U.S. Automakers Seen Losing Market Share Amid 2012 Growth

“U.S. automakers led by General Motors Co. may lose share in their home market this year, a setback that might be assuaged by holding onto some of their gains against disaster-stricken Japanese rivals in 2011.

GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, coming off a year in which all three added share for the first time since 1988, may drop a combined 1.3 percent of U.S. market share in 2012, according to a Bloomberg survey of five analysts. As Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. recover from Japan’s tsunami and Thailand’s floods, they may find stiffer competition limiting their combined slice of the market to where it was seven years ago.

The U.S. automakers may each increase sales by less than the total market’s growth this year, according to all five analysts surveyed. While falling unemployment, rising consumer confidence and the need to replace aging vehicles will drive demand, increased Japanese output and improved competition from Korean brands and Volkswagen AG will test Detroit’s discipline on protecting profit rather than simply selling products.”