By on July 5, 2012

As much as managers of car companies love double digit increases such as the 22 percent overall gain in June, there is one aspect they really hate: When the market share charts come on the table. Market share measures the true performance of sales and engineering. If the damn market increases 22 percent, then your sales must increase 23 percent, just to stay ahead of the game. Managers of Detroit car companies eye these charts with trepidation.

Share Jun 12 Share Jun 11 Change Share  YTD 12 Share  YTD 11 Change
General Motors 19.35% 20.44% -1.09% 18.09% 19.92% -1.83%
Ford Motor Co. 16.12% 18.36% -2.24% 15.68% 16.89% -1.21%
Toyota 13.83% 10.53% 3.30% 14.39% 12.83% 1.55%
Chrysler Group 11.26% 11.43% -0.17% 11.47% 10.10% 1.36%
Honda 9.71% 7.96% 1.74% 9.64% 9.59% 0.05%
Hyundai Group 8.96% 9.90% -0.94% 8.87% 8.97% -0.09%
Nissan 7.18% 6.83% 0.34% 7.94% 7.97% -0.03%
Volkswagen 3.97% 3.67% 0.30% 3.78% 3.33% 0.45%
BMW Group 2.16% 2.55% -0.39% 2.18% 2.27% -0.09%
Subaru 2.15% 1.88% 0.28% 2.26% 2.09% 0.17%
Daimler AG 1.98% 2.17% -0.20% 1.96% 1.90% 0.06%
Mazda 1.55% 1.83% -0.28% 1.98% 1.93% 0.05%
Volvo Cars NA 0.55% 0.67% -0.12% 0.48% 0.57% -0.10%
Mitsubishi 0.42% 0.79% -0.37% 0.45% 0.70% -0.24%
Jaguar Land Rover 0.36% 0.43% -0.07% 0.38% 0.37% 0.00%
Porsche 0.23% 0.24% -0.01% 0.23% 0.25% -0.02%
Suzuki 0.18% 0.22% -0.04% 0.18% 0.21% -0.03%
Other 0.02% 0.02% 0.00% 0.02% 0.02% 0.00%
Maserati 0.02% 0.02% 0.00% 0.02% 0.02% 0.00%

GM’s market share has been eroding steadily, however, the pace of the decline is not as fast as it used to be. More worrisome is Ford. Its share was slightly above 16 percent in June, and slightly below 16 percent for the first six months of the year. Chrysler’s outrageous percentage sales gains suddenly look in a different light when market share comes into play.

Why are they losing? Because the others are gaining, simple as that. Honda and especially Toyota is on a roll. Toyota and Ford will trade places if that trend continues.

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37 Comments on “Detroit Losing Market Share...”

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Believe it or not, Detroit losing market share isn’t the big story here.

    The fact that Hyundai lost nearly 1% of market share is what piqued my interest. Ford or GM losing market share can be easily put down to Toyota or Honda (maybe Volkswagen?) pulling ahead….but who is stealing Hyundai’s market share? Hyundai make efficient, reliable cars at a good price. The Japanese’s Modus Operandi. Only four possibilities are viable:

    1. Customers prefer the Japanese to the South Koreans’ offerings? Unlikely, but not ruled out.

    2. Hyundai’s brand lustre has gone. Possible.

    3. Hyundai production capacity is strangling their sales. Most probable.

    4. Somebody else (other than the Japanese) are appealing to Hyundai’s customers. Jury’s out on that one.

    Thoughts, anyone…..?

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      Re #4, Hyundai is probably losing Accent sales to new subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta.

      • 0 avatar

        This is also a good point – the Accent. What in the world happened to the styling of the hatch? The last gen looked good at the time, this gen? It looks so long, and the rear end looks so tall. It’s just a styling mess.

        Considering how good everything else looks (the upcoming Sante Fe refresh, for example), this is rather disappointing.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing #3, production capacity.

    • 0 avatar

      You read my mind. Hyundai going down is very surprising.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s no. 4 – production capacity.

      H/K are setting record sales, but only b/c of new models like the Veloster; the US capacity is maxed out (Hyundai will be able to eek out another 20k units at their Alabama plant once the full 3rd shift goes online in the fall).

      In fact, all of Hyundai’s plants worldwide are running at more than 100% capacity.

      Hyundai is going to have problems building enough of the new Santa Fe/Sport when it launches later this year – since production is going to be tight at Kia’s Georgia plant which produced the Sorento and Optima (btw, combined sales of the Optima and Sonata surpassed that for the Camry in June).

