The U.S. automotive industry - dominated for decades by Big
Three manufacturers General Motors (
), Ford (
) and Chrysler - finds itself becoming more diversified as a result
of two years worth of shaky economic times, bankrupticies and
comebacks from insolvencies,
the Wall Street Journal reports
Those automakers will survive but four additional manufacturers
with strong performances and market shares of at least five percent
will come aboard to complete the Gang of Seven. Toyota (
), Nissan (
), Honda (
) and Hyundai (HYMTF), which is very close to and soon expected to
pass that five percent mark, help create a new dynamic where one
automaker no longer can target only one other rival.
"I think it's fair to say we are entering a new era," Jim Press, an
automotive consultant and formerly an executive with Toyota and
Chrysler, told the publication. "You have a completely different
situation when you have six or seven companies that are all
established, with a significant customer base. It's not like the
old days when it was the Big Three and then all these little guys."
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler suffered enormous losses in 2008
and 2009 forcing them to declare bankruptcy. In 2010, Ford and
Chrysler rebounded to capture market share while GM slimmed down,
conducted an initial public offering of its stock and is likely to
report strong sales profits.
"There's much less margin for error now," Michael J. Jackson, chief
executive of AutoNation Inc. (AN), a large chain of auto
dealerships based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "If you don't give
the customer exactly what he wants, he's got a wide range of other
places to go."