News Column

Study: Ford to Gain Market Share; GM, Chrysler Flat

June 10, 2014

By Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press

An analyst predicts sales will grow for Ford but will be flat for GM and Chrysler through 2018. (file photo)
An analyst predicts sales will grow for Ford but will be flat for GM and Chrysler through 2018. (file photo)

The era of big market share swings in the U.S. automotive industry are over, at least for the next four years, making the launch of each new car or truck even more important, said John Murphy, an analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Murphy, who released his closely watched "Car Wars" study Monday, said every major automaker that competes in the U.S. has adjusted its manufacturing and production rates to meet consumer demand.

"The large market share shifts of the last few decades are largely over," Murphy said at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. "From now on, the automakers will be trading market share over product cycles."

Murphy's report, conducted annually since 1994, estimates market share gains for automakers that compete in the U.S. based on an estimate of the new cars and trucks each will launch. Automakers that launch new products tend to enjoy sales increases.

However, Murphy said the gap between different automakers over how fast each of them can develop and launch new vehicles is narrowing.

That fiercely competitive race for each automaker to speed up the introduction of redesigned or new models also ensures fewer large market share swings in the industry, Murphy said.

"This is the first time that there is this small of a dispersion in replacement rates," among automakers, Murphy said.

Still, among all automakers, Ford is expected to replace 111% of all of its cars and trucks over the next four years -- the most of any automaker, Murphy said.

That will help Ford to increase its share of U.S. auto sales to about 16.2% by 2018, up from 15.7% in 2013, Murphy said.

Among the Detroit Three, Ford is the only automaker that will gain market share, Murphy predicted.

General Motors, Murphy said, will maintain its market share of 17.9% over the next four years. Murphy estimates that GM is on schedule to replace 21% of its model lineup over the next four years, an improvement over its historical rate of 14%.

However, GM's product launches are expected to slow down in 2018, and will contribute to its struggle to gain ground.

Fiat and Chrysler, meanwhile, will have very few major product launches over the next two years but will introduce a raft of new models in 2017 and 2018.

Still, Chrysler -- which has gained market share quickly since its 2009 bankruptcy -- will struggle to gain more ground, Murphy said.

Murphy estimates that Fiat and Chrysler's U.S. market share, which was at 11.5% in 2013, will end 2018 at the same point.

"I think (CEO Sergio) Marchionne's targets of gaining 4% market share over the next four years are pretty aggressive and I think unattainable," Murphy said.

Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or bsnavely@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely

Original headline: Report: Ford will gain market share; GM, Chrysler will stay flat through 2018


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