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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM was set to gain U.S. share before Toyota's slip, Lutz says

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GM was set to gain U.S. share before Toyota's slip, Lutz says

Automotive News -- February 12, 2010 - 1:58 pm ET

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) -- General Motors Co.'s new models are helping the automaker gain U.S. market share regardless of Toyota's safety problems, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said.

The biggest U.S. automaker, which emerged from a government-funded bankruptcy in July, expects its U.S. market share this year to be "definitely higher" than the 19.9 percent it achieved in 2009, Lutz told Reuters in an interview here.

"If the competitor's weakness at some point results in lower sales for them and better sales for everybody else, that's something that obviously we'll accept," Lutz said.

"But as far as we are concerned, it is not a factor. We're not planning on that," he said. "We were going to gain share anyway."

GM is also considering adding production capacity for hot-selling models such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Buick LaCrosse, Lutz said.

GM's U.S. sales jumped 14 percent in January from a year earlier in a market that gained 6 percent. GM's market share rose to 20.9 percent.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., reeling from safety recalls that have damaged its once-sterling reputation for quality, saw its share fall to 14.1 percent, from 17 percent for all of 2009. Its January sales fell 16 percent.

"If it can be said with one of our competitors that the positive halo is gone, or fading," Lutz said. "In our case, the negativism is fading."

Toyota is also recalling the latest version of its popular Prius hybrid to fix a software glitch that delays braking on the model in certain road conditions. Ford Motor Co. is also fixing as many as 17,600 hybrids due to a similar problem.

Lutz said he does not believe the braking difficulties on the Toyota and Ford hybrids were an industry issue, adding GM hybrids have not encountered such problems.

Lutz, who turned 78 today, said he is happy with his role as vice chairman since Ed Whitacre took over as CEO from Fritz Henderson in December.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100212/OEM02/100219962/1401#ixzz0fRjT4GGX

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Too bad this did not happen a year from now with a new Cruze and Volt in show rooms.

It could have been worser and this happened 5 years ago when they had a lot of crap and few good cars. At least they have some very good product I just wish they had the rest of it.

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