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The New York Times reports that according to internal projections Ford Motor Co. expects Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) to unseat it as the #2 car-maker behind General Motors Corp. (NYSE:GM) -- a position that has been Ford's since the 1920s -- as soon as January, 2007, a much faster shift than Ford had originally anticipated. Ford expects its market share to bottom within two years at 14-15%; its current market share is 16.2%, down from highs of 25% just six years ago. The projections also show that Ford expects Toyota market share to grow when it introduces the new model of its Ford Chart 21 12 06Tundra full-size pickup in February; Ford's drop and Toyota's gain will put the Japanese company ahead. Ford's chief sales statistician declined to comment on the internal projections, but did say, "Unless you think Toyota is going to go backwards, it’s a good possibility that they will gain market share.” Ford officials are also watching the Chrysler Group, which is implementing its most recent restructuring plan after seeing car and truck inventories balloon this year. Chrysler has heavily increased rebates and other deals -- if this continues into 2007, and Chrysler picks up the rental-car sales lost by Ford's discontinued Taurus, Ford’s projections show it could wind up fourth. Ford's new CEO, Alan Mulally, has said Ford needs to pay more attention to cost-cutting and transforming its business model than to measurements like market share.

• Sources: New York Times
• Related commentary: GM, Ford And Clean Car Hype, No Tough Times For Toyota, DaimlerChrysler's New Marketing Strategy: The Beginning of the End for Car Dealerships?, Toyota Comments on U.S. Sales Outlook, Denies Tundra Production Cut. Conference call transcripts: Ford Q3 2006DaimlerChrysler Q3 2006, General Motors Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F), Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), DaimlerChrysler (DCX), General Motors Corp. (GM)

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Source: Ford's Internal Projections: Toyota Will Be #2 Within Months