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Don't look for a tremendous shifts in automotive market share over the next three years because it might not be coming. That's at least according to the annual Car Wars report by John Murphy, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.
In the report's analysis of automakers' market share from 2013 to 2017, it predicts only small changes among the major companies. Ford and Honda see the biggest positive effect with an estimated 0.5 percent increase in their shares over the next three years; to 16.2 percent and 10.3 percent respectively. On the flip side, European automakers and Nissan are expected to lose 0.2 percent each to fall to 8.3 percent and 7.8 percent each respectively. The rest of the industry is predicted to hold steady as it is now.
The biggest loser in that prediction might be Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. The report certainly throws a wet blanket on its plan for significant gains in market share. Murphy told The Detroit News that the company's goal was "almost unattainable."
With the Car and Driver Ten Best decided, the North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists announced and Cadillac, Ram and Subaru chalking up wins with Motor Trend, it's fair to say that the automotive awards season is in full swing. The next set of trophies to be handed out will be from Ward's Automotive, which has announced the winners of its 2014 10 Best Engines.
The latest contest was marked by the widespread emergence of diesel power and the continued success of turbocharged engines. There was even an electric motor on this year's list. In fact, only three of the ten winners were naturally aspirated and only two winners returned from last year.
"We weren't looking to throw the bums out, as they might say about an election. We were just really impressed with the flood of new powertrains," said Ward's Automotive Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter. Those new powertrains include the 83-kilowatt electric motor from the Fiat 500e, the 1.0-liter, EcoBoost three-cylinder from the Ford Fiesta and the 2.0-liter turbodiesel from the Chevrolet Cruze.
There have been rumors that Ford CEO Alan Mulally could assume the top job over at Microsoft, whose CEO, Steve Ballmer, will retire within the year. Mulally hasn't come out and said that he's considering moving to Microsoft after (or before) his contract with Ford through 2014 ends, but sources in the know say he's the front-runner to become the tech giant's CEO and has opened up to the idea more in recent weeks, AllThingsD reports.
Mulally is no stranger to Washington, where Microsoft is located, having worked in the state for Seattle-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes as CEO years ago. He also recently was an adviser to Ballmer in an effort to realign the company's management structure to help it become more competitive in a fast-changing computer hardware and software market. And when Ford developed its Sync digital interface, it tapped Microsoft to provide the operating system, Microsoft Auto. Perhaps the least crucial connection - but nonetheless an important one - is that Mulally still owns a house in the Seattle area, and it's been said he wants to return there, according to AllThingsD.
A main challenge Microsoft's next CEO will face is how to manage the company's numerous, fractured operations and, eventually, streamline them. But even on this front, Mulally has experience; after all, it was he who ushered in an era of global Ford vehicles, after the automaker had become complacent developing and selling vehicles by region leading up to the economic recession of 2008-2009.