As 2010 draws to a close, the picture for general automotive industry and particularly the American manufacturers has improved greatly.
Industry numbers in 2008 and 2009 were horrific and drove General Motors and Ford into bankruptcy. Now, sales are on the upswing and Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates (SAAR) are set to return to more normal levels. The manufacturers retooled to become more profitable with lower numbers.
The darling for the majority of the past decade has no doubt been Toyota. In 2007, Toyota overtook Ford for second place in the U.S.With a spotless reputation and critically-lauded vehicles, many even speculated about a day where it would become the largest brand in the United States.
An aging product line and damaged reputation from highly-publicized recalls have resulted in Toyota’s decline. Now, with a very successful 2010, The Detroit News reports that Ford is projected to take back the Number Two spot.
A combination of factors has worked in Ford’s favor. Ford’s image is looked upon favorably due to the corporation’s ability to weather the recession without government assistance.
That has given a window for consideration of Ford’s highly-competitive new product line. As such, profitability is up and sales have increased far ahead of the market’s pace. Actual sales for the first 11 months of the year are up by 21 percent, versus the overall market’s increase of 11 percent.
Market share for 2010 is up to 16.4 percent, from 15.3 percent last year and just 14.2 percent in 2008. George Pipas, Ford’s market analyst says that: “The last time Ford gained one or more points of market share was in the ’80s…..it’s the first time since 1993 that we have gained share in the U.S. back-to-back two years in a row.”
These are impressive gains to be sure. Next year, new models like the 2011 Explorer and highly-important 2012 Focus will be in the pipeline as well. With an economy still in recovery mode, things should really pick up when a full recovery sets in. Ford could be positioned for explosive growth in unit numbers and profitability in the years to come. We’ll see how Toyota fights back in 2011 with new models like a redesigned Camry.