• Jun 5, 2008
Just less than a year ago, the Big 3 domestic automakers' combined market share dropped to less than 50-percent of the overall automobile market. That sobering statistic was made factual when the combined sales of vehicles from both Asian countries, such as Japan and Korea, were combined with sales from European companies, like Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It seems that this sad state of affairs did little to stop the bleeding coming from Detroit, as last month marks the first time in history that Asian automakers alone, with a combined share of 47.8-percent, sold more vehicles in the United States than companies actually based there. Ouch.
Large pickup trucks and SUV's have long been the last stronghold for Detroit's struggling automakers. While the Big 3 still have a commanding lead in sales of these large vehicles, it's the smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles which are taking the largest bite from the overall market share pie. Record-high fuel prices have put such a damper on truck sales that a shocking five vehicles outsold the F-150 last month, all of them highly practical sedans. It seems easy to see, then, where Detroit should be spending what engineering dollars it has left.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Yeah it sure sells like hotcakes, that's why it's sales were near the Corolla and the Civic. Oh wait. They aren't even close.

      Why?

      Because the car is still garbage compared to it's competitors."

      Not really. Have you been in the 2009 corolla? Of course not. Its no better than the cobalt in spite of being 4 years newer. First of all the Cobalt doesnt even have the production capacity to approach the sales of the corolla or civic. Secondly, people buy those cars based on the brnad name more than anything else. The cobalt is fully competitive with those cars. It gets slightly worse mileage with an auto but it has more power and torque. It also has a hi perf version that whips anything sold by Toyota and Honda. Americans are largely lemmings and like you they dont bother to do any research and thus many folks buy Toyota and HOnda without even considering other options. This is why the 3, sEntra and cobalt trail civic/corolla sales by alarge margin. The press has been saying for 4 years the mazda 3 is best in class and Mazda cant even touch 50% of corolla sales.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not to mention Mazda's do not offer the same level of reliability and build quality. If you look at long term consumer reports, the 3 doesn't score nearly as well as the Corolla and Civic. Also, the Civic has the best resale value in its class followed by the Corolla.The 3's are plagued by electrics problems, frequent rattles, etc. The press only reviews a car for a certain amount of time, they base their recommendations of performance factors, objective things like styling, and 'fun factor,' they do not include reliability, liveability, etc. The 3 drives better than most of its competitors, and that's why it gets much recommendation from the press, but to own one for 2+ years and to drive one for two weeks is very different.
        • 6 Years Ago
        because mazda carries ford along with it........ mazda is a great car, too bad it is cursed forever with fords name.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not to mention Mazda's do not offer the same level of reliability and build quality. If you look at long term consumer reports, the 3 doesn't score nearly as well as the Corolla and Civic. Also, the Civic has the best resale value in its class followed by the Corolla. The 3's are plagued by electrics problems, frequent rattles, etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "because mazda carries ford along with it........ mazda is a great car, too bad it is cursed forever with fords name."

      That is one of the dumbest things I have read on here. Please go away. Mazda doesnt sell in huge numbers because its not Toyota or Honda. Those brands have a better image than anyone else in the non luxury market. Check out sales of the Sonata for reference. The Sonata is larger than Camry and Accord, has more standard features and costs less and hasnt made a dent in the sales of those two cars. Hyundai has had to put heavy incentives on a car that already costs thousands less than camry and accord simply because the Sonata lacks brand equity.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clearly, the "Big 3" got caught flat footed again. Although Chrysler products are not all that fuel efficient, Fords and GM products are. I drive by a Chevy dealership all the time and notice that there are only 1 or 2 Malibu's on the lot at any one time, a smattering of Cobalts and hardly any Aveos'. All three are very popular, but I wonder how much the strikes and labor unrest have to do with the lack of inventory. Why is it that Toyota dealerships have loads of Camry's and Corrolla's, but Chevy dealerships have hardly any Malibu's? How much of the decline at GM is for lack of inventory?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Detroit's "struggling" automakers? It should be Detroit's STUMBLING automakers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Look up the stats for a 1995-1999 neon, not the bloated one. C&D= 0-60 in 7.5, 15.5
        • 6 Years Ago
        Making up more numbers as you go along, Vintage.

        Edmunds ran the 2000 Neon 0-60 in 10.0, with a quarter mile of 17.5@81.5.

        They ran the 2002 Neon RT 0-60 in 8.5 with a quarter mile of 16.6@82.4.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry, but the Cobalt is NOT as good a car as the Corolla. It's wholly adequate (I don't mind them as rentals), but for the kind of people who actually buy econocars, it just is not as appealing.

      The seat cushions are harder and flatter, the back seat is tight, there's no standard ABS, no tilt-and-telescope wheel, less interior storage, about a 5 MPG gap in real-world mileage...

      These are the things that sell basic transportation, not a 16 hp edge in power.
      • 6 Years Ago
      To have FIVE autos beat the F-150 all of the sudden shows that this is a fast and dramatic change, with gas prices not getting cheap.

