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Toyota's popularity unnerves the Big Three
  • The innovative spirit of home town heroes is a case of too little too late in the market share battle against importers, writes Philip King
  • January 17, 2007
"THEY'VE brought it upon themselves," says the shuttle driver taking me to Detroit airport. The Big Three did not take Toyota seriously and now cannot match it for reliability and ownership appeal. He knows because his two-year old Dodge - despite being "a lovely truck" - is developing front-end problems after just two years when his previous Toyota went faultlessly for six. "Yeah, they do that," the Dodge dealer had said when he took it in. My driver has little sympathy for Motown's fate and thinks most Americans feel the same.

If one of the most quoted statistic last week was anything to go by, he's right. Twenty-five per cent of Americans are considering buying a Toyota, according to the results of a consumer survey which received wide publicity during Detroit's annual motor fest.

The traditional curtain-raiser for the year was marking its 100th anniversary but General Motors, Ford and Chrysler had little to celebrate with their market shares going further into reverse in 2006. Meanwhile, Toyota - which was celebrating 50 years stateside - surged ahead to reach a 15.4 per cent share and most importers grew, albeit less strongly.


MORE @ THE AUSTRALIAN
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21069872-28737,00.html
 
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