Ford to overtake GM in U.S. market share?

Boosted by its lack of government funding, Ford will likely overtake General Motors as the nation's most popular automaker within the next few years, a new study finds. Ford is expected to grow its U.S. market share while bankruptcies at GM and Chrysler are expected to erode sales.

According to Merrill Lynch's latest "Car Wars" study, Ford will grow its U.S. market share by 3 percent over the next four years, capturing about 18 percent of the market. In contrast, GM's market share will continually decline over the next five years, coming to rest somewhere between 15 and 16 percent.

"We continue to believe Ford is effectively executing on its restructuring plan, while bolstering liquidity, and view the results of our Car Wars study as further evidence that management is making all of the right moves," Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy told Automotive News.

Ford has been losing market share here in the U.S. for the last 13 years, but is using its lack of government intervention as a turning point. Ford's market share is up by about a third of a point so far this year, pushing the Michigan automaker past Toyota to take the number two spot behind GM. Both GM and Chrysler have lost about two points of market share through the first six months of the year.