Auto Sales Flat Line As GM Loses Ground

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A new forecast shows that car sales will drop in February from January when measured by the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate. The February number will translate into an SAAR of 12.5 million cars and light trucks according to Trucar. Four years ago, the comparable figure was above 16 million. The same large car companies are battling for a smaller pie. GM (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F), and Toyota (NYSE: TM) now have 51% of the US market.

GM’s market share will continue to drop in February. Trucar puts its market share at 21% down from 21.8% in January.

The improbable winner in February is likely to be Chrysler, which is the most financially damaged of the US firms. Its management is now effectively controlled by Fiat. Chrysler’s market share should rise to 9.6% up from 8.6% in January.

Hyundai/Kia, which has been the fastest growing brand in the US, is no longer taking share from rivals. Its market share is forecast to drop to 7.8% from 7.9% month-over-previous-month. It appears to have reached a large enough portion of the market that its low-cost, high-quality proposition has hit a point of diminishing returns. The Korean company also suffers from a modest sized product line-up

Douglas A. McIntyre