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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Detroit Loses The Fuel Efficiency Race (TM)(F)

Matters seem to deteriorate in Detroit every month. Toyota’s sales rose 25% in September with the Big Three still struggling to hit even single digit growth.

Detroit has been hoping that falling gas prices might bring buyers back to its profitable SUVs and pick-ups, but sales of vehicles like Ford’s flagship F-150 pick-up continue to slow. Sales of the F Series now run only about 70,000 units a month.

New figures posted by the EPA and Department of Transportation show that most of the ten most fuel-efficient cars sold in the US are made by Honda and Toyota.

Ford had three small hybrid SUVs on the list, showing that there is a ray of hope if the Big Three can change production quickly to these lines. But, the Japanese cars on the list are large volume seller already, cars like the Prius and Honda Civic.

Gas prices may not stay down forever. Detroit better move along.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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