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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The 2011 Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are set to displace the Lexus ES350 and Toyota Camry next year. It will be fun to watch.

    Fanboi dreaming...

    This is impossible next year or the year after or the year after that. Why? Hyundai doesn't have the capacity to build 450,000 units nor do they have the sales organization to sell that many units.

    You're also assuming that everyone else simply sits still and allows this to occur. That'll never happen.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Maybe the Camry won't be displaced as a sales leader right away--but it has already been displaced in one regard: Toyota and Honda no longer have a lock on perceived quality. Today there are at least six mainstream midsize sedans that informed customers will take seriously: Camry, Accord, Altima, Sonata, Fusion/Milan, and Malibu are all within striking distance of each other, and each one offers several good reasons to choose it over the competition. What does the Camry offer that the others don't? Well, there's resale value, and, um. . . the Toyota name? Not as big an edge as it used to be. Accord? Same problem. Sonata and Fusion/Milan already offer excellent reliability and very good quality control--areas in which Toyota and Honda once comfortably led the pack. There's also style: the Altima's exterior is very dramatic, and the Malibu's interior offers an upscale environment with distinctive colors and textures.

    Toyota got caught napping with both the current Camry and Corolla. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the company to awaken, and what it will come up with when/if it really does.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    I'd add to that list the Mazda6, Legacy, and Passat. And the Optima isn't a slouch, either, in I4 form, although it gets little respect. That may change with its upcoming remake. Then there's the new Kizashi--looks like a credible entry. There's no leeway for anyone to slip... several others will be on their heels, ready to trample them.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Toyota got caught napping with both the current Camry and Corolla. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the company to awaken, and what it will come up with when/if it really does.

    I don't disagree with the first paragraph because I agree that you can throw a blanket over the entire segment. Choose any one and be happy.

    But then you added the last sentences above and just made yourself look silly. Caught napping? How is it the No 1 nameplate in the segment continues to hold that title for the last 5 yrs running and and then ...and then... according to Edmunds here last month became the No 1 nameplate in the entire US auto industry. And you seriously think that this is being 'caught napping'.

    Helloo...all the rest of the industry would love to be caught napping like that. Your testosterone might have gotten the best of you there don't you think? Buwahahaha.

    I know, I know this is another of those ... 'I don't know how they do it but they have these two blandmobiles that are barely in the middle of the pack in every respect....for the car guys....but the public somehow continues to confuse us by snapping them up faster than every other vehicle. Just can't figure it out.'
  • Toyota has admitted to the world that they have failed to deliver for several years running and had become Japan's version of General Motors.

    Toyota vowed to make major changes, starting with top mgt, in an effort to win back customers that are looking elsewhere for ingenuity.

    Toyota must get back on track very quickly because they are widely perceived as a Japanese Buick.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    There's no leeway for anyone to slip... several others will be on their heels, ready to trample them.

    The Camry seems to have plenty of "leeway". They have a sizeable lead in sales over the field. They would have to really screw up, to loose that kind of lead. I don't see that happening. I don't see the Accord slipping any time soon either. "Trample them", I don't think so. Not any time soon.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    It's impossible to equate the opinions of people posting here to those of the "average car buyer". While we may see a lot of alternatives, the millions of people that once drove American(or other brand), had some bad product, and then discovered the dependibility of the Camcord are afraid to try anything else for fear they will be get stuck again. Perception is a very hard thing to change especially when it involves one of the largest financial transactions that most people make.

    There may be more fun and better looking cars out there but for the near term I don't see anyone making a serious run at supremacy from those two.

    One caveat: Toyota's recent bad safety news and recalls coupled with a general sense of lacking focus on quality could move Honda closer and give others inroads to increase market share but not supremacy.

    If VW could solve their quality problems and really turn their perception around they could be a juggernaut to contend with. A lot of people like their styling, performance, handling, interior quality but hang back due to not wanting to experience the horror stories that many have with their vehicles.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    the millions of people that once drove American(or other brand), had some bad product, and then discovered the dependability of the Camcord are afraid to try anything else for fear they will be get stuck again.

