American car market changed drastically over the years. From the market that was fully ran by American car manufacturers, we came to today’s figures where only 52% of the market is ran by American manufacturers, while the rest is covered from imports from mostly Japan, Europe and South Korea. These figures are from 2005. which means that after each model year even bigger share (probably bigger than 50%) is owned by the foreign manufacturers.
Unitl the sixties the market was domineered by the ”big three’, Ford , Chrysler and GM. Another big competitor were American Motors, who owned Jeep division that’s part of the Chrysler today. From 1965, Japanese and European vehicles started their sale in the States and since then their number is increasing by the day. This is especially the case with Japanese competitors, who in 1985 already had one fifth of the whole American market. From 1985 until 2005 their share increased for 23% taken from American manufacturers.
One story that’s fully connected with the decrease of market shares owned by the American companies is the deterioration of the biggest car industry center in the US, Detroit, Michigan. Most of the companies picked this city to build there their factories, because its proximity to the great lakes provides easy and cheap access to the raw materials and later product shipments. When American companies start loosing market share, their first reaction was to ship their factories in countries with lower average wages. Since they started implementing this measure, citizens of Detroit lost more than 200,000 jobs.
If you are asking why did Japanese and other manufacturers take over American car market, the reason lies in better and more efficient production process. Toyota for example needs much less time to make vehicle that GM, on top of that at the moment they have much more modern production proses with smaller teams of workers. Their production is also more environment friendly, which is becoming one of the most important criteria for today’s buyers.
Japanese manufacturers brought ”Kaizen” principle to the United States. This principle includes constant improvement of production, that is discussed by literately all workers of one company, who all participate in new models improvements in their own sectors. This principle needs a lot of work from all the sectors that covers vehicle’s production, but it is very payable on the long run, because it provides constant advantage and competitiveness and each new model year brings more innovation.
There is also one more thing that became very important during last few decades in car industry, and its alliances companies made. These alliances offer chance to compete on other company’s traditional market, to share assembling facilities and share car parts and areas of expertise. One of the best example for a successful car alliance is the one between Renault and Nissan. This partnership owns one tenth of the whole world car market. They use each-other’s plants, parts and provide access to different markets for vehicles wearing their badges. They also very successfully share areas of expertise, with Nissan providing their expertise in production of petrol engines, while Renault focuses on diesel ones.
Another thing that largely influences American market are the gas prices. From the sixties onwards we had a few oil crises. American foreign politics in largely influenced with providing citizens and the industry enough energy, which leads to further conflicts, that sometime cause long oil crises and from ovidesthe first one that happened in the sixties when US supported Israel in Middle East conflict and angered their Arab partners that provide most of the oil to US, interest in larger vehicles start getting smaller. Today American and foreign car industry fights with high gas prices with new technologies. One of the most popularized technologies that provide lower gas consumption is the hybrid technology. This technology provides two energy sources each car use. One is usually gas, which is used to start the car, which means that you need to fill up the car tank really rarely, while the other can be electric or hydrogen one which is cheaper and more sustainable, and it cuts the costs of fuel significantly. Hybrid model’s production grow with each new model year.
Here you can find links to recent model year pages, on which you have list of reviews: