time I saw such a plane.On the way, the bonus is sublime panoramas of the former Mt. McKinley, the highest summit in the whole of the United States at 20,320 feet high. Denali, the Indian name for the peak, appropriately means “The Great One”.With just over 300,000 inhabitants, Anchorage accounts for 41 percent of the total population of Alaska: only New York City has a larger percentage of residents of the state it … [Read more...] about U.S. North to South 2015: Anchorage, Alaska
After stopping in Juneau, we now take the Alaska Marine Highway — the ferry in simple terms — on a little over five hour sail to reach the next town in our journey: Petersburg, definitely the most picturesque fishing station I got to visit in Alaska.Nicknamed Little Norway and founded in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, who gave the town its name, Petersburg still displays a very strong Norwegian influence, with many buildings decorated with flowery Norwegian rosemaling paintings. In fact, many of Petersburg’s residents can trace their heritage back to Norwegian ancestors and there was a time when Norwegian was still commonly heard on the street.Home to less than 3,000 inhabitants, Petersburg gets all effervescent around 5 p.m. when everyone is out to buy dinner before falling back into sleepiness. Fishing is the backbone of the economy here, with 123 million pounds of catch landed in 2013. Renting a car for the day allowed me to explore Mitkof Island on which … [Read more...] about U.S. North to South 2015: Petersburg, Alaska
Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well.True, the Ford F-Series is Canada’s best-selling vehicle, just as it is in the United States. Mercedes-Benz is the top-selling luxury brand in both the United States and Canada; Ford is the top brand overall. The Honda Civic is the best-selling small car in both countries. Toyota’s Camry is the leading midsize car on both sides of the border. No automaker operating in the U.S. or Canada sells more minivans than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For goodness’ sake, even bald eagles and beavers cross borders.Yet for all the similarities of two markets that share … [Read more...] about Poltitics of Division: These 10 New Vehicles Demarcate the U.S. and Canadian Auto Markets
If you thought I got lost somewhere in southern Alaska, you thought wrong.We are now hitting Seattle, WA for the remaining part of this U.S. North to South series. I have the privilege of driving a 2015 Ram 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 Turbo Diesel.I baptised last year’s Ram 1500 as Albert. This year, I will follow the letters of the alphabet as they do for hurricanes. Say hello to Bob. Bob, say hello to TTAC.My first impressions are below along with an explanation on Ford Seattle license plates 2,000 miles up north in Barrow, Alaska…But first, you may ask, “Why a male nickname for the truck?”Here’s the thing: in France, where I’m originally from, everything is sexualised (nothing new here) and everything has a gender. Trucks, including pickups, are male, while passenger cars are female. So even though I’ve called Australia home for thirteen years now, naming my truck Barbara would … [Read more...] about U.S. North to South 2015: Seattle to Portland
Leaving Petersburg to continue on our way south requires a ferry as Petersburg’s road network only reaches 30 miles out of town and does not cross any water along the way.Next we visit Wrangell and Ketchikan before leaving Alaska for good. As well as analysing the car park in these two tiny towns, this is an opportunity for me to try and convey to you how it feels to take the most common means of transportation in Southeastern Alaska: the ferry.“This is our highway, this is how we transport stuff” said one of the boat stewards during one of our trips. It really does feel that way on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry.Slow, convoluted and expensive as soon as you need to transport more than just yourself, the Marine Highway is your bloodline if you are one of the 95 percent of Southern Alaskans that don’t own a personal floatplane. I saw locals drive into the car deck, drop their cargo and leave before the ship set sail as … [Read more...] about U.S. North to South 2015: Wrangell and Ketchikan, Alaska