    That's just it. American car buyers were virtually forced to try other brands. And it only seems natural they would have to be forced to go back. Seems fair to me. I don't see Honda or Toyota making any mistakes that big. To say any midsize sedan will outsell the Camry, in the next 10 years, would be unrealistic.
  • If VW could solve their quality problems and really turn their perception around they could be a juggernaut to contend with. A lot of people like their styling, performance, handling, interior quality but hang back due to not wanting to experience the horror stories that many have with their vehicles.

    This. I'm car shopping now and was/is very interested in a VW Jetta. But I'm still skittish about reliability and potential cost once it is out of warranty. And the TDI is very appealing but there have also been plenty of stories about VW dealers not servicing them right (overfilling oil or not using the right oil) during the carefree maintenance period. On the other hand I really liked the handling and interior quality. A lot.

    As it is I'm probably going to end up choosing between a Ford Fusion or a Mazda 3 hatchback.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    If VW could solve their quality problems

    By "quality", what is more specifically meant is mechanical reliability.

    In, I believe, the Dec. 2009 issue, CR has listed the VW Golf as among the most reliable small cars. The Jetta is mechanically the same car, but has been getting lower, but still above average, reliability scores from CR. Neither is a midsize, however.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Toyota's chairman stated that they had seemingly lost the desire to excel. This is the job of the Chairman, especially a new one, that is keeping the coals burning underneath everybody's feet. He's not satisfied so he's going to make life miserable for everybody until he is satisfied.

    But yes I agree that they grew too fast here especially as they were looking to cash in on the mega-bucks in the truck/SUV segments. The money in these segments made for fat happy and dumb players. When you're used to making $2000 on a sedan and suddenly you see $10000, $15000 and $20000 profits on SUVs and trucks it's like a drug; c.f. the Detroit 3. They must get off that easy money high and get back to concentrating on making most of their money from $20000-$25000 vehicles.

    But that's a different segment. In the sedans they continue to kick butt and take names. The Camry is approaching the No 1 nameplate every month. It's jumped over the the Silverado and it's going after the F150. The Corolla is simply crushing the Civic. Everybody else is a distant 3rd thru 10th place. This is not being caught napping. This is kicking butt month-after-month-after-month.

    However they might be perceived the one metric that counts is sales volume. Anything else gets the winner a beauty pagaent crown.....and 2nd thru 10th place where it counts. BTW this conversation isn't new this year. It's been going on for at least 10 yrs and no one can figure out how and why Camry and Corolla sales stay as high as they are month-after-month-after-month.

    It's because it's a business not a beauty pagaent.
  • "That's just it. American car buyers were virtually forced to try other brands. And it only seems natural they would have to be forced to go back"

    elroy5:
    That is what happened to me with Honda. I spent $75,000 since 2005 on new Honda cars and had numerous issue's with all of them. Somewhere along the way Honda started to give me flash backs to the GM customer service like Oh those rear brakes only lasted 20,000 miles well thats normal wear yep thats it, normal wear. With all the recalls Toyota is having I don't feel like they are any better so I picked the Fusion. The only good thing I can say about Honda is the resell value is very high compared to others. Ford screwed its resell value back in the day on the Taurus because of its Hertz rental car business. If you look back on the reliability ratings those old Taurus's did very well in the reliability ratings. With the competition as tight as it is in the sedan segment it will be interesting to see how those companies can promote the resell value.
  • To say any midsize sedan will outsell the Camry, in the next 10 years, would be unrealistic.

    -------------------------------------------

    We need to get you on Toyota's BOD! That would just about insure the competition's success.

    It's a lot easier to get to the top than it is to stay there................
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Having to produce, then give away a huge number of vehicles was the double-pronged pitchfork that skewered GM and Ford. They had to produce a huge number of vehicles to cover their fixed costs..whether they could sell this number or not. When they couldn't sell these numbers they then were forced to
    a) initiate give away programs like Employee Pricing for Everyone ( Please take these vehicles ! )
    b) massive fleet sales at breakeven pricing.

    Both prongs skewered the retail buyers and drove down the resale prices.

