Wall Street Journal Shows Market Share Among Big Five Car Makers for August 2011

A new monthly report from the Wall Street Journal shows what’s happening to market share for various domestic and foreign auto makers serving the North American market. Each month, the Journal posts a continuation of a chart showing month-to-month values for the last year, along with a longer-term ten year chart; these visuals reveal how major car manufacturers are faring in today’s very competitive market. Posted September 1, the newest iteration of this chart tracks changes in market share for the big five: Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota.

Perhaps the biggest move on September’s chart is that Chrysler continues to catch up to Toyota in terms of market share. While September of 2010 saw Chrysler tied with Honda at just above 8%, and Toyota much higher, sales numbers now show that the maker of Jeep products and other attractive vehicles is closing in on a brand that some say is tarnished by massive recalls and other setbacks during this year. As for Honda, market share numbers track lower, below 8%, suggesting that the massive popularity of the Honda Civic is not enough to keep this Japanese automaker in close competition with its peers. At the top of the chart, General Motors retained its solid edge over all other competitors. The ten year chart shows that over time, GM seems to be losing its dominant position, but with around 20% of total market share according to the Wall Street Journal chart, the company still trumps its closest competitor, Ford, which is estimated at about 16%.

The Wall Street Journal numbers also show how some vehicle segments and models have been picking up in sales in August. For example, midsize SUVs appear to be hot on today’s market, and the WSJ chart shows a current interest in certain car models including the Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Elantra, and Volkswagen Jetta. Shoppers can use this kind of information to bring precision to their ideas about model pricing and how they should strategize about picking up a new vehicle. Keeping an eye on the current data can help you see how competition in the auto market can affect the final transaction price that you get from a dealer, and whether you’re likely to encounter markups due to model trends. Go to the dealership armed with knowledge of the market context, and you’re more likely to drive away a winner.