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Why the Korean boom among American carbuyers may come to an end: Motoramic Dash


Why the Korean boom among American carbuyers may come to an end: Motoramic Dash

This is the Motoramic Dash, a daily roundup of the most interesting news in the automotive world.

No carbuilder has done a better job of luring American shoppers to their products over the past few years than Hyundai and Kia. After nearly leaving the United States in previous decades, the Korean duo now outsells Nissan, and seems capable of selling every car they can build or import. Yet a key annual study by a Wall Street analyst says that boom may be ending.

While car enthusiasts debate the merits of which automakers build more appealing models, the analysts at Merrill Lynch have held for years that over time, such measures don't matter much to an automaker's success because the stinkers and the hits average out. What really predicts success? Newness -- keeping the models on the show floor as young as possible, and having the stream of new models stay steady rather than swing wildly between bumper crops of all-new cars one year and droughts of aging metal the next.

In the annual Car Wars study, Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy and his team found that after a few years of turmoil, the industry has converged to a point where no automaker lets many of their cars and trucks go more than four years without a major update. Between 2013 and 2016, Merrill Lynch expects Ford to pick up market share, based on its forecast of replacing models that account for 26 percent of its sales, including the F-Series pickup and a new Ford Mustang -- the highest rate among any major automaker. General Motors, Toyota and Nissan will be close behind, while Chrysler and Honda will trail the leading pack by a bit.

After a few years of revamping their entire model lines from the Hyundai Sonata to the Kia Sorento, Merrill Lynch expects the Koreans to take a breather through 2015, with fewer new, high-volume updates and a shrinking market share. It's not a radical drop -- the industry's simply too competitive for that -- but it shows that no one has a lock on what kind of cars Americans buy.

Other news this morning:

Lexus kills slow selling HS250h: This is the flip side of "Car Wars;" no matter what automakers forecast, nothing's automatic, and some ideas just don't work, like trying to sell a restyled Prius as a luxury sedan. (Autoblog Green)

Toyota expands V6 production in Alabama: Just giving people what they want. (Green Car Congress)

VW builds 360-hp Golf for Worthersee festival: That's one fast Golf cart. (Car and Driver)

GM adds 200 workers for Malibu production: The Detroit plant that builds the Volt will remain underused until the new Impala launches next year. (Detroit News)

Top photo: AP