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After falling in every single year between 1994 and 2009, the market share of the Big Three (GM, Ford (NYSE:F) and Chrysler) is on pace to increase slightly in 2010 for the first time in 17 years. Based on year-to-date (YTD) sales through November from Ward's Automotive, the Big Three will capture about 44% of the U.S. vehicle market this year, up slightly from 43.66% last year (see chart below). If that happens, it would be the Big Three's first increase in market share since 1993.

Also, based on sales data through November from Ward's, the light truck share of the U.S. vehicle market will increase to 50.8% in 2010 from 48.5% last year. This will be the first time since 2007 that light truck sales will be more than half of all vehicle sales, and the first year since 2005 that the market share of trucks has increased (see chart below).

Other highlights for the automotive industry include:

  1. Capacity Utilization for the U.S. automakers in 2009 was only 45.2%, compared to 62.2% for 2010 (based on full year data).
  2. U.S. total vehicle production YTD in 2010 is above last year by 38.7%, from 5.17 million units to 7.17 units.
  3. Vehicle sales in the U.S. this year, at 10.4 million units YTD, are running 11.1% above last year's sales of 9.375 million units.

Taken together, these facts suggest that the U.S. automotive industry made a strong recovery this year in terms of sales and production, and next year will probably be even better.

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Source: U.S. Auto Industry on Pace to Increase Slightly