Sunday, December 28, 2014

China Auto Death Match: Volkswagen Tops General Motors, Ford Bests Toyota

China expects its economy to grow by 7.6% in 2013–and the world’s automakers–Ford Motor (F), General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen (VLKAY) among them–are betting big that they will benefit.

Bloomberg explains the state of the battle royale among the world’s car makers:

Volkswagen AG is poised to sell more vehicles in China than General Motors Co. for the first time in nine years, regaining its place as the biggest foreign carmaker in the world's largest auto market.

Both companies have surpassed their targets to deliver more than 3 million vehicles in China this year, with Volkswagen crossing the mark on Dec. 5 and GM a week later. The German automaker held a lead of about 70,000 vehicles through the first 11 months, according to data from the automakers.

Competition is set to intensify between the top European and American automakers, which have announced a combined $36 billion in investment for China even as more of the nation's cities consider vehicle restrictions to cut pollution. Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), still recovering from a consumer backlash, was outsold by Ford Motor Co. in the country this year.

In a report on Monday, Sterne Agee’s Michael Ward assessed the state of auto sales in South America. He writes:

The South American industry remains volatile and second half sales have been weaker than expected but the region continues to hold promise for future growth…

General Motors is the market leader in the region but has dropped more than two points in share over the last few years. Ford's product lineup has been revamped and has gained share in eight of the last nine months. For the full year, South American operations for both companies are expected to be about breakeven and below the 2012 comparison.

General Motor’s South American market share dropped to 16.4% in November, down from 17.6% a year earlier, while Ford’s share remained at 8.8% of the market. Volkswagen saw its market share drop to 15.4% from 16.6%, while Toyota Motor’s rose to 5.5% from 4.9%.

Shares of General Motors have gained 2.2% to $41.79 today at 10:56 a.m., while Ford has risen 0.9% to $15.32, Toyota has advanced 2.6% to $121.74 and Volkswagen is up 0.4% to $53.02.

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