• Jun 8th 2008 at 1:54PM
  • 36
Automotive times are a-changin, as fuel-efficient cars are now outselling trucks by a wide margin. Toyota's flexible manufacturing capabilities allow it to adjust to these crazy times, and the Japanese automaker is discussing a plan to build still more Camrys at its Indiana truck plant. The Princeton plant is only running two shifts right now, and its trucks and SUVs are suffering just as much as similar offerings coming out of Detroit. That makes the plant a great fit for the Camry, which sold an astonishing 51,291 units last month. Honda has already decided to increase production of the Civic, which was the top-selling vehicle in the US last month with over 53,000 units leaving the showroom floor.

[Source: Auto News (subs req'd)]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some postings are getting strangely placed. I responded to one about a truck bed and it's in a place where it looks ridiculous.

      I don't want to look ridiculous here........really, I don't.
      I want to appear as a normal mallard duck who's interested in cars. QUACK!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lots of fast cars are driven slowly around here. ANY car can go fast enough for S.F. traffic. There is no need for a fast car so long as it has enough power to be safe.

      No, you don't NEED power to get yourself out of a jam because people who drive adequately-powered cars know their cars' limits and drive accordingly.

      Too many drivers in fast cars take more stupid risks and that's what causes crashes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Even if oil comes back down, I think people's minds have shifted a bit with the spike in gas prices."

      Care to quess how many times I've heard that before? From the late 50' early 60's (rise of the compacts) 70's fuel crisis and now. Prices stabilze even at higher prices and large returns. It will take more than fuel prices to change mind sets.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a very pro GM supporter that is now disgruntled.


      "As for Toyota, it announced its Earth Charter in 1992. U.S. gas prices: $1.04 per gallon. A concept car called the Prius was unveiled in 1995. Gas prices: $1.08. In 1997, the Prius hit the Japanese market. Gas prices: $1.23. Toyota sold 18,000 in its first year.

      The Prius entered the U.S. market in 2000, when gas prices peaked at $1.68. Fifty-five hundred were sold over a six-month period. That wasn't exactly a financial windfall, but patience and foresight are virtues.

      By 2002, worldwide Prius sales topped 100,000. Peak gas prices: $1.46. By 2007, that number reached 1 million. Peak gas prices: $3.22. Game, set, match.

      Meanwhile, the Big Three are converting gas-guzzling SUVs into modestly less gas-guzzling SUVs."
        • 7 Years Ago
        I loved this part:

        "Meanwhile, the Big Three are converting gas-guzzling SUVs into modestly less gas-guzzling SUVs."
        • 7 Years Ago
        Scion sales have been on a decline? Haha.....righhhhhttttttttt....the demand is climbing every day. Yes, even the xD.
        • 7 Years Ago
        if they're sooo smart, perhaps you can explain why they spent hundreds of millions on the Tundra plant outside of San Antonio. were they looking for a tax write-off?

        the real truth is the Japanese walked (or ran) away from the small car market for the greener pastures of mid size and larger cars, SUVs, and full size trucks, just like their American counterparts. they went where the money was; it's NOT in small cars. they left the small car market to the Koreans.

        with the exception of the Prius, the only small car "bones" they've thrown us are a few JDM vehicles (Fit, Yaris, Versa) to fill some small spaces in their showrooms. it's truly scary to see folks getting excited about 35 MPG. in the 80's, that would have been the city MPG for a large number of subcompact cars.

        after living thru every gas crisis since the first one in 1973, I'm not remotely worried. this one is different in the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with either supply OR world issues. the taps are freely flowing, and there is no crisis in the world blocking the Strait of Hormuz, like it was during the crisis with Iran in '79.

        the futures traders who have driven the price to it's present ridiculous level have no direct interest in oil; the commodity could be hog bellies, corn or peanut futures to them. things are going to be changing soon, as the government is very actively pursuing investigations into the futures traders right now.

        for those with any insight, this is the time to turn someone else's loss into your gain. I just took a friend down yesterday who bought an '07 Nissan Titan SE 2WD pickup with 11,000 miles for $12,500. the window sticker was in the glove box; the MSRP was over $30K.

        while I was there, I stopped to look at a Versa. had to laugh; the EPA showed 24/31. I had driven down to the dealership in my Buick Park Avenue; the average MPG was right at 29.4, and that was for about 50/50 mixed driving. on the road, it gets just under 34 MPG.

        perhaps that explains all the Versas in inventory, as well as the rebates.