      The domestic companies need to get some of these small cars out quicker. New compacts for 2010 or 2011 ain't going to cut it. The Fiesta, the Dodge small cars with the Chinese and Nissan, and the new Chevy Cobalt and small car need to be out quicker if they are going to make it. Honda, Toyota, Mazda are going to have sold millions of small cars while we wait for the domestics to get in the game.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Also, the reason I was bringing up older mid 90s cars was because I stated that the big 3 sold garbage, to push more SUVs on people instead of regular cars. THAT was why I mentioned vehicles from that time period."

      This "push" nonsense is a fairy tale created by American car haters who have zero critical thinking skills. During the 90s the Big 3 gave us the Aurora, Intrigue, STS, C5 vette, 300M, Intrepid, Contour, Focus, Neon, Alero, Viper, Lincoln LS and many other cars. There is NO evidence that they stopped investing in cars and you know that. OK, maybe you dont but anyone who has a memory knows that. This idea of them "abandoning" cars is a figment of the import loving medias imagination. Notice no one ever gives any basis for that lame argument but its repeated over and over again.

      No automaker can force you to buy anything. Toyota just spent $100M advertising the Tundra and we have idiots on here telling us that Detroit "only" advertised SUVS and trucks and forced us to buy them. If you didnt want a truck you didnt buy one, period. Nothing the Big 3 did could make someone buy a truck they didnt like. EVERYONE was into SUVs until 2 or 3 years ago. Ever heard of the Titan, Armada, Tundra, X5, Q7, GL450, ML, Murano, GX56, G wagon, etc.? These are all trucks and SUVS from foreign automakers. Its not that only the big 3 sold SUVs, its that their SUVs captured the majority of the market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So how many non Asian cars were sold in Japan and Korea? - a pitance.

      Of course Asian companies can be ready with smaller cars, they have the Asian market to sell them in at all times. American car companies don't have access to this market and therefore have no reason to invest in smaller cars that, until recently, didn't sell well.

      There is always more to the story than just the stupidity of Americans.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Bob,

        you are right on target but your logic is too complex for simply minded bandwagon jumpers. Small cars have always been a speciality of Japanese brands because thats what sells in Japan. Space is tight and gas is high over there. The large vehicle/SUV culture is unique to the US. In the past it was barely logical for US automakers to invest a lot in cheap small cars due to lack of demand and high labor costs. Now things are changing because people are putting more emphasis on mileage and new labor agreements will bring production costs down. Its taken the americans a while to get small cars right but they are getting it. None of these critics on there will tell me why its taken the Japanese so long to get pickups right and even when they did they wont sell. It took a long time because people in Japan dont buy pickups and its strictly a US product.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Management at the Big 3 should take a lot of the responsibility for lost Market Share. Ford should be readying the Fiesta to see here NOW instead of the stupid Flex. AT best Flex may sell 60K units per annum and I bet they could sell 200K Fiestas easy without trying. That "Bold Move' right there would take back Market Share from the Asian Makes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wagoner, the CEO of GM has stated that cars in the US will get smaller and they are closing down 3 Truck/SUV plants. To compete in this new world they have developed the Camaro (gas guzzler) and Chrysler the Charger.

      Unless they are able to come up with smaller more fuel efficient cars that are also RELIABLE the future of the domestic auto industry looks very bleak.

      Putting all the eggs in one basked (THE VOLT) may not be the smartest idea
        • 6 Years Ago
        Shetj:

        This is supposed to be a blog where people behave in a civilized manner. From your comments on how many miles the camaro will give I can understand that you are a GENIUS.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How did you determine that Camaro will be a gas guzzler?
        • 6 Years Ago
        you're an idiot. The camaro wont even be a gas guzzler with a V6 engine. GM has already said the majority of sales will be V6 cars and there will be two available. The base model will likely get 27 or 28mpg on the highway.

        The Challenger is a limited production model and it will offer a V6 for those who want better economy.

        Yeah, GM doesnt care about gas mileage and thats why the Vue two mode is coming out this year, the Aura gets a standard 6 speed for 2009 and better mileage than the camry I-4 and why a new Aveo and Cobalt will be out in 2010. Not to mention Volt. Oh and thats why there will be hybrid versions of the Escalade and Silverado this fall.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have no interest in arguing with people who call others idiots and believe that the Camaro will give 27 mpg.

        Rather than call others names you proved who you are.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm sure GM isn't going to produce the volt i'm sure Saab and others will get similar.plus, you have the 1.4l coming,along with the triples: Beat,Trax and Groove.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, they concentrated on what people buy. The market changed instatly with the increase in fuel prices, which in the real scheme of things is minor compared to the purchase decisions that folks make for their needs, real or supposed.

      The SUV market didn't grow because the big three forced it down our throats, it grew because that's what folks wanted.

      As to the constant whining of "SMALL" until fuel started rising it wasn't that big a deal, even the import mileage has been dropping and vehicles getting larger for years.

