After more than half a century as the world's biggest automaker, General Motors finds itself a humble No. 2 as it marks its 100th anniversary.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s ascent to the top with ever-improving profits has been rapid and seemingly inevitable. But the race is far from over. To assess the relative status of GM and Toyota, Automotive News measured five key indicators:
1. Dominance of the home market.
2. Expansion in fast-growing overseas markets.
4. Partnerships with suppliers and other automakers.
5. Corporate culture.
Toyota's complete dominance of its home market in Japan gives it a huge advantage over GM.
On the down side, Japan's automotive market has been stagnant for the past 20 years. But with a home market share of 40 percent, Toyota can count on steady revenue and profits. Toyota can roll out new technology and vehicles in its home market, then seek additional volume overseas.
By contrast, GM has virtually no presence in Japan. In the 1990s, the company formed a partnership with Toyota to sell the Chevrolet Cavalier in Japan, then introduced its Saturn brand. The cars bombed.
None of this would amount to much if GM still dominated the United States. Thirty years ago, GM accounted for 50 percent of total U.S. sales of cars and trucks.
But those days are gone. The United States — once GM's turf — is up for grabs. This summer, GM's share of the U.S. market declined to 21 percent, while Toyota now is the nation's second-biggest automaker.