Slingerlands, New York, United States
The sixth edition of the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards have crowned a wide range of winners - in a couple of cases the recipient of the laurels might say more about KBB users than they do about the actual winner. Compiled from the responses of more than 12,000 shoppers on KBB.com over the past year, there are 13 categories broken into non-luxury, luxury and truck segments "representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public."
The award categories have been revamped this year, with some dropping off, some new ones appearing and at least one other given a new term. What isn't surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn't on last year's list of awards.
On our own shores, in the non-luxury categories Chrysler got Most Refined Brand and Buick took Best Value Luxury Brand. Neither one of those marques won anything in last year's Brand Image Awards, while Cadillac, which won Best Interior Design Brand and Best Comfort Brand last year - those awards disappeared this year - went home without a single accolade.
Three months after kicking off production of the Ford Fusion at its Flat Rock, MI factory, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to trim output in the face of heavily discounted competition from Toyota and a growing supply of vehicles.
The addition of Fusion production in Flat Rock - which also builds the Mustang - was meant to be what pushed the handsome mid-sizer past its arch-nemesis, the Toyota Camry. An extra facility building Fusions was also meant to curb the growing demand for Ford's highly profitable sedan.
But with word that Flat Rock would take "approximately" one extra week off for the holidays combined with an 88-day supply of Fusions - reportedly due in no small part to what Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called "aggressive discounting of the Camry" - some analysts are now beginning to wonder if Ford may have overextended itself by adding a second Fusion facility to the mix.
Toyota has announced a set of voluntary recalls covering 960,000 Prius, RAV4, Tacoma and Lexus RX350 models in the United States to address two separate issues. Worldwide, Toyota will have to recall a total of 1.9 million Prius cars.
The Prius recall affects about 700,000 2010-2014 models in the US, due to a fault in the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software. It says that the current software could result in high temperatures on certain transistors and possibly damage them. When it fails, the error forces the car into failsafe mode. Toyota says that in rare circumstances, it could even shut the hybrid system down while the car is being driven.
Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada told Automotive News that the software update should take about 40 minutes, and dealers would start to be notified about affected vehicles today. She also told them that the first reported glitch occurred in May 2011 in the US when the system overheated and the car entered failsafe mode. The affected cars were built between March 2009 and Feb. 5, 2014, according to Automotive News. Toyota says that it has received no reports of accidents or injuries caused by either fault.