  • avatar

    Toyota should be “moving forward” as the dealership south of Cleveland every blade of grass covered, outlining the property like a surveyor. Adding to the fact that dropped way off from the top to what, 4th place?

    Now your only predictions a 3rd place finish? They can’t give them away.

  • avatar

    It feels like a reset after last years Tsunami induced numbers to me.

    How are this years results compared to 2 years ago – that would be a better comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      That would be just as bad as 2 years ago, Toyota were still going through the witch hunt, recall scandal.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. In fact the above chart could be improved with 2- and 3-year ago bars, without too much clutter, for some trend analysis. The current chart is not very useful Bertel.

      • 0 avatar

        The beauty of market share is that it is a share of the current market. It is not a growth factor compared to something in the past. If you have a 20% share, then you have a 20% share, period. It won’t matter whether it is compared to something one year or five years ago, a 20 percent share remains a 20 percent share.

      • 0 avatar

        Market share ‘snap shots’ can easily be represented. I believe this is what gmichaelj was requesting.

      • 0 avatar

        Looks like you picked last year for comparison of market share. Who isn’t to consider last month as more important (honestly, no idea, because I haven’t looked at lasts month’s data as well). But, I think that the tsunamis of last year had a positive affect on Detroit as much as this year Toyota,s and Honda’s numbers should see large increases in both volume and market share (assuming a similar SAAR).

        I think seeing the data over the last 5 years would be better. Things like tsunamis and bankruptcies don’t happen every month. Those types of events skew numbers.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed that this chart is misleading when taken in isolation. This time last year the supply of Japanese brand cars was way down due to their inability to properly manage risk in their supply chain. A comparioson over the past 3-5 years would be more useful, and illustrate the trend if one exists.

  • avatar

    Nothing to worry about here anymore. If the domestic brands lose enough market share and get into trouble (again), Congress can just mandate that consumers buy – OOPS, Scratch that – Congress can just “tax” the purchase of non-domestic brands..

  • avatar

    There’s just too many brands out there and the market, that is, people who can actually afford a new car and WANT to assume a loan, is no longer there. Declining standards of living are contributing to this.

    Frankly, what really stands out from the sea of cars nowadays? HondaToyotaChevyBuickChryslerDodgeFordNissanVWKiaHyundai? What’s the difference? Why choose one vehicle over another that’s equal in most respects? Who cares?

    The vehicles that do stand out are not daily drivers for the majority of buyers who must commute.

    Look at me. I’m 61 years old. What do I want in a vehicle for a daily driver? Something comfortable. Something economical. We downsized and just sold our 2007 MX5. Now we’re considering replacing my Impala. With what? Take your pick, all comparable vehicles to my Impala are the same. May just run the wheels off my car, but even I am doubtful my next ride will be domestic, Impala fan that I am…

    A Camaro or Mustang convertible won’t cut it and one of the retractable hardtop models, even used, are too expensive such as the Infiniti, Lexus, Volvo and even VW.

    I will say one thing about the Japanese brands though – and this from a body repairman who works for one of the Toyota/Honda/Scion dealers where we bought our CR-V – they build cars for the second and even third owners, and perhaps that’s why the domestics are steadily losing out and may eventually virtually disappear and just become re-badged imports. Sobering, that’s for sure.

  • avatar

    The US Domestic automakers could regain market share the way the Japanese Auto makers have done in Japan by simply preventing foreign car makers from building there. Does anyone find it strange that no foreign car makers build in Japan, not MB, BMW, Audi, Fiat, Ford, GM, Renault, VW, Peugeot, yet all these makers build in other foreign lands? Also, lets talk about foreign parts makers in Japan as well.

    • 0 avatar


      What you said will never happen, as the way this country is set up, that business-wise, the USA is a free-for-all. Profits over everything else and they don’t care what the brand name is or where it came from.

    • 0 avatar

      Selective memory:

      GM held 20% ownership in Suzuki and Fuji.
      GM held 49% of Isuzu.
      Ford held 33.4% of Mazda
      DaimlerChrysler held 37% of Mitsubishi.

      They all packed up and left.

      • 0 avatar

        Fuji Heavy Industries didn’t pack up and leave – they still have a plant in Indiana.

      • 0 avatar

        Selective Logic

        What does owning stock in a company have to do with the fact that no foreign car makers build in Japan? All your statement proves is that you can buy stock in Japanese car companies. It still doesn’t explain why not a single foreign car maker builds in Japan. You see GM in China, Korea and South America, Ford in Russia, India and South America, VW in China, USA, Fiat in Brazil and trying to get into Russia, yet no one has figured out how to build cars in Japan other than the Japanese.

