News Column

Detroit 3 Forecast To Regain Market Share In Next 4 Years

May 17, 2012

Alisa Priddle


Detroit's automakers should regain some of their lost market share with strong new vehicles coming to market over the next four model years, largely at the expense of the Korean carmakers, according to an annual auto industry analysis by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Toyota also will regain some lost share though Honda, Nissan and major European carmakers could remain flat, according to "Car Wars 2013-2016," released Wednesday by research analyst John Murphy of Merrill Lynch.

The industry will be more profitable with a number of trucks, crossovers and luxury vehicles coming to showrooms by 2016. Total new vehicles coming to market -- 176 by the 2016 model year -- is 19% more than during the 2009-12 lull as the industry recovered from a sales downturn.

Murphy sees new products in the pipeline as a barometer of market trends and shifts.

"The replacement rate drives showroom age, which drives market share, which in turn drives profits and stock prices," he said in his report.

Ford is best positioned with plans to replace, on average, 26% of its sales volume annually with all-new models over the next four years -- far higher than its 14% historic replacement rate and the 23% industry average. Ford will replace vehicles representing 46% of its volume in the 2015 model year, including a new F-Series. A new Taurus is expected for the 2016 model year.

Murphy said Ford should see U.S. market share settle at 16% in 2015, up from 15.3% currently. And Murphy applauded Ford's discipline in focusing on profitability over market share.

"Ford's product onslaught is well under way," with nearly 40 global launches this year, spokesman Anderson Chan said.

Close on Ford's heels is General Motors with a 25% replacement rate and Toyota at 24%.

GM could lose share this year as Japanese automakers recover from supply shortages last year, but the report forecasts GM market share to stabilize at 18.2% in 2015, up from 17.7% now.

"Gaining share is our goal," said GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan. The gains cited in the report "are consistent with what we see," Rhadigan said. "We are in the midst of a product barrage that kicks in with our high-volume trucks coming."

The new full-size pickups will launch as 2013 models followed by full-size SUVs for the 2014 model year, when new vehicles will account for 52% of volume, the report said.

Chrysler is forecast to do well with a 20% replacement rate and 11.6% market share in 2015, up from 10.7% last year. The 2014 model year is big for Chrysler with Fiat-engineered vehicles for many brands. A new 2017 Dodge Ram is forecast.

"Historically, Detroit has replaced its lineup every seven to eight years, while the competition has done so about every four to five years. We believe this is one of the main reasons that Ford, GM and Chrysler lost share in the past," Murphy said.

Murphy said Hyundai and Kia will be below the industry pace with an 18% replacement rate after years of booming sales, and the Korean companies could give up half a percentage point of U.S. market share.

Hyundai has used design, fuel economy and pricing to grow sales over the last five years, spokesman Miles Johnson said. "We are not going to be walking away from those strategies going forward."

Japanese automakers are expected to rebound this year but could then stagnate, and European brands are expected to fight to maintain current share, according to Murphy.

Source: (c)2012 the Detroit Free Press

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