Industry watchers predict that eroding U.S. market share for DaimlerChrysler AG's (DCX) Chrysler group and steady gains by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) over the past five years
could make the Japanese car maker one of the "Big Three" automakers as early as next year, according to the Wall Street Journal
The success of Chrysler's minivans and sport utility vehicles, which were the first of their kind at the time, has faded since the mid-1990s.
Meanwhile, Toyota has expanded its vehicle portfolio with a number of new models, including trucks and sports cars.
As of the end of October, Chrysler had a 13.2 percent market share, compared with Toyota's 10 percent, according to tracking firm Autodata Corp., of Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The gap between the two closed by more than 1.2 percent in October as all automakers battled one another using zero percent financing incentives.
General Motors Corp. has a 28.3 percent market share and Ford Motor Co. has a 22 percent share.