Detroit Three, Koreans Steal Small-Car Market Share from Japanese

Detroit Three, Koreans Steal Small-Car Market Share from Japanese

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, along with their South Korean competitors are increasing sales to the coveted youth demographic. Their growth comes at the expense of Japanese automakers that are losing ground in this segment.

For the Detroit Three, retail registrations to new-vehicle buyers in the 18-to-24-year-old group has increased by nearly 2 percent since 2008. Stepping up the age ladder one notch, sales to people between 25 and 34 years old grew by 1.5 percent.

The story is much the same when you look at Hyundai and Kia. Last year they gained nearly 7 percent among the younger demographic and more than 5 percent with older one.

Of course the new-vehicle sales pie is only so big; if some automakers are growing that means others are losing ground. Since 2008 Japanese automakers have lost 9.8 percent in the 18-to-24 segment, and 7.7 percent among 25-to-34-year-olds.

SEE ALSO: February 2013 Sales

Despite the decline Japanese automakers lead the market in sales to these demographics. Last year they drove away with nearly 43 percent of each age group.

GM, Ford and Chrysler’s sales success among youth buyers is likely attributable to their solid small-cars. For the most part each company offers stylish, efficient and affordable vehicles that have resonated with youngsters.

In more good news for the home teams, the Detroit Three’s share of the small- and mid-size car market is expected to grow to 33 percent next year, up from just 26 points back in 2009.