Ford, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have all reported a drop in car sales during 2006 – Ford sales fell 8%, GM dropped 8.7% and Chrysler slid 5%.

By contrast both Japanese carmakers Toyota and Honda posted a rise in annual of 12.9% and 3.5% respectively.

Rising petrol prices have boosted Asian firms in recent years as buyers opt for more fuel efficient vehicles.

Most US carmakers have suffered from the decline in demand for so-called “gas-guzzling” Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and trucks. SUVs make up around 60% of the US market.

Toyota, which has already overtaken Ford in the world market, is widely expected to take GM’s crown as the world’s leading automaker in 2007.

Industry experts widely expect the Asian firm to overtake Ford in the global market during 2007.

Falling US sales have prompted Ford and GM to embark on huge restructuring drives in an effort to boost profitability.

Asian companies could have most of the US car market in the future.

 

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