General Motors Corp. expects to post its first back-to-back gains in U.S. market share in more than a quarter century this year as the No. 1 automaker continues its campaign to woo back consumers lost to domestic and foreign competitors. “We’re certainly looking for an increase year over year,” GM spokesman Tom Henderson said on Nov. 25 in a Detroit News interview.

GM’s share of U.S. car and truck sales rose from 27.8 percent in 2000 to 28.1 percent last year, Henderson said. The company expects to close 2002 with a share between 28.2 percent and 28.4 percent.

“It is important because they have stopped the decline in market share going on for decades,” said David Healy, an auto analyst with Burnham Securities Inc. “Even more importantly, they’ve been losing market share in cars and gaining in light trucks, which is better for the bottom line.”

If GM’s projection holds up, it would be the first time since 1976 that the automaker has posted two consecutive years of market share gains. Back then, import manufacturers, including Japan’s Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., were small players in the United States. GM ruled the roads with a 46 percent share of the market.

Major automakers will report November sales Dec. 3. Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst John Casesa predicts a decline of as much as 14 percent from the same month last year. He expects GM’s November market share to be about 26.7 percent, down from 27.2 percent a year ago.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials