Jan. 9 - The U.S. automakers took market share for the first time in 23 years, but face tougher competition in 2012 as Japanese rivals rebound and Hyundai and VW gather steam. Jill Bennett reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL. The Big 3 US automakers make a star turn on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show after a strong showing in 2011. All three car makers gained market share in the US for the first time in 23 years. The focus in the new year: innovation and new models. Alan Mulally CEO of Ford Motor: SOUNDBITE: ALAN MULALLY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is a record year for new product introductions this is going to be a very exciting time for everybody this year." Some of the new rollouts include smaller Cadillac models from General Motors. But car buyers may not find the deals of yesteryear. Mark Reuss, Head of General Motor's North American Operations: SOUNDBITE: MARK REUSS, PRESIDENT, GENERAL MOTORS NORTH AMERICA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We will take our market share based on great product but incentives and over capacity- those days are gone at GM." Analysts and executives expect 2012 US auto sales to grow 4 percent to 9 percent, which would be the third consecutive gain. But the gains are still moderate and the Big 3 automakers face some strong headwinds from overseas. Jeremy Anwyl, Vice Chairman Edmunds.com SOUNDBITE: JEREMY ANWYL, VICE CHAIRMAN, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We see competition actually increasing next year amongst car companies for example Toyota is going to be looking to pick up some lost share they really lost some ground over the last couple of years they are going to want to regain some share Volkswagen is being very aggressive, Hyundai I think could be a spoiler in the marketplace." Hyundai indeed is grabbing attention...the Elantra took the title of North American Car of the Year for 2012 at the Auto Show, with another foreign make, Land Rover, Range Rover Evoque dubbed as Truck of the Year. And the luxury makers are adding all of the bells and whistles to attract buyers in a struggling economy both here and abroad. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz: SOUNDBITE: DIETER ZETSCHE, CHAIRMAN OF DAIMLER AG, HEAD OF MERCEDES-BENZ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Fuel efficiency will be one important theme and connectivity is another important element." It's a race to win over car buyers, on a road that is crowded with competitors. Jill Bennett, Reuters