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U.S. Auto Manufacturers Ford, Chrysler and GM Compete Head-On with Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Globally, during 2022, top automobile and light truck sellers included Volkswagen Group with 8.48 million units sold and Toyota Motor Corporation with 8.82 million vehicles sold.  Hyundai Group sold 2.89 million and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) sold 5.80 million.  In the U.S. market, GM regained its leadership with a 16.1% market share over Toyota with a 15.0% market share, followed by Fiat/Chrysler (11.0%) and Ford (13.2%).
Recent U.S. Car Company History:  Control of Chrysler was acquired by Italian car maker Fiat in 2009.  In 2021, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV merged with the parent company of Peugeot, creating a new company called Stellantis.  The firm also owns the highly successful Jeep brand.  The other major U.S. automakers, Ford and GM, have gone through their own vast changes.  GM took bankruptcy in 2009 and accepted massive federal loans while it restructured.  Meanwhile, Ford engineered its own reorganization, without government bailouts and without declaring bankruptcy.  The company sold its Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover brands, and in 2010 closed its Mercury division.  Ford also closed several of its production plants and shuttered more than 600 dealerships.  By 2011, the company began to radically simplify production by utilizing a small number of basic platforms for all its models (thereby working from the same basic components in plants that utilize the same types of tooling), down from 15 platforms five years earlier.
Total car and light truck sales in the U.S. during 2022 hit 13.73 million vehicles, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).  2016 hit a record with 17.6 million units sold, boosted by buyers driving new, bigger vehicles to take advantage of cheap gasoline prices.  Many components were extremely difficult to obtain, including the semiconductors that are vital components in products such as automobiles and appliances.  A general supply chain backlog occurred that created bottlenecks and slowdowns in many industries.
Major car manufacturers from many nations have been investing heavily in auto production facilities at state-of-the-art plants in Mexico and in the U.S., with a growing focus on electric vehicle production.  These include large plants owned by such companies as Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and BMW.  About 80% of Mexican-built vehicles are exported, and the majority go to the U.S.  At the same time, manufacturers in the U.S. and globally are faced with redesigning and retooling for what is forecast to be a booming long-term market for electric vehicles (EVs).  The supply chain issues in EVs are very challenging, as massive investment is required in new battery plants and the special electrical controls and systems required for them.  Other issues will be involved as well, including the vital challenges of obtaining lithium and other raw materials for the millions of batteries that will be required, as well as providing consumers and fleet operators with access to a sufficient number of vehicle charging stations.
A major U.S. infrastructure bill that passed Congress in late 2021 directs $5 billion into expanding EV charging stations on major highways.  Another $2.5 billion in grant funding was earmarked for EV charging or other green alternatives such as hydrogen fueling infrastructure.  A bill referred to as the Inflation Reduction Act enacted in 2022 extends tax credits of up to $1,000 for installation of charging stations by homeowners, and up to $30,000 per property for commercial stations, but there are several restrictions.

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