June 15, 2012
Honda Leads Surging North American Auto Output with 67% Increase
According to Automotive News, Honda Motor Co. has raised output at North American plants by the fastest pace of any carmaker in the region this year as the company pushes to reclaim U.S. market share lost to competitors and natural disasters in 2011. Honda plants in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico built 748,217 cars and light trucks in the year's first five months, a record for the period and 67 percent more than a year earlier, according to the company. Toyota Motor Corp., Asia's biggest automaker, followed with a 64 percent North American increase to 787,777 vehicles. "We've been doing everything we can to make up for lost time," Tom Lake, Honda's head of North American purchasing, said last month in an interview in Raymond, Ohio. Honda and Toyota are targeting gains of 10 percent or more in U.S. sales this year after losing ground to South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. Honda, Toyota, and Nissan Motor Co. are also racing to limit exposure to a sustained rise in the yen against the dollar. Click here for the latest on Honda’s North American output.
Romney: Ban Japan from Free Trade Talks
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn't support including Japan in free-trade talks, a spokeswoman said Thursday. The Detroit News reports that U.S. automakers are sharply opposed to allowing Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, arguing that the Asian nation hasn't done enough to open its market to U.S. auto exports. "Governor Romney does not support including Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations at this time," campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said. "Governor Romney believes reaching a trade agreement with Japan or including them in TPP would have enormous benefits for the American economy, but the governor also recognizes that negotiating such an agreement and ensuring open access to the Japanese market would take time." Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, a trade adviser to Romney, recently said the Obama administration should include Japan, Canada, and Mexico in the talks. The Trans-Pacific Partnership talks currently include Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Japan, Canada, and Mexico have asked to join the talks. AIADA supports Japan’s inclusion in the TPP. Read AIADA Chairman Ray Mungenast’s response to those who oppose Japan’s inclusion in TPP talks here. For the latest on Japan’s attempt to join TPP talks, click here.
Kia Promotes Three to Executive VP Roles
Kia Motors America on Thursday announced the appointments of three leaders to executive vice president positions, reports Auto Remarketing. KMA President and chief executive officer Byung Mo Ahn said Tom Loveless, Michael Sprague, and John Yoon were each promoted. The automaker went on to stress the impact each has had in their respective areas of management (Loveless in sales, Sprague in marketing and communications, and Yoon in human resources/administration, legal and diversity relations). “Kia Motors has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past several years, with Tom, Michael and John each playing important roles in the brand’s success and momentum,” Ahn said. “One of our company’s core values is people, and we are dedicated to recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance and providing team members with opportunities to grow.” Loveless has the brand’s consistent growth, including best-ever year-end market share totals each year, and 21 consecutive monthly sales records through May 2012. Meanwhile, during Sprague’s tenure, the company’s marketing activities expanded to include Super Bowl advertising and its award-winning hamster marketing campaigns for the Soul urban passenger vehicle. Yoon oversaw the design and construction of Kia’s $130 million corporate campus here. Click here for more on the promotion of three of Kia’s executives.
Underrated Cars of 2012
For American consumers, a few names immediately spring to mind when considering great cars: the BMW 5 Series, Honda Accord, Toyota Highlander. With exquisite handling, great gas mileage, and comfortable interiors, these are the go-to automobiles of enthusiasts and daily commuters alike. According to CNBC, there are also lesser-known vehicles – or at least less obvious ones – that get the job done just as well but don’t command the same respect as their better-known counterparts. These underrated cars are the dark horses, and though they may not be household nameplates, they have as much to offer as those that have achieved legendary status. The cars on this list were provided by Karl Brauer, CEO and editor-in-chief of TotalCarScore.com, an online review aggregator and information resource for cars currently on the market. “These cars and SUVs not only earn impressive Total Car Scores, they actually score better than many nameplates long considered best in class,” he said in an e-mail. Click here to read on and see which coupes, sedans, and SUVs made TotalCarScore.com’s list of underrated cars of 2012.
Aluminum Car Doors, Frames on Horizon as Automakers Diet
The global push to improve fuel efficiency in vehicle fleets will more than double demand for aluminum in the auto industry by 2025, Alcoa's director of automotive marketing said this week. Carmakers from BMW to Audi have already started to plan for tougher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and are beginning to move away from heavier steel body frames to lighter-weight material in what should be the "next frontier" for the aluminum industry, Randall Scheps told delegates at the American Metal Market's Aluminum Summit in New York. "Carmakers are basically reacting to increases in fuel economy requirements and regulations. Every major market around the world is tightening fuel standards," Scheps said. According to Automotive News, German automaker BMW has steadily been increasing its use of the metal in recent years. Schepps anticipated this transition from steel-bodied frames to lighter-weighted aluminum to more than double the industrial metal's overall rate of consumption in the auto market from 11.5 million tons in 2011 to 24.8 million tons by 2025. By then, the amount of aluminum in an average car will grow from the current 343 lbs to 550 lbs. Click here for more on the move by automakers toward aluminum as a lightweight vehicle material.
AROUND THE WEB Sponsored by Federated Insurance
In honor of Father's Day, AIADA brings you some of our favorite auto commercials starring Dad.
Swagger Wagon [Toyota]
Baby Driver [Subaru]
VW Polo Dad [Volkswagen]