Motor Co. handily dominated Strategic Vision’s tenth annual Total Value Index,
which is designed to measure which cars, trucks and crossovers provide the best
value for the dollar. But while
Toyota captured the most individual product
segments, Honda was the top-rated, full-line automaker.
But Honda fared poorly with its
Accord Hybrid. In fact, the new study provides a warning to automakers that
U.S. motorists expect significant
real-world mileage gains from hybrids – an area where several models, including
the Accord, fall short.
General Motors was the only one of
the domestic Big Three to stand tall in the latest survey by the
research firm, Strategic Visions. But considering the automaker’s broad product
range, GM still lagged well behind the best of the
“It’s more bad news for
Detroit,” said Strategic
Vision’s chief analyst, Dan Gorrell. The Big Three simply aren’t delivering the
same mix of product styling, performance, quality and high trade-in values that
and Honda to the top of this year’s chart, he explained.
Toyota brands captured
first place in seven separate product segments. These included three trucks and
three cars. Among the latter were two products from
Toyota ’s youth-oriented
Scion division, the Scion xA and xB models.
Toyota has had trouble
connecting with young American buyers, but with Scion, said Gorrell, the
automaker is beginning to repeat the success it scored with young Baby Boomers
30 years ago. “Scion is doing what it set out to do – which is to reinvigorate
brand,” stressed Gorrell.
Data for the 2005 Total Value
Study (or TVS) was collected early this year, prior to the run-up in fuel
prices, but it already indicated an increasing interest in fuel economy among
Toyota’s Prius hybrid-electric vehicle was
rated the most “delightful” model in terms of fuel economy, followed closely by
the Civic Hybrid and Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI diesel. In fact, diesels scored
extremely well in the study, better than some hybrids.
The Accord Hybrid, “was
considerably down the list,” noted Gorrell. “If you’re going to delight
consumers, you’re really going to have to deliver good mileage with a hybrid,”
he added, a pointed reference to the fact that in real-world driving, the Accord
and several other hybrids are delivering far less fuel economy than
A critical message from this
year’s TVI is that increasingly savvy motorists want it all: performance,
comfort, mileage, quality, long-term reliability and high trade-in values, among
Detroit manufacturers fell down in
several areas, Gorrell pointed out, including resale values and with many
models, operating expenses.
General Motors did field four
segment winners, Malibu Maxx, Cadillac XLR, Chevrolet Tahoe and the GMC Sierra
2500/3500. But for a company with so much product, Gorrell suggested GM should
aim to do even better in the future.