0% finds friends out West

RADIO COMMENTARY
Edward Lapham is editor of Automotive News

Nov. 16 -- For several years, the Big 3 have found it much tougher to compete out West.

Through September of this year, the Big 3 had just 48 percent of the California market, according to R.L. Polk and Co., a drop of 10 percentage points in five years.

But 0 percent financing has appealled to consumers who might otherwise have ignored them.

General Motors sales in the West were up more than 51 percent in October. Chrysler sales out West were up almost 13 percent and Ford sales in California alone were up more than 25 percent.

When 0 percent financing ends, the Big 3 will need new marketing programs to permanently recapture market share out west.

Otherwise, it has just been California dreamin'.

You can reach Edward Lapham at elapham@crain.com

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