It could turn into a battle royale this year as Japanese makers look to claw back lost sales and lost share. But Detroit’s Big Three have tasted blood and aren’t ready to go into retreat. Meanwhile, Korean and European makers are also ready to pull out the big guns, industry analysts are suggesting.
The loss of market share by Honda and Toyota will certainly make the domestic makers more competitive this year, analysts say. But it could also touch off the sort of incentive wars, observers fear, that can rapidly wipe out industry profits.
“Toyota and Honda will get some of the market share back but they won’t get all of it,” says Jesse Toprak, vice president and analyst with TrueCar.com.
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March and the subsequent flooding in Thailand in November created shortages that cost Toyota, Honda and even Subaru some market share in 2011, according to Paul Taylor, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association.