Japanese Autos Record Highest U.S. Sales Ever, Grabbing More Market Share from Big-3 (TM, HMC, NSANY, GM, F, DCX)

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Includes: DDAIF, F, GM, HMC, NSANY, TM
by: Steven Towns

Final auto sales data for 2005 show that Japan’s Big-3 (Toyota ( TM ), Honda (HMC), and Nissan (NSANY)) continue to experience strong U.S. sales while General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) move in the opposite direction. Japanese autos achieved a 30% plus market share in the U.S. for the first time in 2004 and added another 1.8% in 2005 for a total market share of 32.2%. The lone bright spot for the U.S. Big-3 was DaimlerChrysler (DCX), which recorded a 4.5% increase in sales but as a whole the Big-3 has seen its market share erode from 70% to 57% in just the past five-years.

It comes as no surprise that American consumers were eager to seek out more fuel-efficient Japanese autos over American autos in a year that witnessed unprecedented increases and levels of gasoline prices. Toyota and Honda enjoy a near monopoly on hybrid (gasoline-electric engine) autos. GM and Ford on the other hand continue to suffer from weak SUV and light-truck sales and the outlook for 2006 doesn’t look much better.

It is expected that Toyota will surpass GM sometime this year or early next year in total global auto sales. In the U.S. market, Toyota will replace DaimlerChrysler in the 3rd spot based on annual sales projections. Although Ford and GM have fairly sizable domestic sales compared to Toyota, there is a 14% difference in sales with Toyota nearly achieving a double-digit increase.

Honda experienced its 9th consecutive year of breaking prior year annual sales records.

Nissan sold over 1-million autos for the first time for a total of 1.07 million.

Mitsubishi’s sales decreased over 23% on the year.

Overall, there was a .5% increase in auto sales in 2005 in the United States.

*2005 U.S. Auto Sales Figures*
(Year-over-year change in parentheses)

General Motors 4,416,043 (-4.4%)
Ford 2,953,197 (-4.7%)
Daimler Chrysler 2,304,833 (+4.5%)
Toyota 2,260,296 (+9.7%)
Honda 1,462,472 (+4.9%)
Nissan 1,076,670 (+9.2%)
Mazda 258,339 (-2.1%)
Mitsubishi 123,995 (-23.3%)

Total 16,993,886 (+0.5%)

Source: Auto Data, Kyodo News