The Detroit 3 gained a chunk of U.S. market share on their competitors from Japan in January, taking 45.1 percent of January sales compared with 38.1 percent for the Japanese.
Indeed, it was the eighth month in the past 12 months in which the domestics gained ground on the Japanese. The Detroiters' 7 percentage point lead last month was up from a 5.4 point spread in December.
And two of the Detroit 3 posted significant sales gains, at least compared with January 2009; Ford Motor Co.'s domestic brands were up 24 percent over last year, and General Motors Co.'s rose 15 percent. But go easy on the celebrating -- last January was horrendous for both companies.
Industry sales of 698,990 were 6 percent better than January 2009. But a better comparison is with 2007, the last of the industry's string of nine consecutive 16 million-plus sales years. Last month's sales for the industry were down 36 percent from the opening month of 2007.