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The last time Chrysler, Ford and GM all gained market share in the same year was 1988. They did it again in 2011. In the intervening decades, they've lost a lot of ground:
Through November, the Detroit Three captured 47.2% of combined market share, up from 45.1% for the same period in 2010, Autodata said. For perspective, in 1988, the last time all three gained share, their collective piece of the pie swelled to 73.1% from 70.2%, according to WardsAuto.com.
The 2011 success of the American manufacturers came in part because Toyota and Honda suffered shortages following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan; by the end of the year Toyota was already rebounding and Honda is expected to follow, making the 2011 American gain in market share unlikely to repeat in 2012. Still, Ford, GM and Chrysler had gains in November even as Toyota was rebounding, and the investments in American manufacturing that they committed to as part of their recent contracts with the UAW are starting to become reality, so 2011 may not be purely a blip resulting from Japan's tragedy.