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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM U.S. Sales May Drop to 30% in 10 Years, Lutz Says (Update1)

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GM U.S. Sales May Drop to 30% in 10 Years, Lutz Says (Update1)

By Greg Bensinger

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp.'s U.S. sales of cars and trucks may fall to 30 percent of the company's total within 10 years as its home market stagnates and the automaker expands in other regions, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said.

In this year's first nine months, 42 percent of the Detroit- based company's sales were in the U.S. GM is in the eighth straight year of declining domestic sales.

``The U.S. is down to replacement demand, it's not going to grow like it once did,'' Lutz said today in an interview in Memphis, Tennessee. ``In 10 years, we'll be down to about 30 percent of our business coming from the United States.''

Overseas growth has bolstered GM's bid to hold off Toyota Motor Corp. and extend a 76-year reign as the world's largest automaker. The company led Toyota 7.06 million to 7.05 million in global sales this year through September. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner had been closing U.S. plants while adding factories in places such as South Africa, India and Russia.

Lutz said he expects GM to retain a U.S. market share of about 25 percent for the foreseeable future. ``We're perfectly happy with a stable, profitable 25 percent share,'' he said.

With reduced costs through a new labor contract with the United Auto Workers union and improved products such as the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu sedan, the automaker ``actually has a shot at making some money selling vehicles in the U.S.'' in coming quarters, Lutz said.

GM narrowed its loss in North America to $39 million in the second quarter, the most recent for which figures have been released, from $3.95 billion a year earlier.

The redesigned Malibu, which goes on sale tomorrow, is expected to help the company improve U.S. sales, Lutz said.

``It represents General Motors' best effort,'' he told reporters yesterday. ``Right now, we don't know how to do any better than this.''

GM rose 97 cents to $39.19 at 4:21 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 28 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Bensinger in Southfield, Michigan, at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

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they are soooo lying. they would like to keep the 25% and improve on it I bet. I bet they would love to get to 30%.

Of course, maybe they see more profit potential going down to like 20% and charging more for higher buck models.

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GM U.S. Sales May Drop to 30% in 10 Years, Lutz Says (Update1)

By Greg Bensinger

The redesigned Malibu, which goes on sale tomorrow, is expected to help the company improve U.S. sales, Lutz said.

``It represents General Motors' best effort,'' he told reporters yesterday. ``Right now, we don't know how to do any better than this.''

Why in the world would Bob Lutz make such a comment in public? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

His comment should have been:

"It represents General Motors' best effort to date. We look at this vehicle as a starting point to an even brighter product future."

"Right now, we don't know how to do any better than this." doesn't exactly instill a sense of confidence in GM's abilities.

Someone needs to get this man a speech writer like RIGHT NOW!

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I dunno, I find his honesty refreshing; unlike the pablum that Toyota dishes to the media and they faithfully regurgitate.

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way to totally misinterpret what he said.

He said US sales would be down to 30% of GM's total Global sales. That still means that US marketshare can increase. It's China, South America, and a little bit of Europe where all the growth is. If China is currently 10% of global sales for GM then sale there triple over there, wouldn't you expect that the US percentage of global sales would drop?

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``The U.S. is down to replacement demand, it's not going to grow like it once did,''

No kidding, Lutz. The market's only been that way for, oh, a few decades, though.

I call BS on this...GM can grow like mad in the US if it wants to, they just have to make sure it happens. Toyota and the other Japanese cars muscled their way into GM's American marketshare and its about time GM started really pushing back. GM doesn't have that comfortable "World's #1 Automaker" cushion that they did back in the day.

Edited by AxelTheRed
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``The U.S. is down to replacement demand, it's not going to grow like it once did,''

No kidding, Lutz. The market's only been that way for, oh, a few decades, though.

I call BS on this...GM can grow like mad in the US if it wants to, they just have to make sure it happens. Toyota and the other Japanese cars muscled their way into GM's American marketshare and its about time GM started really pushing back. GM doesn't have that comfortable "World's #1 Automaker" cushion that they did back in the day.

Very true.

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:blink:

How would GM be expected to grow market share? Considering North America is a wide open market that every manufacturer on Earth wants a piece of, I don't see how. Sure, with a lot of effort and no mis-steps, it could regain 2 or 3 points, but barring an unforseen niche breakthrough (like Chrysler had with the minivan 24 years ago), I don't see it.

No, the North American market has 'matured.' It is more and more resembling Europe where the top 5 manufacturers are jostling over 10-15% market share. If GM can spread the development costs across international boundaries (like the Astra), then it will be in a better position to 'niche' market.

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