    Hopefully in the reorganizations this year the D3, along with the rest of the industry, will learn how to balance production and demand. This alone will eliminate the need to give away the vehicles thus drive up resale prices. However it also means that on the retail side the makers are going to try to get higher prices from the everyday buyer.

    In this they have a long row to hoe. Toyota's and Honda's normally sell for $1000-$2000 more than the typical D3 midsizer or a Hyundai/Kia. Think about how that affects resale prices and how that affects the profitability of each maker.

    400,000 units x $1000.....
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    With the competition as tight as it is in the sedan segment it will be interesting to see how those companies can promote the resell value.

    Well, to be honest, only Honda and Toyota can promote high resale because they are the two that stand at the top. They are followed by Subaru, Nissan, VW and Mazda. Then we have Hyundai, Ford, Chevy and Kia. This is how they play out in the wholesale world.

    I have noticed Honda's, particularly the Accord, has a stupid high book value and it is very common to get retail money from a wholesaler.

    Now, there are many good cars on this list. Unfortunately, being a good car is not going to automatically put you at the top with Honda and Toyota. Take the Sonata for example. You can buy a new one so cheap it hurts the resale value. Why do you think Hyundai promotes rebates and special financing and not leasing? Because they wither away to nothing very fast.

    Nissan and Mazda have really tried to boost their resale value of the Altima and Mazda6, but, have struggled to do so. I think those two cars are more impressive then both the Accord and Camry, by a long shot.

    Subaru has done a great job with the Legacy. Subaru is really on a roll lately, and they seemed to have figured out something and are running with it. Personally, I am really turned off by the new Legacy. I think it became cheap and very uninspiring to drive. Add ugly to boot.

    Ford has done a wonderful job with their recent ad campaign with the Fusion, as well as the rest of their lineup. They are really getting people to think American again. I drove a new Fusion myself, and I really do not like the interior. It just does not do it for me. The outer styling is nice, and conservative at the same time. The power train is good, and I would not hesitate to buy one based on that. But, it will be quite sometime before the resale can be a factor.

    The Malibu resale will continue to get destroyed as long as Chevy keeps pumping mass units into rental service. I think they put waaaaay to many into rental service and it will hurt overall reliability and resale. Ford was smart and scaled back rentals, as did Mazda.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Which is precisely why the Chairman has to step up and state that he's not at all satisfied with the company as it reached the top. Crack that whip....

    The big reason why I don't see any of the others taking over the top spot is that there is no trend in either the Camry or Corolla that they are losing sales, in fact they seem to be solidifying their position on the top spots. Outside of that the other makers simply don't have the capacity to suddenly double production and sales. Where would these new Malibu's come from? How could Hermosillo jump it's production by more than 50% suddenly ( 'suddenly' is 5 yrs in auto production terms ). The Accord is maxxed out in Marysville. Hyundai simply doesn't have the distribution network to move that many vehicles.

    This assumes also that both Toyota and Honda stand still and do nothing.

    What has happened is that the bottom-dwellers, except for Chrysler, have improved dramatically so that the separation from top to bottom is very very small. This is good for all of us buying vehicles in this segment.
  • This is a few stats from the 2009 USA "car" sales as per The Wall Street Journal.
    (car sales only not trucks or suv's etc)

    maker tot. sales % 2009 v's 2008 % sales f/ oct. 2009 market share
    GM 731,434 -33.2 -11.4 8.5
    FORD 491,997 -16.8 -10.7 5.7
    TOY 913,515 -24.0 +1.5 10.6
    HONDA 599,429 -23.6 -3.7 6.9
    NISSAN 429,866 -18.2 +1.8 5.0
    HYUNDAI 282,443 +55.8 +55.9 3.3
    MAZDA 121,478 -22.2 -1.2 1.4
    CHRYSLER 187,308 -47.6 -29.7 2.2
    SUZUKI 3,774 -81.0 -99.5 ?
    VW 149,187 -16.0 +15.8 1.7

    There are many more listed, this is just a few.

    online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html
  • For some reason my stats on the post got jammed togather, they were apart.
    After the car maker is the total sales for the 2009 year, the next number is
    the percentage of sales compared to 2008, example (GM is -33.2) the next
    figure is the sales for October 2009, example (FORD is +10.7) and last is
    their % of US market share f/ 2009 sales. All of this is on the web site listed.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Amongst the top 20 vehicles at your link, the Fusion sales are one of the few showing a YTD increase at +15.3%. Camry is -23.7%, Accord -26.6%, Altima -29.8%, Malibu -12.8%.