          • 7 Years Ago
          Azmike: shed your dogma so you may see the light. The big three have been making the so-called "profit-laden" trucks since ages and lose money year after year while toyota and honda make mostly cars and yet the report billions in profit year after year. Look man...who's the one running from Trucks to cars now huh?
          Most of your accounts are lies and fabrications. Your mind is too clouded to think straight. clear the xenophobia and you will see the light.
          for your information Buick park avenue isn't better on gas than versa (we are not that dumb to believe ur story).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Toyota deserves all the sales it gets from making what should have been a safe gamble in the Prius.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wouldn't really put any trust in the EPA's numbers anymore. Journalists here (I'm known to complain about their mileage numbers a lot, since they pretty much overdo anything) could average 34MPG in the Versa. Now, take into consideration its size and the fact that it relies on the biggest engine of the entry-level cars (in the US, in Canada it's actually the old VW 2.0 in two other Canadian-exclusive vehicles) to move itself around... An engine which I believe was in the Sentra before. It isn't exactly an engineering benchmark... But the fact of the matter is, it comes with segment exclusive features and it's sized like a midsize car.

        As for all the Japs dropping out of the compact car game... Well, I can agree with you for Nissan... But Toyota and Honda? No, both companies have kept building competitive and even segment-leading (in sales, if not in product) vehicles instead of letting their small cars rot.

        Toyota has plenty of small cars for you to chose from, while GM's main brand only has 3... But the HHR is now classed as a CUV and it's never really been that interesting to buyers, mainly due to his style... While Toyota's styling, albeit not the nicest works for Joe Blow and his wife... And they've got 3 Scions to chose from, the Yaris, the Corolla and the Matrix... Not to mention a better 4-cylinder midsize than the Malibu (features being the only reason - 5-speed vs. 4-speed for instance).

        Pontiac isn't a volume brand and its dealerships are rarely if ever attached to Chevy's (which explains why I'm including Scion in the mix), therefore taking two rebadged (eventually three, unless the G3 is headed for one of your territories) can't really being taken as serious offerings. As for Saturn? Well, yeah, only one small car and it's priced higher than a Volks... While the Volks offers a lot more power for the price (the same doesn't apply in Canada)... Not to mention it only comes in an hatch form right now, and God knows how Americans LOVE hatchbacks (they do, if they have a considerable amount of ground clearance)!

        As for the other American automakers? Well, do I really have to say anything? None of them have subcompacts and their compacts are mediocre at best... Mediocre also comes to mind when it's time to talk about their fuel economy (I wish the XFE Cobalt would get a better auto... dang - it may get segment leading highway mileage, but that's with the manual... And not everyone drives a manual, especially commuters).

        And before I get jumped on by my fellow domestic fanboys, I'll just point out that I'm a GM guy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "You cannot restrict GM to their "main brand" and then count Scion too, well, not unless you're just looking to rig stats to make your point."

        Scion is sold along Toyotas, no exceptions.

        And the Matrix... I don't know if it's marketed as a CUV in the US, but the Matrix and Vibe aren't marketed as such in Canada... But still, it's considered by most buyers as a family version of the Corolla/Corolla hatch, it fills the niche. If the Vibe would be a Chevy I'd take it way more into account, but it's a Pontiac, and Pontiac isn't a volume brand in the US (you could argue that neither is Scion, but again, Scions are ALWAYS sold alongside Toyotas, while Pontiac is not).

        I guess it really depends on how you view things, but ever since Geo went away GM's small [COMPETITIVE] car offerings have been crippled.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Pardon the numerous grammatical mistakes (i.e.: His styling rather than its), it's just that I'm typing a lot today in both French and English.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Toyota has 2 small cars to choose from, unless you count the Matrix, then it is 3, same as GM.

        You cannot restrict GM to their "main brand" and then count Scion too, well, not unless you're just looking to rig stats to make your point.

        You say buyers aren't interested in the HHR but are interested in Scions? Sales figures say the opposite. The HHR has sold well, while Scion sales have been on an enormous slide.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Toyota added about 5 SUVs to their lineup in the same time period, including enormous ones like the Sequoia and TWO body-on-frame Lexus SUVs. If they're so damn smart and eco-minded, why did they switch their lineup to have so many SUVs?

        I do agree Toyota deserves the spoils from their wise move of developing the Prius. But they also sold a lot of gas guzzlers for the dame reason Detroit did. Which is because that's what the customer wanted to buy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is a lot of speculation about there being a bubble i the commodities market, and that this will mean oil may come down significantly in price in the near future. There may be a wait and see approach being taken to see what consumers are planning on doing, according the what the price of oil does.

      Aside from that, I really don't understand why people call the camry ugly. I see more and more on the roads here in Phoenix and they are great looking cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well considering oil just spiked again I think we have a while before it comes back down. Combined with certain Israelis talking about attacking Iran and the market is not looking good.

