As the U.S. economic environment continues to improve and consumers emerge out of the recent period of uncertainty, there are multiple underlying trends automotive companies are facing and should continue to address.
U.S. automotive executives should heed the wisdom of Andy Grove, Intel co-founder and former chairman: “Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. Only the paranoid survive.” Given the recent strong performances by each of the Big Three, they should be absolutely terrified.
After several years of sustained decline, the U.S. auto market has started showing strong signs of recovery. Bloomberg recently reported U.S. car sales are the strongest in four years – since before the Great Recession. Sales for 2011 reached nearly $13 billion, according to the Automotive News Data Center, up from $10.4 billion, in 2009, a recent low. Still, domestic brands comprise less than 50 percent of total cars sold: General Motors leads the Big Three with 18 percent of total U.S. sales, followed by Ford and Chrysler at 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively.