Japanese automakers lose market share in California image

U.S. automakers gained market share in California last year as Japanese automakers were affected by product shortages because of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.

Japanese automakers saw their market share in California shrink by 4.5 percent to 44.5 percent, according to California Auto Outlook, a service from the California New Cars Dealers Association. On the other hand, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler gained a combined 1.8 percent in market share in 2011 in the Golden State, the same as Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, while all European brands’ marketshare grew by 0.9 percent.

California new-vehicle registrations increased 9.9 percent to 1.3 million units last year, just below the nationwide growth rate of 10.3 percent. In 2010, new-car registrations rose 13.1 percent in California. The best growth rates in the state were recorded by Kia (+53 percent) and Jeep (+49 percent), followed by Hyundai, GMC and Ford.

The only brands to lose registration volume last year were all Japanese brands affected by quake-related shortages: Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Honda and Infiniti. As a consequence, GM and Ford, with 12.6 percent each of the California market, overtook Honda, with 12.1 percent. Toyota remained however No. 1 with a 19.2 percent market share, down from 22.8 percent in 2010.