Study: Toyota and GM Poised to Grow Market Share; Not so Fast, FCA

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
study toyota and gm poised to grow market share not so fast fca

Which automaker stands the best change of gobbling up more of the U.S. light vehicle market in the near future? According to the results of a newly released study, and not entirely unsurprising, it’s two of the world’s largest automakers.

General Motors and Toyota are each planning a slew of new and refreshed products over the next few years — something which should serve to lure buyers away from other brands. Among domestic automakers, one brand is forecast to suffer at the hands of its Detroit rival’s success. You know the one.

The annual Car Wars study prepared by Bank of America Merrill Lynch serves as a crystal ball for the next four years, though one analyst feels early sales projections are too high. Analysts at the bank’s investment division have predicted this year’s U.S. sales will reach 17.9 million, up from last year’s record 17.41 million. So far, 2017 isn’t panning out the way analysts wished.

John Murphy, senior auto analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, claims the numbers from the first four months point to a 17.1 million sales year. That’s below last year and 2015. Murphy also predicts a bump for 2018, followed by a slow climbdown in sales. By the middle of the next decade, U.S. consumers might only snap up 13 or 14 million vehicle per year. Blame a glut of off-lease vehicles for the weaker demand.

While the skyrocketing increase in sales following the recession has tapered off, the competition to grow market share isn’t cooling off. Between 2018 and 2021, 85 percent of Toyota vehicles will be refreshed or new, just one percent ahead of GM’s product turnover. Ford follows the pair with an 83-percent replacement rate, but its big ticket products won’t appear until after the 2018 model year. Among them, the upcoming Ranger midsize pickup and Bronco SUV deserve top billing.

“They really are doing a great job of refreshing their product portfolio,” Murphy told the Automotive Press Association on Thursday, referring to Toyota. As for GM, it is “doing fairly well and they should be in a position, presuming the market holds together, to actually gain a little bit of market share and maintain price.”

In his report, Murphy expects flat market share growth for both Ford and Honda. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which plans to introduce a next-generation Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500 pickup within the next two years, holds a 81-percent replacement rate. While the automaker stands to lose market share, its “extreme overexposure” in the truck and SUV market seems like a solid gamble, given American buying habits, Murphy said.

Of European automakers, which hold a combined 79-percent replacement rate, Volkswagen’s aggressive product push will likely see it gain sales and market share. The same can’t be said for Nissan which, at 77 percent, holds the lowest replacement rate in the industry. The bulk of the Japanese automaker’s new products won’t appear until near the end of the four-year period. “Nissan still seems like it’s a boat adrift,” Murphy said.

[Sources: Wards Auto; The Detroit News] [Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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14 of 38 comments
  • Secret Hi5 Secret Hi5 on May 28, 2017

    It ain't cool to say so, but I rather like the new Camry. It'll be a contender when we replace our 14 yr old (GM) car.

    • Akear Akear on May 29, 2017

      The Camry alone outsells the entire Buick division. For the last decade I wondered to myself just who would open up a Buick dealership in this day and age? How would a dealership makes a profit selling 4 to 6 cars a month!

  • Hummer Hummer on May 28, 2017

    All 3 American brands need a product shakeup. Ford and GM maintain the most boring product lineups in their history, outside of the 80s Maybe. FCA while raking in cash from old platforms that paid for themselves 3 times over needs more product. It's hard to argue a vehicle needs to be replaced just because it's over the industry average age if it still brings in heaps of money. FCA is in a odd position because they don't need to replace what they are selling so well. Yet the industry "experts" (i.e. Idiots that went to school for something stupid and act like it made them smart) are going to b---- until they change their formula.

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    • Hummer Hummer on May 31, 2017

      @Ban-One Maybe when I start seeing people get excited about a compact in the real world I'll wonder if my views are out of date. Until then I'll enjoy vehicles that excite real people (such as myself) in the real world, a manual 6.2L seems like an appropriate next step.

  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.