Guess who’s rising like a rocket toward the Number One spot in U.S. auto sales? Toyota!
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The Japanese car maker already now surpassed Ford for second place, while Honda has dumped DaimlerChrysler to take over the number four spot. America’s Big Three is no more, with Detroit’s auto line-up claiming barely half of our own market.
Japan’s surge is the direct result of its focus on high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles, while stodgy bosses in Detroit cluelessly keep pushing gas guzzlers in an age of $3 gasoline. For example, Toyota and Honda are scoring big with their new subcompact cars, but GM has only one small car for sale in America (made by its Korean partner) and Ford and Chrysler sell no subcompacts here. Meanwhile, sales of Ford’s SUVs plummeted by more than half in July.
But, by gollies, GM and Ford are fighting back! Not by rushing boldly into the fuel efficient market – instead, they’re both running promotional schemes to subsidize the gasoline prices of car buyers. In a July promotion, GM pledged to pay a third or more of the fuel costs for California and Florida customers who bought certain GM vehicles, including a big ol’ Suburban or (for godsake) a nine-mile-a-gallon Hummer. Ford went further. In a scheme it dubbed “Bold Moves,” anyone buying certain Fords (including its big honker SUVs) will get free gas for the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, as Americans are snapping up small cars, the geniuses in Detroit are rushing off in the opposite direction – both GM and Ford are resurrecting their old, souped-up muscle cars! At the same time, Ford says that its lousy sales record might mean more job cuts and plant closings.
This is Jim Hightower saying… So American workers and communities will pay the price for the boneheaded management failures and marketing incompetence of the high-priced guys up in Detroit’s executive suites. It is time to keep the workers… and fire the bosses.
“Detroit’s Answer to $3-$4 Gas: New Muscle Cars,” The New York Times, August 10, 2006.
“Toyota’s U.S. Sales Edge Pats Ford’s,” The New York Times, August 2, 2006.
“A Quick Fix for the Gas addicts,” The New York Times, May 31, 2006.
“Gas Addicts: Tax Them at the Pump,” The New York Times, June 2, 2006.
“G.M. – Again,” The New York Times, June 14, 2006.
“Bold Moves Happen everyday,” Ford Motor Company, 2006.
“Ford is Slashing Production for 4th Quarter,” The New