What is a mid-size car? Many consumers would think mid-size has something to actually do with the size of the car in physical dimensions, which is doesn't. The federal regulations that determine what class a car falls into actually have to do with interior combined passenger and cargo space.
For instance looking at the Toyota Prius, many would assume it to be a compact car. Its combined interior and storage space amounts to 110.6 cubic feet, slightly over the 110 cubic feet threshold that makes the Prius a mid-size car in the government's eyes.
Ford and Toyota are "cordially disagreeing" according to Toyota on the mileage claims that Ford is making for its new Fusion hybrid. Ford wants to market the Fusion hybrid, which has 111.6 cubic feet of combined interior space, as "the most fuel efficient mid-size car" with EPA economy estimates of 41 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway.
Toyota says that not only is its Prius a mid-size car according to federal regulations, but it gets better mileage than the Fusion with 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. The Fusion certainly looks more like a mid-size car than the Prius at about 800 pounds heavier, 16-inches longer, and 4-inches wider than the Prius according to USA Today.
Toyota spokesman Joe Tetherow said, "We are reviewing Ford's mileage claims for Fusion." The marketing claims are important to Ford as it tries to revamp its image to be more green and thus sale more cars in the face of slowing sales.
Ford says that it is comparing its Fusion hybrid to the Camry in its marketing claims. The Camry gets 33/34 mpg. Ford's Mark Truby says, "We've been pretty clear, probably annoyingly clear, to Toyota that we're comparing Fusion to Camry."
If Ford continues with its marketing efforts based on the current claims, Toyota could file suit or take the matter before the FCC. Truby says, "There's a process to work through. Sometimes there's an asterisk (in ads), clarifying why you think you can say that."
He continues saying, "Fusion (hybrid) is the most fuel-efficient midsize, in the way customers shop for cars. If we do use it in advertising, we'll say most fuel-efficient midsize 'sedan'." The Prius is a hatchback, not a sedan. Such wording would skirt Toyota's complaints.
Toyota issued a statement today saying, "It’s not exactly a squabble. What’s going on here is that we respectfully and cordially disagree on the definition of a midsize car. This is important when we’re discussing the EPA fuel-economy ratings of vehicles like the Camry Hybrid, the Prius and the Ford Fusion."
Toyota says that its 2010 Prius Hybrid has the virtually identical interior dimensions as the Fusion hybrid and is rated for 50 mpg in the city. Toyota goes on to say in the statement, "But look, here’s the deal: There’s a larger piece of business going on here, and it’s one in which we all can rejoice because no matter your brand preference, it points toward a national and societal good. It is that automotive fuel economy is on the rise. Not everywhere, and not as quickly as some might like. Technology, after all, rarely makes quantum leaps. More likely, it takes incremental steps."
quote: That Toyota or other foreign car may be made here, but the profits go overseas.
quote: In the 1990s, GM shut down a couple dozen plants and cut out over 75,000 jobs in the US while investing more than $1 billion in plants elsewhere. While that was happening, Toyota invested over $1 billion to build and expand plants in the US. Which activity do you think contributed more to the overall economic health of the US?
quote: They are also designed in Japan - no engineering careers over here.
quote: Japanese cars assembled here typically use more parts sourced from other countries, so their domestic content is lower. Even US cars assembled in Mexico and Canada for sale here probably have a higher domestic content than a lot of US-assembled imports.
quote: I put a lot more stock in a long term road test review from Edmunds or Car & Driver.
quote: Keep in mind that the American OEM's are targeting and winning some fame for the vaunted 90 day customer satisfaction rating of quality.
quote: One TV commercial actually claims "Ford is now rated higher in reliability than Toyota." Ha ! Please. Ford ??
quote: You're thinking is the MAIN reason why most US companies cannot adopt the Toyota or other Quality programs.
quote: The key word here is QUALITY!
quote: Those whom are in the business or the know will just as quick to turn their heads the other way when the big3 makes huge claims for fuel efficiency, better working environments and my favorite as of late "Quality the surpasses Toyota and Honda."
quote: TheOne speaks as if he's in the industry. Tom, you speak like a dealership salesman.
quote: I assume you reached that conclusion because he/she agrees with your own viewpoints?
quote: I can't believe the domestic support on this blog
quote: 30 years? The big 3 were making quality vehicles long before
quote: yet the foreign vehicles tend to die off around 200-300K miles, where the car is no longer usable (cheaper to sell for parts or crush it than it would be to spend $5000 worth of repairs to make it road-worthy).
quote: I can't believe the domestic support on this blog
quote: I think like many things it's hard to change established perception.
quote: Either way, it's still a loan. If your "bailout" is paid back, will you then call it a loan?
quote: . At any rate, I believe virtually any economist, banker, and hopefully historian would assert plainly that a company who receives assistance from the government that the private market would never provide is receiving a bailout versus what would have taken place otherwise.
quote: If you all want to argue merits of a bailout, thats fine. But for gods sake, be honest with what these things are. They're bailouts. Good bailouts or bad bailouts? You decide. But they're bailouts.
quote: Ford will be stiffed with the whole bill of holding up the UAW and competing with new debt free competitors.
quote: if management at any one of the automakers hadn't been so arrogant and taken the US buyer for granted, there would have been no agreements.
quote: You can claim it was a fair negotiation, but threat of literally zero line workers carries a lot of weight.
quote: ppl don't appreciate my sarcasim.
quote: everytime I see one going down the road I think to myself, "Douchebag."
quote: You're telling me the Fusion has 1 cu.ft. more interior space and it gets almost 10mpg less than the Prius?