      If they can be blamed for anything, it's this, not paying to the entire marketplace. However in some folks eyes that is wht the problem was/is with the domestics they were to big and too unfocused. They followed the money, not a bad plan for a business actually. Problem is, you can't change directions that fast.

      And--the imports were not that far ahead in May, just read the chart from the other day, and forget about %'s and look at real numbers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Vintage:

        "and 'safe' (even though the deathrate is 3x higher than the average sedan)."

        Actually, according to the IIHS most types of car have a higher death rate than any type of SUV. And even comparing the lowest death rate cars (very large luxury cars) to the highest death rate SUVs that spot difference is not even close to triple.

        http://www.iihs.org/sr/pdfs/sr4204.pdf
        • 6 Years Ago
        SUVs slow? My Suburban (the slowest SUV) will still outrun a Civic, Fit, Yaris, Camry I4, etc. Besides I didn't buy it to go fast. I bought it to haul stuff. Try hooking a 4000lb boat trailer to a Civic.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Frylock
        Just because you out accelerate a couple of idiots at the Red light doesn't make your Suburban faster. Have you dragged your suburban against a civic on a track? How did you know the other drive in the civic had his foot to the floor? The other driver owns a civic, therefore he must care about gas economy, so the chances are that he didn't give it a lot of throttle to save a bit of gas. A stock Civic would take your Suburban easily, considering the weight to power ratio, lower CoG, grip, and transmission gearing. Not to mention a Si would absolutely decimate it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Vintage thinker,

        So, since GM's marketing forced Americans to buy SUVs I'm thinking with that same logic since the Volt is being marketing *years* before intro that the first full production year will see 2 or 3 million Volts sold. 'Cause all GM has to do is market it.

        Not to mention that it looks like my boys are coming through for me. They are going to assemble their highest tech drivetrains in the U.S. including the 1.0L in the U.S. according to AB. While Toyota is building SUV plants in Mississippi and doing all their highest tech (hybrid) systems in Japan. 'Cause Toyota is all about perfection and that really shows how they care about us. Yeah, build more SUVs here Toyota. Good job. You're so much greener than everyone else. Love the small fuel efficient Tundra too!

        We love you Toyota!! (but not as much as you love us, we know)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Anyone who believes that SUV's were 'shoved down our throats' is an idiot. It's not as if GM only offered Suburbans and Tahoes over the last 15 years. It seems to me that they also made Aveos, Cobalts, Malibus and Impalas. People CHOSE to purchase SUV's. No one entered a Ford dealer to buy a Focus and was forced to buy an Excursion.

        Also, for all the BS about how the Asian brands offer so many more small cars than the domestics, will someone please name three cars in the Toyota line up that don't have domestic competition? While the Aveo might not be the best car in its' class, it does compete in the same same segment as the Yaris. I also believe the Focus and Cobalt compete with the Corolla and the Malibu and Fusion with the Camry. What cars in the Honda line up don't have domestic competition? And while you're at it, please show me the HUGE difference in gas mileage between the 'import' models and their domestic counterparts.

        The four best selling vehicles for the month of May, the Civic, Corolla, Camry and Accord, all have domestic counterparts. People CHOSE to buy those four models. Or did Toyota and Honda 'shove them down our throats'?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Uh, you're wrong man. They DID shove it down our throats. They used product placement in movies, advertising in magazines, tv shows, anywhere and everywhere to convince people that SUVs were 'sporty' (even though they're slow and handle like crap) and 'safe' (even though the deathrate is 3x higher than the average sedan).

        They shoved it down our throats because they wanted to make the most money with the smallest investment. Cafe regulations made small cars more expensive to make, so the profits were smaller. Trucks on the other hand, still use cheap engines, cheap frames, cheap brakes, etc. They threw leather in it, sold it for more than a small car, and made huge profits. You're delusional if you think people just suddenly 'wanted' SUVs. Please read this book: High and Mighty, the rise of the SUV. it's available used on Amazong for less than 1 dollar."

        So, you believed all the advertising product placement and then the salesman placed a gun to your head and forced you to buy the product. Right! Didn't ignore the product placement, didn't watch the commercial, didn't pay attention to the neighbors no peer pressure. Ah consumerism in America, sheep. Thanks for proving the point




        • 6 Years Ago

        "Actually, they concentrated on what people buy."

        No, they concentrated on what people had already bought. They based future trends on past sales. That is not innovation.

        "If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse."

        Henry Ford

      • 6 Years Ago
      The thing I am still bitter about regarding the domestics was the half-a**ed efforts that put out with their small cars and their assertion that small cars aren't profitable.

      The Aveo is mediocre; the Focus is a car that dates back to 1999/2000, the Cobalt is a very weak entry, and the Caliber is low quality. Then they have the stupidity to kill the Focus hatch and wagon and never even offer those body types on the Cobalt.

      I remember not along ago that U.S. auto execs were "bragging" that gasoline costed less than bottled water.

      Who is laughing now?

      Almost every European and Asian automaker got their foothold in this market via small cars so that part about them being unprofitable is bogus. It's just there way of saying "we aren't very good at making small cars."
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