        If it blows up over there I fully expect oil to hit 200 and all cars will stop selling as people don't spend money.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Even if oil comes back down, I think people's minds have shifted a bit with the spike in gas prices. Full size trucks will not in the near future be as big a part of Toyota's product mix as they once thought they would be. So making a change like this seems like a good idea.

        Full size trucks aren't going away, cause they are needed to do real work. But their importance as a style vehicle has been impacted in the near and mid term if not forever.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't see the price of oil coming down in the near future at all. Supply and Demand combined with the fact that less oil was pumped out of the ground this year then 3 years ago, and you have a recipe for higher prices for the stuff then ever before.
      • 7 Years Ago
      More of these boring cars driven by the some of the slowest drivers on the road.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Now that gas prices have hit a point where there is no looking back... unless they start developing higher mpg trucks, they are doomed. People are starting to realize that they can save hundreds of dollars in monthly gas expenses by dumping their truck and going with a more fuel efficient vehicle. There is a great site http://www.MPGDude.com that shows exactly that. People are trading in trucks and tuck dealerships are bombing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The main reason why the price of oil rises this frightening high so quickly has more to do with the depreciation of the US$ than anything else...

      The high price is so much unappealing that Iran had stopped accepting the US$ as payment since Dec '07. Japan has already been paying it's oil purchases to Iran via the Yen...


      There is talk that Iran is being targeted as the "next war" due mainly to their refusal to accept the US$ as oil payments and not much so for their nuclear ambitions...

      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry the coment had a typo, corrected version (and more exclamation):

      Second miracle in history... I agree with you for 2nd time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Why in a car speedometer appears 120 - 140 mph or more if the law does not allow to drive to this speed????????????

      I said that for a normal use car

      I don't now if this is your point, but... Doesn't make sense?????????????
      • 7 Years Ago
      Many car lots are not taking big trucks and SUVs in trade unless they have a buy order from a wholesaler.

      The times are a changin'.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There was an article in "The Wall Street Journal" a day or 2 ago about the wisdom of buying a truck or large SUV if you don't drive much.

      The deals being offered by GM on some very fine, but uneconomical vehicles can be quite compelling if you drive only a few thousand (or hundred?) miles per year.

      Certainly, for comfort and safety, if you DO drive quite a bit, and can live with a fairly large sedan, the new Honda Accord is a superb car.

      As the owner of an '04 Accord EX-L (leather seats and 4 cylinder engine) I'd recommend the Accord to anybody who wants quality at a fair price. I'm sure Camry-lovers would say the same and I wouldn't argue with them. The Chevy Malibu is another winner and I hope GM sells zillions of them because they deserve to IMO.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You should take a look at used SUV prices...I read that same article and looked some up...man...I have no idea who these people are, but there are actually people who are trying to sell their 2-3 year old Lincoln Navigators now...it's pretty insane to see 3 year old Navigators with low miles going for $25K.

        It's so insane that I was almost ready to buy one just because, but then I looked up how much the fuel bill for one of these beasts was and realized I'd have to bike everywhere because I'd only be able to drive it half as much if I wanna be able to afford to fill it up.

        Oh well. But seriously though if you're some city slicker who takes the subway most of the time but you have a parking spot big enough to hold a massive SUV it might not be a bad idea for a vehicle just for insane Costco hauling trips, and mass group road trips or something.

        And if you're lucky gas will get cheaper next year and maybe you'll make some money selling it off before gas goes up again lol.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's what happened in 1974 after the late '73, OPEC-driven "Oil Crisis" that killed demand for large sedans and drove people to overpay for Ford Pintos, Chevy Vegas, and other awful junk.

        Some people nearly stole big Buicks and similar cars that were traded for sub-compacts that were not good cars, but used much less gas.

        When gas prices fell, those who bought the gas-hogs looked smart.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Why isn't it already done?

      If you listen to people on autoblog, Toyota and Honda's flex system means this can be done in an instant.

      If they want to do this, and they can do it merely by loading new software, why isn't it done already?
        • 7 Years Ago
        They can't do it instantly unless they make parts onsite.

        Suppliers still have to respond accordingly, to my knowledge.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh, joy. More Camrys.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because the Indiana plant is a flex plant but not as advanced as the Honda plant in Allison Ontario Canada.
        Please compare apples to apples. The Honda plant can go from Ridgeline to Civic to Pilot to Odyssey in a very short time. The Accord plant in Ohio can as well but not in a short time.
        We have rigid plants like the Ford Super Duty plant in Kentucky. It cant do anything but make Super Dutys. Feast or famine
        Then we have flex plants like most of the Asian manufacturers and some of the Big three. Oakville is Flex.
        Then we have these really flexible plants like the Honda mentioned above.

        Anyways going from Seqouia to Camry on an assembly line is still impressive.
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