Will Ford and Chevy Squeeze Toyota?

Will Ford and Chevy Squeeze Toyota?

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Now that everyone realizes that Toyota is peopled by mere mortals, the top selling car brand in the United States may soon be relinquishing that position.

Through 2006, Ford dominated the US market by finishing first 19 out of 20 years, but was pushed out by Chevrolet and Toyota who finished 1-2 in 2007. In 2008, Toyota and Chevrolet switched positions, but for 2009 Ford is expected to finish ahead of Chevrolet and close the gap with Toyota.

Will Toyota Slide?

When 2010 is said and done, both Ford and Chevrolet could zoom past Toyota although the prospects for Ford moving ahead appear to be much brighter than Chevy. Still, with the all new compact Cruze set to hit showrooms next summer, Chevrolet will have a strong model to go up against the likes of the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic and will beat the all new Ford Focus to the market. Ford’s Fiesta will give it an important boost in the subcompact market, targeting the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit in the process.

America’s auto industry has been in retreat for decades with Chrysler falling the furthest behind. Quality issues, an unbalanced product mix, and buyer preference for better priced/valued foreign makes have furthered that decline.

But the fortunes of each automaker have turned over the past 12-18 months. Bad publicity has followed Toyota in spades this year due to several high profile product recalls and consumer investigations of various Lexus and Toyota models. Those events followed an important decision made by Consumer Reports in 2007 to stop automatically recommending Toyotas after finding that reliability had slipped.

GM Resurgence

On the surface, GM appears to be floundering having dumped two CEOs within the same year, with a $60 billion federal structured bankruptcy reordering between these two events. Saturn and Pontiac are being closed down, a deal finalizing the sale of Hummer is just weeks away, and Saab may be sold off I pieces. The Opel debacle may prove to be a bold about face as GM’s board asserts its authority and declares the brand essential to its ongoing global product development and market position.

And then there is the Chevy Cruze, likely to become the single most important car sold by GM ever. Yes, you heard it from me: across its many brands including GM Daewoo, Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Chevrolet the Cruze and its related models will easily account for the top model in the GM fleet no matter whether it is called the Daewoo Lacetti Premiere, Opel Astra, Holden Cruze, or some other name. This is GM’s first true global car, a model that will be sold wherever GM models are sold in the world. Importantly, the quality, engineering, technology, and price will be a huge factor, something already apparent as the car is introduced market by market.

Ford Emergence

Ford has proven that its cars meet the same quality levels enjoyed by Toyota and Honda, something that isn’t be lost on consumers as they shop for a new car. The Fusion is siphoning sales in the midsize segment, while the Fiesta and later the all new Focus will give the automaker a stronger presence at the lower end of the market.

Hocking the company’s assets before the recession began in late 2007 has made Alan Mulally a hero in for Ford. The decision to bring up to six European models to the US market also refocused the automaker, expanding Ford’s strength globally.

Approaching Hoofbeats

Though 2010 may do much to propel Ford and Chevrolet, from 2011 and beyond we may see Volkswagen and Hyundai move up the ranks too, perhaps surpassing Chrysler followed by Nissan a few years later.

Few customers really care about who is first, second, third, etc., but there is one reason to be glad that the automakers are duking things out: everyone is working harder to bring better built, higher valued, and more technologically advanced cars to the market. While prices will continue to go up, stiff competition will ensure for many years that the cream of the crop are the vehicles most likely to give buyers years of driving satisfaction.

See Also: Toyota’s No. 1 — but Ford’s on the muscle

Adv. – If you’re planning to buy a new car, a thorough study of the IIHS results can ensure that the vehicle you buy is a safe one. As you do your research you’ll want to get a quote or find a dealer to set up a test drive. Importantly, arranging your own auto financing can save you hundreds of dollars, allowing you to take the manufacturer’s rebate instead of their low-rate financing.

Photo Source: Ford Motor Company


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Categories: Autos Express

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".