One common complaint about General Motors in the past has been the amount of time it took the company to develop vehicles and get them to market. A recent study, however, shows that GM is certainly turning that around. The company is expected to tie Toyota Motor Corp. in "showroom age," which represents how new its showroom lineup is. The showroom age of each will be around 2.8 years by 2010. Chrysler is currently faring even better with 2.4 years to market.

In addition to the newness of model lineups, the Merrill Lynch study also looks at new vehicles being put out by automakers over the coming years, calculates the percentage of each automaker's fleet that will be replaced with new vehicles, and uses it as an indicator of future sales and financial health. GM will reportedly make huge strides in this area, replacing 75 percent of its lineup, coming in just behind Toyota, which leads the industry with a figure of 83 percent.

The study shows that Ford is lagging behind, placing itself in a precarious position with a showroom age of 3.5 years despite Way Forward architect Mark Fields' claim that the company's showroom age would be more like 1.8 years by 2008.

The study might not be perfect, however, because Merrill Lynch has to rely on sources other than the automakers for its data and predictions. OEMs do not reveal their product plans to analysts, or bloggers for that matter.

[Source: the Detroit Free Press]


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