    Legacy sales are also up, at +14.5%.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Good data. The WSJ publishes this market data every month. It's useful IMO but they don't keep prior months' data AFAIK.
  • Further down on that same website it shows Hyundai car sales went up
    55.9% in Oct 2009 over Oct. 2008. & +5.8% for the year.

    For more sales stats including some monthly reports try the following
    site.

    enter on Google search line; monthly breakdown US car sales
    scroll down to "monthly sales results GM inside news forum" it covers
    many car lines.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    There's been several posts in the past 24 hours related to comparative pricing of mid-sized sedans. The general theme was, "Toyotas and Hondas are priced thousands more than Fords, Hyundai/Kias etc."

    I follow pricing closely (a "hobby" I guess) and what I see is that the prices of, for example, the Fulan and Sonata are getting very close to those of the Camry. It's hard for me to keep up with pricing on the Accord, because for some reason none of my area Honda dealers advertise prices... ever (except lease deals). But I can still see price samples in the forums here.

    Take for example the base Camry AT compared to the base Sonata AT:

    2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS AT: MSRP $20,620, Invoice $19,776 (has $1000 rebate)
    Sonata Price, Invoice less rebate: $18,776
    2010 Ford Fusion S AT: MSRP $21,220, Invoice $19,791 (has $1500 rebate)
    Fusion Price, Invoice less rebate: $18,291
    2010 Toyota Camry Base AT: MSRP $21,195, Invoice $19,659 (has $500 rebate)
    Camry Price, Invoice less rebate: $19,159

    Of course it's possible that there are "hidden" incentives that would bring prices down further. But invoice less rebates wise, the base Camry is only $383 more expensive than the base Sonata, and only $868 more than the base Fusion. Not $2000 more, or even $1000 more. Interestingly, the Fusion is nearly $500 less than the Sonata; there is a common perception that Hyundai is the "low priced" brand (with Kia). That appears to be changing.
  • wayne21wayne21 Posts: 221
    For a long time, fleet sales had been dominated by GM, Chrysler and Ford. (Fleet sales are those made to government and commercial enterprises such as rental car companies).
    Fleet sales tend to hurt residual values because cars sold to fleets usually end up on the auction block as used vehicles after a short period of time.

    Since there's a lot of these cars coming up for sale, it drives down the prices.

    Car buyers who purchase vehicles that are sold heavily to fleets can expect the value of their car to drop very fast, as has been the case with many Chrysler and GM cars that are mainly used as rental cars. This has hurt GM and Chrysler and so they've been cutting back on sales to fleets.

    The largest seller of fleet vehicles is now Hyundai followed closely by Nissan. The percentage of cars sold to fleets is 34% for Hyundai and 29% for Nissan. As a comparison, only 15% of GM vehicles are now sold to fleets.

    ----------------------------------
    While most automakers are reporting double-digit drops in sales each month, Hyundai and Kia continue to swim against the current and maintain (or even increase) units sold. According to Automotive News, a significant part of their success is attributable to fleet sales – large numbers of cars going directly into rental and corporate fleets. During the first quarter of 2009 alone, more than 33 percent of Hyundai's first quarter sales of 95,854 units were fleet related. Rental car sales represented nearly 35 percent of Kia's sales during the same period.

    The above two articles were in separate papers. Yes, Hyundai sales are up this year. However, an individual purchaser of those cars will see the value drop real fast as hyundai has been increasing their numbers via fleet sales. Are they going with fleet sales because they didn't learn from GM/Ford or do they not care who they sell to just so long as the increase their numbers? IDK
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    Your argument is correct if going by published prices, even invoice, and published rebates/incentives but falls apart when actual street prices are used. Toyota, Honda and VW usually, don't offer dealer discounts nearly as deep as Hyundai/Mazda/Ford/Chev etc. so street prices are still quite a bit less.

