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Ford, Honda new-product cycle should boost U.S. market share, report says

Ford's new products, such as the aluminum-bodied F-150, should increase its share of the U.S. market by half a percentage point to 16.2 percent by 2017 from the end of last year, the report said. Photo credit: RICHARD TRUETT

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. stand to capture more of the U.S. automotive market than their counterparts during the next four years as they woo buyers with new products such as Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.

Ford’s most critical new product is its aluminum F-150. The automaker is retooling two factories to make the pickup, part of a plan this year to add 16 new models in North America. The company says its new F-150 is about 700 pounds lighter than the steel version it will replace, which should increase its fuel efficiency.

“That kind of improvement in that truck could create some shifts in the market share of Ford to the positive side,” John Murphy, a Bank of America Corp. auto analyst, told reporters today in Detroit after he presented his annual “Car Wars” report.

Ford and Honda may refresh or replace 28 percent of their annual sales volume in the period from 2015 through 2018, compared to an industry average of 23 percent. Murphy’s estimates for his report are based on the assumption that consumers swayed by new products are drawn to dealer lots to buy vehicles.

Restocked showrooms will meet a strong appetite if sales trends seen in May continue.

Car buyers flocked to showrooms last month, encouraged by strong stock and housing markets, rising consumer confidence and a jobless rate that’s hovering at an almost 6-year low.

Industrywide, U.S. auto sales rose 11 percent to 1.61 million light vehicles in May, topping the average analyst estimate of 1.54 million. The annualized pace, adjusted for seasonal trends, rose to 16.8 million, the highest since February 2007. For the year to date, U.S. light vehicle sales rose 5 percent to 6.7 million unit.

Honda pipeline 

For Ford new products should increase its share of the U.S. market by half a percentage point to 16.2 percent by 2017 from the end of last year. Honda’s should increase by the same amount, to 10.3 percent, Bank of America said.

Honda’s pipeline includes a 2015 Acura TLX sedan, a 2016 Pilot SUV and a new Odyssey minivan for model year 2017 for the automaker, the report said.

Industrywide, automakers will bring 192 new products to the U.S. market for model years 2015 through 2018, for an average of 48 a year, according to the report. The pipeline is weighted toward crossovers and light trucks, which will increase the mix of those segments to more than half the U.S. vehicle market by 2018, from about 45 percent in the years between 2005 and 2014, the report found.

That pace is about 28 percent faster than the average number of models released between 1994 and 2014. The jump is partly fueled by an expansion into new vehicle segments, including crossovers, SUVs and hybrids and the resurgence of companies such as Chrysler Group LLC, whose revitalization under parent Fiat SpA has led to 50 straight months of sales gains in the U.S.

U.S. automakers are now bringing new products to market every four or five years, from a traditional rate of every seven or eight years, Bank of America said.

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