Market share still in play, recovery will be slow, forecaster says

George Magliano, director of automotive research at IHS Global Insight, opened this year's NADA/IHS Global Insight Automotive Forum with a few predictions in advance of the New York auto show.

The bottom line: No manufacturer has a secure market position today.

"The future is in play," Magliano told an audience of about 200 this morning at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel. "There is a tremendous amount of market share up for grabs."

Among Magliano's other economic predictions:

• The fight for market share will push incentives higher this year.

• U.S. light vehicle sales will recover slowly, rising to 11.8 million units this year and 17 million by 2015. "Industry sales are tracking higher than expected."

• Cars will account for 53 percent of the mix within the next few years.

• Credit is loosening, "but we will never see approval rates return to the levels of 2005 or 2006."

• Toyota, Ford and General Motors will battle for the market share lead over the next four years. GM will have a 17 percent market share by 2015 and Toyota and Ford will settle at 16 percent.

"The recall has really hurt Toyota," Magliano said. "The first-time buyers will be a struggle for Toyota."

• Subcompact (Honda Fit class), compact (Chevrolet Cruze) and lower-midsize cars (Honda Accord and Toyota Camry) will dominate sales over the next five years as large cars and SUVs decline.

"We've turned the corner," he said. "The recovery won't feel as strong as it could have. Cost cutting will enable the industry to survive at lower volumes."