Here’s how Ford and GM are losing the car market

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

American car manufacturers’ shares of the U.S. car market are shrinking as more Americans than ever make the switch to foreign cars. Japanese makes are the most popular, with Korean and German manufacturers also gaining market share.

This video below shows how the popularity of different car manufacturers has changed since 1961.

In general, American car brands steadily lost their market share through this time period. In recent years, however, Fiat-Chrysler has mostly stabilized its sales, while GM and Ford are still losing market share. Ford was even surpassed by Toyota in 2018, according to the data.

Of course, the popularity of American car brands varies from state to state. The sales data for each particular state is not publicly available, but we can compare the numbers of new cars (vehicles three or fewer years old) for each brand. The National Household Travel Survey provides us with a good approximation of these numbers.

Based on a sample of nearly 130,000 households, the aggregate “Big Three” market share is (unsurprisingly) highest in Michigan, the center of the U.S. automotive industry.

American car brands popularity by state, percent of new cars in 2017

In contrast, only one in every four cars is American in Massachusetts, California and Florida. Generally, the numbers are lower along the coasts and higher in the central states. Interestingly, Ford's market share varies much less between states.


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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

Other posts by Andrey Kamenov:

2 thoughts on “Here’s how Ford and GM are losing the car market”

  1. Your title sounded as if you had the answer, why? It appears to me that most Americans are oblivious to their own end. Promoting the “Its all about me movement” without a clue as to how much their own livelihoods depend on the American Automobile Industry. At last look, 70% of Americans were directly affected by the American Automobile Industry. By American, I mean American Companies. Not companies building vehicles in the U.S. This Countrys rise and success is beause of God and the Automobile Industry. Now we feel so self-righteous and impowered, we can send tax dollars where ever we want! Regardless if it undermines the very soil our homes are built on. You say, “well they’re building them right here in the US, employing thousands ” …of Robots!
    While these companies do bring some jobs that money goes home. Where ever the company is based, thats where the money goes. Not our schools, Banks and Markets. Last quarter, the service sector of our market soared. The durable goods fell, in this robust market. We hardly produce anything anymore except lip service and all the while sending Trillions of tax dollars! Right Trillions, to foreign companies every year in Automobiles alone. America, is selling itself off right now. All because I waaahant what I… want right now-I deserve it, waaaah, waaah!

  2. The root problem with US business is the Harvard Business school and the rest of MBA-issuing business schools; short term returns and fat checks for the MBA-trained execs based on those short term returns.

    Actually, the best thing that happened to US manufacturers in general, not just cars, is Trump’s tariff that push the German and Japanese manufacturers to set up better run, internationally competive factories in the US. This is good for the US. American investors and workers. Such factories provide new jobs also because they are competitive and are able to export.

    US management thinking is sinking the US. The more factories run along German and Japanese management thinking the better. By the way, that is how many US companies used to be run, until the marketing and bean counting bs of the MBSA arrived.

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