The U.S. is home to almost one in every two Honda customers. However, its sales in the nation dropped 7% in 2011. Meanwhile, the general vehicle sales in the country rose at a double-digit rate, resulting to the narrowing of Honda’s market share by 2 percentage points in two years to 8% last year.
On the other hand, Volkswagen had a far better fate than Honda, although it was from a low base. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn aims to increase the 2.5 percent U.S. market share of Volkswagen by at least 100%.
The automaker's sales performance last year was the best that it has managed in the country in 30 years, with sales of Passats and Jettas up by 83% and 44% respectively. Analyst Jesse Toprak at TrueCar commented that the "good news" for VW is that the brand loyalty is "not what it used to be."
He explained that Honda customers began to shift to other brands such as Hyundai because they wanted to "express themselves and not be just one of the herd."
When viewed globally, VW had its ups and downs since it was established during the 1930s in Germany. However, it has survived the 2008 crisis better than most.
For one, Toyota struggled on its first ever operating loss and General Motors Co. was forced into a pre-packaged bankruptcy. On the other hand, Volkswagen group has come out as the second biggest automaker in the world with the capability to purchase European competitors Fiat, Renault and Peugeot together.