• Jul 25th 2006 at 8:34AM
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Historically, U.S. automakers have held both the majority of fleet and consumer sales stateside. According to new research provided by R.L. Polk and Co. the "Big Two and a Half" only holds one of those distinctions for the first time in U.S. history.

Foreign car manufacturers now account for 53% of consumer car sales through May of this year and that figure only stands to increase as the year progresses. Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and, of course, Toyota held a slim margin under U.S. manufacturers this time last year with 49% of the retail market, but most analysts have predicted this day would come sooner, rather than later.

Industry observers maintain that GM, Ford, and Chrysler's slipping numbers are due in large part to high gas prices, forcing consumers to seek out smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles traditionally offered by Japanese manufacturers. Others note that many foreign automakers have a better grasp on what U.S. consumers desire in a vehicle, with safety features, interior amenities and resale value topping the most wanted list.

Some dire soul searching is in order if the domestics stand a chance at regaining their previously held title. Especially considering that fleet sales are likely the next to go to their competitors in the east.

[Source: Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      No offense to the journalist but he needs to go back to school for math 101.

      I did some checking and found that the domestics is indeed 57-percent of the market controlled. Yet, it is down from 61-percent last year.

      Yes, what term do we apply to domestics? Neither the journalist or I could scrapped the pile of who builds what and where in a year. However, leaving the ownership of the corporation in the hands of the americans, if you can call DaimlerChrysler US partly owned, the big-3 still rules.

      This is not the first time that Detroit News has been labeled incorrect and won;t be the last time. Yet, the are heading the same path as the New York Times which now has no crediability, let alone subscribers to keep that ragsheet in business.

      The posted results are on the Allpar.Com site.
      • 9 Years Ago
      First of all this must of already happened since DCX has been foreign for, what, 8 to 10 years now. Second you are talking about 2 (well, these dumbasses for some reason 3) car companies against, what, 10 foreign car companies that sell here.

      But thank you American companies for not makeing a SINGLE DVD player, stereo (I don't know that Bose *assembles* their foreign parts here anymore, maybe B&K Components still does but it would cost $8000 for a nav system from them) or just about any other consumer electronics product so GM and Ford could contract to have you build their nav systems, etc. that these critics are saying is at least one reason GM and Ford is slipping. Gee, Japan took over the consumer electronics industry do you really not get why Ford and GM don't have the gadgets?

      Anyway, my guess is that the day Daimler bought Chrysler this (foreign out numbering domestic sales in U.S.) actually happened. But some people are too dumb to realize it.
      • 9 Years Ago
      First of all, I want to say that its sad that we as American people dont feel more sympathetic to Ford/GM's problem. Im not saying that we should go out and get us a Malibu or Expedition, but I agree with Matt about us being so unapologetic about how we feel out the fall of Ford/GM. Yes, I want them to realize that we as Americans will not just accept their subpar cars and trucks, but I still dont want them to pay that price with going down the tubes. I feel that if they go down it will somehow affect us. I truely want to them to learn from their mistakes.

      The bottom line is about product, Ford/GM/Chrysler still cannot build a better vehicle than Honda/Toyota/Nissan. Lets not forget Hyundai, if they can do it, so we can we! Since high gas prices help drive this mess, we look to sedans. What sedans do Ford/GM/Chrysler offer that can compete:

      Fusion/Milan, Focus, Malibu, Cobalt, Sebring/Stratus, Caliber, G6, GrandPrix...

      None of these cars can equate to the Accord, Civic, Camry, Corolla, Altima, Maxima...

      Ford/GM can cut prices and give all the employee discounts they want, but until the Malibu beats the Accord or the Fusion outdoes the Camry, the problem will still exist. They have to do what Hyundai did: They must build a better product and price it just below.

      Lastly, Lithous - What are you talking about? How can you say that a CD/DVD will affect sales? A comment that dumb shouldn't even deserve to be addressed.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Lastly, Lithous - What are you talking about? How can you say that a CD/DVD will affect sales? A comment that dumb shouldn't even deserve to be addressed."

      Please read the article. Ammenities is what the critic IN THE ARTICLE is stating is ONE THING American cars don't always have available.

      You don't think people think about which car they are going to buy based on which has the best navigation or ipod capabilities sometimes? People who go through cars every year or two and there are a lot are all about some of this stuff. Why would Toyota waste their time making a commercial (around 2004/2005) demonstrating rain sensing wipers (even though my Envoy had them in 2002)? Heated and cooled seats (OK, so this isn't a consumer electronic product but a gadget). Rear seat entertainment. These are selling points in minivans especially.

      Especially with a GM product where you don't want to lose OnStar capabilities by switching an aftermarket system (or pay a bunch to have it work OK) it important for GM to sell great nav systems. It just happens that they have to go to Denso to do it.

