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Big Three Losing Grip on US Auto Sales

(Credit: GM)

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Big Three Losing Grip on US Auto Sales

2014 Chevrolet Malibus being delivered

2014 Chevrolet Malibus being delivered (Credit: GM)

It used to be that the Big Three had a stranglehold on the American auto market, but times are changing. According to IHS Automotive, the sales volume of vehicles from the Big Three are a mere shadow of what they were in the year 2000.

Fourteen years ago, Big Three models made up two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the United States. Now, they make up less than half of all sales in the country. IHS points out that the decline hasn’t been dramatic or sudden, but instead has been a gradual shift since 2000. Other brands have become more dominant and popular with consumers.

Another contributing factor is that each of the Big Three has fewer dealerships than before, and each automaker has shrunk to one extent or another. Brands like Mercury, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Hummer, and Plymouth are nonexistent today.

Filling in the gaps in the U.S. marketplace are surging brands like Hyundai, Nissan, and Kia. Excellent marketing campaigns, improved products, and expanded lineup offerings from foreign automakers have helped them gain even more of a foothold in the market. Numerous production plants have also been established by a number of brands, while existing facilities have been expanded to keep up with the growing demand for vehicles.

This isn’t to say that the Big Three are not a force in the automotive market. IHS says that all indicators point toward GM staying at the top position of the market with somewhere around an 18 percent share of all sales. Still, there’s no denying that the trend has been slipping sales for the Big Three, something that so far shows no signs of reversing.

This next year could be a big boon for the automotive industry. CNBC is reporting that early projections for vehicle sales in 2015 have been pegged at 17 million-plus units, which is a figure that hasn’t been seen since 2001. All automakers should see an uptick in sales, but whether or not the Big Three will be able to regain lost ground remains to be seen.

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