Lost in the excitement of market share and sales gains by domestic automakers is the fact that not all are enjoying the results posted in 2011. Toyota and Honda have both seen their fortunes decline through the year, thanks in part to supply problems from the tsunami that rocked Japan earlier in the year.
All three domestic brands increased their market share in 2011, something that hadn’t happened since 1988. Back then, the Big 3 accounted for a whopping 73.1 percent of every car sold in the United States. In 2011, the Big 3 took in 47.2 percent of the market, a rise from 45.1 percent in 2010.
Toyota and Honda, however, sold fewer cars in 2011 than they did in 2010. There’s huge disagreement as to the ability of these Japanese stalwarts to gain back their losses in 2012, however. Toyota did post a modest gain in sales of 0.4 percent in December, but still finished the year down.
Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com, thinks the declines are due to more than just inventory issues, and that consumer perceptions of higher prices drove buyers away from Toyota and Honda.
“There has been kind of a vacuum in the market,” Anwyl said. “I think moving into next year, that vacuum isn’t going to be there, and it actually could go in reverse.”
Overall Increase/Decrease in Sales by Major Automakers in 2011
- Audi - 15.7 percent rise
- BMW - 16 percent rise
- Chrysler (includes Dodge and Jeep) – 26 percent rise
- Ford (includes Lincoln) – 11 percent rise
- General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC) – 13 percent rise
- Honda – 7.7 percent decline
- Hyundai – 20 percent rise
- Kia – 36.3 percent rise
- Mercedes – 16 percent rise
- Nissan (includes Infiniti) – 15 percent rise
- Toyota (includes Scion and Lexus) - 6.7 percent decline
- Volkswagen – 23.6 percent rise