      • 9 Years Ago
      To the poster who claimed gas prices will "stabilize" and people will promptly return to SUV's... don't hold your breath. Hurricanes or drama in the Middle East may cause temporary spikes - but it is the rapidly increasing demand for oil in emerging markets that will ensure gas prices will NEVER be what they once were. The rate at which China is developing could mean several hundred million more drivers in the next few decades. Think of what that would do to the oil market... not to mention this planet's ecological sustainability... but that is another discussion for another day.
      • 9 Years Ago

      “Think about how bad Buick and Mercury are”

      I do not know what you are snorting but Buick is the top brand in China. Their quality is even with Toyota at the moment. GM is going to dominate China’s auto Market in the years to come.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've rented Mazdas, Hyundais, and Kias before. And I've seen Toyotas in rental fleets. But I don't think I've seen Hondas.

      It's not a matter of the number of companies. A much larger of European companies used to sell cars in the U.S., but the sales of most never amounted to much.

      There also used to be far more American companies. The term "The Big Three" was not coined to separate the American companies from the foreign ones, but GM, Ford, and Chrysler, all based in or near Detroit, from smaller American companies like Nash, Hudson, Kaiser-Frasier, Packard, etc., most of which were based somewhere other than Detroit. In this sense it remains a valid term.

      GM and especially Ford have neglected their entry level vehicles. The Cobalt isn't as bad as most people seem to think--it has some definite strengths. But the Colorado/Canyon was certainly shortchanged during development, the Ranger hasn't been redesigned in a very long time, and the mose recent revision of the Focus actually went in the wrong direction by greatly cheapening the interior.

      On top of it all, Toyota has become increasingly aggressive with price cuts and incentives. They have enough money to buy however much market share they desire, and have no qualms about spending it.

      EPA highway numbers, the root of the "models that get over 30 MPG" are often meaningless. Or not: my father-in-law's Impala gets 33-35 on the highway. Yeah, I was shocked, but he showed me the math. Which he teaches at the college level.

      At any rate, I'm about to launch a fuel economy survey, to get some real numbers.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Let's give it up to the "Foreign" companies for a JOB WELL DONE!!!

      This is the last hurdle before Toyota overtakes GM for the title.

      This is WONDERFUL NEWS, people. Adam Smith predicted this 100+ years ago. Always, ALWAYS, have faith in the marketplace.

      It's called Capitalism...and is what our country (the good 'ole USA) is founded upon.

      YES!!! :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      So installing an RCA or Zenith DVD player in their vehicles is the solution to GM and Ford's problems Lithous? What a f***ing joke! GM and Ford could easily buy stereos and DVD players elsewhere and install them in their vehicles. Having American companies build such gadgets doesn't matter if the domestics aren't building the vehicles that consumers want. Like I'm sure consumers say, "Hmmm, if only the Uplander had an American-made DVD player or stereo I would definitely choose it over the Sienna or Odyssey.".

      "Second you are talking about 2 (well, these dumbasses for some reason 3) car companies against, what, 10 foreign car companies that sell here."

      Toyota by itself has more money than the domestics combined and is worth more to boot. You don't even have to take those other "foreign" companies into consideration!
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Industry observers maintain that GM, Ford, and Chrysler's slipping numbers are due in large part to high gas prices, forcing consumers to seek out smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles traditionally offered by Japanese manufacturers."

      Really ? GM and Ford don't have any vehicles that offer good gas mileage? Last time I checked GM had 30+/- vehicles that got 30mpg. I'm sure Ford is probably right around that. This is a poor excuse. Industry observers are morons if they actually think that.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I get so sick hearing about how great the foreign cars are and the American cars are junk. The only reason that the foreign car companies dont have as many complaints is that the Americans buying them are ashamed they own them and will not complain about them. I have owned several new American cars in the past 12 yrs and have only taken one of them back in for a service problem. Yet the foreign car I bought inthe middle of this was taken back for reapirs 4 times in the 6 months I owned it. I just traded in a 2003 ponitac bonneville and I was getting 32 mpg without a problem. The new camry with all the recalls it is having is a real lemon and if your are truly open minded it looks like a cheap japanese car from yesterday. Get real people and actually take a look at the American cars out there they are alot better than the anti American group who writes the articles in consumer reports etc.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Aki, agreed. Another point...

      I wouldn't count on gas prices "stabilizing" anytime soon. Certainly, there will be peaks and valleys, but over time, gasoline--like real estate--is only going to become more expensive.

      The last thing domestic automakers should do is "sit out" the success of cars like the Honda Fit and Scion xB, and wait for consumers to return to their SUVs. Detroit needs better compacts, like, yesterday.

      GM's priorities should be the Aveo, Cobalt, Colorado, and Malibu. Ford, meanwhile, needs to update the Focus and Ranger, and either bring over the Fiesta, or engineer a new Fit-sized subcompact for the NA market.
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