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Automakers Line Up New Products

For the first time since the financial crisis, automakers are entering a year not only confident they will sell more cars and trucks, but knowing they have more new products to offer.

Across all competitors, there will be 43 new or redesigned vehicles launching this year, nearly 50 percent more than in 2012, according to research firm R.L. Polk.

Some will do better than others, but, as in any industry, new products attract more shoppers and motivate dealers.

“It’s really a competitive situation where the manufacturers have no choice but to reduce their lifecycles as much as possible to be competitive,” said Tom Libby, head of North American forecasting for Polk. “It requires huge resources in terms of engineering, development and financing, creating a bigger challenge for some more than others.”

Many new models — including the Chevrolet Silverado and a concept version of the Toyota Corolla — are to be on display during the 2013 North American International Auto Show when it opens to the public Jan. 19. Toyota and General Motors expect to gain market share this year.

Toyota and its luxury and youth-oriented brands, Lexus and Scion, plan to launch nine models. Those will include a new Toyota RAV4 and a new Lexus IS sedan. Toyota also plans to introduce a concept sedan named Furia that should provide clues about the next-generation Corolla. That will be on top of 19 new or significantly updated models the company launched in 2012, when Toyota captured 14.4 percent of the U.S. market, up from 12.9 percent in 2011.

General Motors, which has focused on maximizing profits and keeping production in line with sales, knows analysts and industry pundits want to see evidence that it can take sales away from competitors.

Last year, GM’s U.S. market share sagged to 17.9 percent as Toyota and Honda regained ground lost in 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami devastated some Japanese suppliers and forced them to make fewer vehicles.

“This is a trend line we will keep an eye on,” said Jesse Toprak, senior analyst for TrueCar.com. “GM can’t sustain this loss of market share.”

In 2013, GM plans to launch 12 new or significantly updated models, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Impala and Silverado, three new Buicks and two new Cadillacs.