Toyota managed to hold onto the title of world's No. 1 automaker last year, despite numerous safety recalls that took a toll on its sales. Toyota sold 8.42 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, enough to barely edge out resurgent General Motors, which rang up sales of 8.39 million.
With U.S. automotive dominance waning, a new moniker has emerged: the "Detroit Three." Still, don't count out Ford, GM or Chrysler. Their post-recession future looks strong, thanks to some agonizing restructuring. Now, they can be profitable selling fewer cars.
Automakers recalled more vehicles last year than in any of the last six years. And while Toyota Motors accounted for much of the growth, with problems including unintended acceleration and glitchy brakes, many other car manufacturers also saw their recalls increase.
Chrysler has finally decided to jump on the hybrid bandwagon, announcing Wednesday that it is working with the EPA to develop a hydraulic hybrid powertrain for its vehicles. The system, which stores energy derived from vehicle braking as pressure, could improve fuel economy by 30% to 35%.
Ford will spend $400 million to upgrade its Kansas City, Mo., plant after production of the current Ford Escape compact SUV moves to another facility. It's the fourth North American plant that Ford has overhauled or plans to as it seeks to reinvigorate its vehicle lineup.
The smallest of the Detroit Three, Chrysler has made substantial strides in turning around its business, including lowering the number of vehicles it needs to sell to make a profit. The automaker had pegged 1.65 million as its operating break-even point, but has just lowered this to about 1.5 million vehicles.
The United Auto Workers union has been bleeding members, with fewer than 400,000 at the end of 2009. With a purportedly more collaborative attitude, the group plans to unionize foreign auto manufacturers with factories in the U.S.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Tuesday, Ford and Chrysler both announced plans to introduce a host of new models. Ford will add seven vehicles with "truly unique Lincoln DNA" to its luxury line, while Chrysler has its eyes on new pickups, a revived Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and possibly, a 'mini-minivan.'
New models from Ford and Toyota drew the hottest interest Monday as the North American International Auto Show opened in Detroit: Each announced several electric and hybrid vehicles, including an electric Focus and a plug-in Prius.
Italian automaker Fiat increased its stake has in Chrysler Group to 25% after the U.S. automaker met a key goal by starting engine production at a plant in Dundee, Mich., the company said Monday during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Taking the name of VW's existing midsize entry, the new Passat is more than just a fresh design. The vehicle brings with it a commitment by the German automaker to resume building cars in the U.S. for the first time in decades, at its new $1 billion in Tennessee.
GM's long-anticipated plug-in electric hybrid hatchback picked up top honors at the huge auto industry show. The Volt was joined by Ford Motor's Explorer midsize sports-utility vehicle, which was awarded North American Truck of the Year.
The nation's leading trade association for car dealers says it now sees industry sales of nearly 13 million vehicles this year, topping last year's by 12%. The rise is attributed to pent-up demand, loosening credit and a rising stock market.