    • 0 avatar

      The Japanese build cars here because lots of Americans want to buy their vehicles, so it makes sense to establish a production base here.

      Maybe if the Big Three hadn’t spent decades producing junk for critical segments of the market, the Japanese would never have gained a foothold here in the first place.

      Unless someonse is going to tell us that a Neon was just as good as a Civic, or a Cavalier was the equal of a the Corolla, or the first-and second- generation Malibus were just as good as a contemporary Accord and Camry.

      Which, if nothing else, should provide this week’s dose of unintentional hilarity.

      • 0 avatar

        Your argument would be true except that European car makers build cars that meet the exact demands of Japanese car buyers. Cars to drive on narrow and congested city streets, where fuel costs are high along with taxes and the steering wheel is on the proper side. How is it that VW doesn’t build there or MB, Audi, Fiat, Citroen etc? Explain to me how the Japanese car buyer and market is so different than the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar

      “Does anyone find it strange that no foreign car makers build in Japan”

      I don’t. Japan doesn’t provide much opportunity for foreign producers. It doesn’t make sense for automakers from around the world to make cars that are specially suited for the Japanese market.

      At one extreme, we have the Domestic Defenders who think that Detroit automakers are hapless victims of the evil yellow peril. At the other extreme, we have Mr. Schmitt who wants to pretend that the Japanese market is wide open. Somewhere in between lies the truth — Japan doesn’t make it particularly easy for foreign entrants, but there isn’t much to be gained there, either.

      It does make sense for higher-end producers to export a few cars to Japan and to sell them at high prices. But it would make no business sense at all for anyone who isn’t already a major player in Japan to try to own that market. Much of the population is buying kei cars, the demographics are aging and shrinking, and the country has no oil — what exactly is to be gained in trying to become the top dog in a declining market?

      • 0 avatar

        A foreign producer wouldn’t even become top dog in that declining market. The Japanese prefer to by Japanese, with only a few eccentric exceptions. A foreign producer might get a small share of the market, but nothing that in any way justifies building a plant in Japan.

  • avatar

    is there a cut-off point to replying to replies? I cant reply in the spot I want to.
    Anyway, I should have phased it a little better – the chart could be BETTER with some trend analysis. Yes, if you just want a snap shot then that’s ok. But I’d like to know where they are going. I bought a new 2006 mustang and thought Ford had really improved their game many miles from when I bought a new Explorer. If everything else they sell is only so-so, then ok. But I keep reading about Eco-boost, MyTouch, how fabulous the 2013 Mustang is, etc, so I’m perplexed about how they are not doing better. Also I own a 2006 Impala and can see (just one snapshot mind you) why GM is not doing better.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I do these kind of charts all the time (for a completely unrelated business), and we always say one month does not make a trend.

      Could part of Ford’s problem be that one of their best-selling vehicles (Escape) is in model-year transition? I know you can’t find any new ones on the lots locally. I think GM is switching out their full-size trucks too.

    • 0 avatar

      The Wall Street Journal has a market share chart going back to the beginning of last year. It looks like Toyota actually lost market share last month (after 8 months of increases), while GM’s share is up slightly.

  • avatar

    …Market share measures the true performance of sales and engineering…

    Well in the case of Honda it sure isn’t engineering – if engineering includes industrial design and innovation.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    As cars get more expensive and the economic outlook is still cloudy at best, most buyers will opt for the sure thing, and that is either Honda or Toyota, despite all the critics out there, a local Honda dealer featured on a TV news piece, reported big sales numbers for the July 4th holiday, the type they had not seen in years. This should show up in next month’s numbers.

  • avatar

    I might suggest that Honda-Toyota-Nissan are offering more rebate & financing deals to regain lost marketshare from Hyundai-Kia after the tsunami.

  • avatar

    Forget Detroit. Hyundai, the darling of fellow commenters, is losing, while Honda — which “lost its way” — is gaining. How can it be?

  • avatar

    Toyota has seen the most growth for the year due to launches of new products like the Camry, ES and GS; as well as gorging on fleet sales for the 1st 5 months of the year (15% of sales went to fleet).

    GM and Ford should see sales growth later in the year as they launch their new models in the all-important mid-size sedan segment (with the non-Eco Malibu, XTS and ATS – GM should see a good rise in its sedan sales).

  • avatar

    Why the focus on “Detroit”? Isn’t “Detroit” just Ford and GM now? Does it really matter how “Detroit” does compared to everyone else? Content percentage and final assembly location is a much greater measurement of whether a company is a “Detroit” (U.S.) comapny or not. I don’t know the percentages, but Ford and GM seem to be building a lot of cars in Mexico and Canada.

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