    In Chicago, Sonatas are routinely sold for about $2000 to $3000 less than a comparable Camcord. May be a little closer in Minny but I'm sure it's similar.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    Are they going with fleet sales because they didn't learn from GM/Ford or do they not care who they sell to just so long as the increase their numbers?

    Talking about Hyundai/Kia above. Something to consider----Could Hyundai be trying to get more people into their cars as a form of advertisement? A lot of people bash or ignore Hyundais but have never driven one. Since their resale value is already quite crappy, maybe they figure that a short term burst in rental fleets may give people the chance to try them or at least give the perception that they are more mainstream. Just a thought but they seem to have been doing a lot of things right lately so I tend not to condemn their actions so quickly.
  • Which is precisely why the Chairman has to step up and state that he's not at all satisfied with the company...

    ------------------------------------------------

    Toyota's Chairman really laid it on the line in that speech. It sounded like a profuse apology to Toyota faithful around the world because it was.....

    One of Toyota's problems, other than Japanese issues in general which are significant also, is they have grown so big it becomes difficult to change course with any speed. Like an aircraft carrier trying to turn, they have been slow to respond. They opened the door and many companies, most notably Hyundai, stepped up their game.

    I credit Toyota for maintaining huge dollars in retained earnings to weather this storm. The will prosper in the future by pandering to the masses but need to inject some excitement in the brand that has been lacking for years. They also need to work with their North American dealers who have run off many customers with "We're the Best!" attitudes.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,686
    Actually, using "street" lease prices, Camrys and Accords are some of the lowest-priced mid-sizers out there, along with the Altima and Mazda6, which have attractive lease deals right now. Note I didn't mention VW in my earlier post--their new-car prices are significantly higher, e.g. for the Passat, than for most other mid-sized family sedans.

    From what I've noticed, Toyota offers some pretty big "hidden" incentives, as does Honda. For example, I see in the Edmunds Prices Paid discussion Hondas purchased around the country for well below invoice. Yet there are no published incentives/rebates. So there must be hidden money to the dealers there someplace.

    From what I've seen lately, the going price for a Sonata GLS AT in the Twin Cities is around $18k with the general rebate of $1000, and less when other rebates like military rebate are applied. That isn't much less than what I see Camrys going for. For Accords, it's harder to tell, as I mentioned Honda dealers advertise only lease rates in my area. Interesting that Honda dealers advertise their prices in Chicago, while they don't do it 500 miles away in the Twin Cities. I would suspect collusion amongst the Twin Cities Honda dealers, but that's illegal so that can't be the reason. ;)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You'll love this then... in one certain region no Toyota dealer has advertised any new car price in nearly 4 years!! Ditto Honda. The dealers don't fight in the paper or on the radio. You'd be surprised what that does for transaction prices.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    You'll love this then... in one certain region no Toyota dealer has advertised any new car price in nearly 4 years!!

    Gee, are you going to let us in on the secret region? :confuse:
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,954
    Camry and Accord lease prices are cheaper because they can use a higher residual because of less depreciation. This is very tempting to people that are on the "monthly rental plan".

    I've seen deals on the Accord and Camry prices as well but usually at end of year and before new and improved versions hit the showrooms. I spent a lot of time in Minny the last two years and watched the car prices in the papers. I noticed that a lot of dealers up there put in "from" or "starting at" and a price. Not too many Chicago dealers do that. They might only have one of something but they advertise the actual selling price. Anyway, Sonata GLS AT are usually going for about $16500 here and Camry LE AT are going for about $18500. That's day in day out. Add in a situation where redesigns are involved and I think you would see even a wider spread between the Sonata and the Camry.

    Honda dealers list lease prices only about 80% of the time down here . About the only prices you see will be base Civic or base Accord prices and maybe an Odyssey once in awhile. However, there are a couple of dealers that will use lease prices on about 4 advertised models and then throw in a Civic DX manual for a low ball price. I highly doubt that car would be available when you get to the dealer though. "Gee, it's been sold already even though it's only 9am on the day of the ad and you're the first one through the door".
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