There's still a lot of press regarding automotive industry challenges like the recent GM and Chrysler bankruptcies and related dealer closings, but has anyone looked at the domestic OEM’s market share lately? I have and the industry trend is very sobering – GM, Ford and Chrysler combined retail market share has dropped over 10 percentage points during the last five years and is currently hovering around 40%. Yes, almost two out of every three vehicles currently purchased at retail in the U.S. is an import. I know that the definition of an import is fuzzy at best with Hondas built in Ohio and Subarus built in Indiana; but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s consider anything not made and/or distributed by the Detroit Three an import. We’ll also count future Fiats and Alfas as domestics since they will be distributed through Chrysler dealers.
My crystal ball is as cloudy as anyone else's, but I don’t see this sharp downward trend reversing in the near term. With the impending demise of Saturn and Pontiac, the reduction in GM and Chrysler dealerships and the heightened import competition (particularly Hyundai, Kia and VW), Detroit Three share can’t help but continue to slide even further. Add to the mix a newly refocused Toyota and vehicles from China and India on the horizon, and one can only wonder where the domestic share will bottom out.
I can say that from R. L. Polk's automotive forecast, we expect the Detroit Three total market share (including fleet units) to stabilize around 40% over the next five years. Even with Ford's recent uptick in share, I predict the Detroit Three to account for only 25% to 30% of the retail U.S. market within the next five years. What's your forecast, and what, if anything, can the Detroit Three do to become the Big Three again?
Posted by James Dimond, Vice President of Global Network Planning, Polk (10.28.2009)