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Ford sales will top GM by 2012
A leading economic forecasting firm sees an anemic recovery in new car sales over the next 18 months, but a stronger rebound after 2012 when Ford’s market share in the U.S. will surpass General Motors and narrowly trail Toyota’s.

“The good news is we are at the bottom. That bad news is the hole is deep and it will take long to dig out,” said George Magliano, Global Insight director of North America auto industry research. Several experts from the Lexington, Mass., firm met with clients and industry leaders today at the Dearborn Inn.

Magliano and Nariman Behravesh, the firm’s chief economist, talked about a slow and gradual recovery from this year’s bottom of just over 10 million vehicle sales in the U.S. to 11.2 million next year. But pent-up demand, the eventual creation of jobs and a modest recovery in housing will propel the industry back to annual sales of as high as 17 million by 2014.

In the near-term, however, GM and Chrysler will see their respective market shares shrink. GM will shrink largely due to the death or sale of four brands – Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and Hummer. Chrysler is trying to revive its small and midsize cars, compact crossover utility vehicles and successfully use Fiat’s engineering, purchasing and powertrain expertise.

While no one can predict how well GM and Chrysler will meet those challenges, Magliano showed a chart forecasting that Toyota, Ford and GM all converging at annual U.S. sales of about 3 million vehicles by 2015, with Toyota holding about 17.5% of the market, Ford with 17% and GM at 16.5%.

“Given all GM has gone through, getting back to 20% market share is just not doable,” Magliano said. Detroit Free Press

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