Public disdain for small cars means Ford is going to take U.S. production behind the barn and shoot it.
That,Â Toyota practices good corporate citizenry, Honda worries it can’t build enough CR-Vs, and BMW Films returns with a new action-drenched short starring Clive Owen and the new 5 Series…Â after the break!
Ford is abandoning the small car in the U.S. and Mexico gets the scraps
Changing consumer preferences has led toÂ Ford’s plan to end small-car production in the U.S. by 2018. With incentive spending now higher than ever on cars, the company has finally said enough is enough.
“You can only go so far in terms of trying to entice customers to purchase those kinds of products,” FordÂ CEO Mark FieldsÂ said in an interview with Automotive News. “We’ll focus on some of the segments where customers are migrating towards, whether it’s SUVs or pickup trucks, and we’re doing nicely there.”
Ford is still going to make small cars, but they will be produced in Mexico.
The plan isn’t meant to eliminate American jobsÂ â€” it’s merely a shift of production priorities. For the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, that means no more C-Max and Focus. Instead, Ford shouldÂ be repurposing the facility to produce the returning Ranger pickup and Bronco SUV. Fields didn’t confirm those vehicles specifically but claims workers there will be in a better position than they are today. Employees at the Michigan Assembly Plant have dealt with week-long layoffs due to the reduced demand for small cars.
With the Escape SUV outselling the C-Max byÂ 23,637 units last month, and basically every other month, the shift away from small cars shouldn’t be all that surprising.Â In a way it’s a homecoming for the factory, as it produced theÂ Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs until 2009.
Toyota is trying to make a good impression on Plano, Texas
As constructionÂ on its gargantuan new U.S. headquarters continues, Toyota is making the rounds and trying to be a good corporate neighbor. According to Automotive News, the company is teaming up with the city of Plano, Texas, where the headquarters is being built, along with localÂ municipalities, businesses, and transit agencies to conduct a study on how to reduce traffic congestion and improve public transportation.
Toyota has already given a million dollar grant to theÂ Dallas Area Rapid Transit District toÂ subsidize taxis for disabled and elderly residents travelling to doctor appointments. DART took over the service from a private provider that had run aground with financial issues, but immediately ran into problems itself, having only enough funding to last another 90 days.
It makes sense for a company to put its best face forward when it’s moving house and Toyota knows exactly how to do so.Â The Toyota Mobility Foundation has previouslyÂ collaborated with nonprofit organizations and governments on dealing with urban transportation challenges and personal mobility issues.
“The philosophy that we have is really all about this idea of shared value,” said Latondra Newton, CEOÂ for the foundation. “We can actually do great things with others in society and make a significant impact, but also bring value back into our business.”
HondaÂ can’t build CR-Vs fast enough
Honda sells a staggering number of CR-Vs and, despite its best efforts, cannot quite reach the industry-averaged 65 days worth of supply for light trucks.Â WardsAutoÂ data showsÂ CR-V supply in late September was only at 54 days.
To fix this, the companyÂ has already announced that it will send CR-V production to accompany the Civic inÂ Greensburg, Indiana. The company also makes the immensely popular SUV inÂ East Liberty, Ohio, and Alliston, Ontario. ButÂ CEO Takahiro Hachigo believes they could be doing even better in meeting demand. Hachigo told Automotive News that due to the forthcoming redesigned CR-V and updates on other models, Honda may consider exporting more vehicles from JapanÂ â€”Â which often suffers fromÂ overcapacity.
“If overseas plant capacity is getting close to full, then rather than make a new investment, we might think about getting more supply from another global plant,” he said.
Like Honda, Subaru has also strained to meet demand as a result ofÂ increasingly good sales this year. Subaruâ€™s U.S. market share has doubled compared to five years ago, and it could have done even better had it been prepared to meet the growing demand. Honda, which sells vehicles at a much higher volume than Subaru, knows this and doesn’t want to be caught with its pants around its ankles.
BMW Films takes us on another joyrideÂ
Back after a long hiatus since The Hire wrapped up in 2002, BMW Films’ first offering of The EscapeÂ web series went up on YouTube yesterday. It features Clive Owen reprising his role as the calmestÂ BMW driver in existence and features Dakota Fanning mumbling nonsense in the backseat amidst one of the best getaways cinema can offer.
But Fanning is really more of a supporting character, Owen’s real co-star of the action-oriented short filmÂ is the 2017 BMW 5 Series. ItÂ hurdlesÂ down off ramps and gracefully skids around everything the police and generic baddies can throw at it. Although one does wonder how the protagonist managed to snag the new 5-Series before it has even gone on sale.
While it’s not big on character development or exposition, directorÂ Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame was still thoughtful enough to include a story â€” and that storyÂ assertively crams about as much action as it can into the ten minute runtime.