General Motors is on track to increase its U.S. market share in 2011 -- the first time that has happened in nine years. GM's share climbed by 1 percentage point in the first nine months of the year, from 19 percent to 20 percent.
The last time GM gained share over a full calendar year was in 2002, when it added 0.3 percentage points. But when was the last time GM picked up at least 1 point in a single year? For that you have to go back to 1978, when its U.S. share grew 1.4 points to 46.3 percent -- roughly what the Detroit 3 command today.
This year GM has been helped by new models such as the Chevrolet Cruze and has taken advantage of reduced supplies for Japanese competitors caused by the March earthquake.
What drove GM's success back in 1978? It was the rip-roaring redesign of GM's mid-sized sedans: the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal.