U.S. Automakers Continue to Lose Market Share

In the first quarter of this year, fewer than 50% of Americans that bought new cars, bought from domestic brands. 48.9% of Americans bought cars and trucks from Ford, GM or Chrysler. This is down from last year and represents a continued downward slide for the domestic automakers.

In 2005 domestic automakers had 54.5% of the market, by the end of last year it had dipped to 50.1%. The 48.9% that they are at now is even a 2.1% drop from the first quarter of last year. The percentages represent actual retail sales, which excludes all fleet sales. If sales continue at this trend this could be the first year that non-U.S. automakers take the majority in the U.S.

There are many reasons for this continued decline for U.S. automakers (high gas prices, quality issues, lack of fuel-efficient cars, etc.)

GM had the strongest quarter out of the three domestic brands, but it may not be enough to make up for the losses at Ford and Chrysler.

“I think, in the near term, both Chrysler and Ford will continue to lose share, and that aggregate loss will more than offset any possible gain by GM,” said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN, a subsidiary of J.D. Power and Associates. “I don’t expect the domestics’ share to move back up above 50% this year.”

As domestic automakers continue to lose market share, Toyota and Honda continue to steal sales. Toyota has gained a percentage point of market share this year, while Ford has simultaneously lost a point. This is even despite of the higher cash rebates that domestic automakers give to consumers that buy their cars.

“It’s still very early in the calendar year,” Steven Landry, vice president of sales and field operations for the Auburn Hills-based Chrysler Group, said in an interview Thursday. “I think it’s presumptuous to think that, as a group, we may finish below 50%.”

Full Story: Freep.com