The U. S. auto industry's share of the market has experienced fluctuations over the past 50 years. These fluctuations have been caused by many reasons, but some of the main reasons include quality, price, and foreign competition.
The Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, and the Chrysler Corporation, a.k.a. "The Big Three", are the three largest manufacturers of automobiles in the world. " The Big Three" hold nearly 75% of the market and produce over 8 million automobiles per year. The largest competitors of " The Big Three" are Japanese auto producers that include Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. These three foreign manufacturers hold 20% of the market and produce about 2.7 million automobiles per year.
General Motors Company, the world's largest automobile producer, originally was composed of four major vehicle manufacturers- Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Oakland which became Pontiac. Presently, General Motors is made up of Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn. During the first thirty years of operation GM's only major competition was from U. S. manufacturers. However, since the first foreign truck was imported from Japan in 1956, GM's share of the market began to decline. Foreign cars were smaller, more fuel efficient, less expensive, and often more reliable than their American counterparts. General Motor's market share dipped from nearly 44% in 1973 to below 30% in 1985. In response to this sudden drop in its share of the market GM founded the Saturn Company. Saturn produces compact cars very similar to Japanese imports at competitive prices. This response halted GM's declining share of the market. Today, General Motors maintains about 30% of the market.
General Motors was the first large auto company to begin research on alternative fuel sources and continues to lead the way. Some developments of this research include the first production natural gas engine, and the...