Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:53 am
The $760 million factory is part of Ford's plan to double its production there by 2015. The new factory should up Ford's production in China to 1.2million cars — about half of what it produces in the U.S.
Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.
The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.
Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.
Average prices for cars are at an all-time high, reflecting increased demand and a healthier economy. The average car price has gone up nearly $2,000 since last year. Even though car prices are higher, buyers haven't shied away from picking up a new car.