In the United States, the world's second largest auto market after China, General Motors is the country's top-selling brand, while Toyota is number three, after Ford Motor.
But domestically in Japan, Toyota is number one as U.S. automakers have little penetration in the country.
That likely will not change, says CLSA's Richter.
"American automakers wouldn't invest in Japan because it's already very crowded and very competitive."
With profit margins in the "low single digits," Richter adds that Japanese automakers don't make much money in Japan as it is. "Ford wouldn't go in" and any idea that Japan makes it difficult for American automakers to enter the Japanese market is just a "political smokescreen to attract government help from Washington."
Richter says the U.S. auto market provides for profit margins in the "high-single" or "low-double digit" range.
Toyota and Volkswagen
While Toyota and GM claimed the top two spots in 2012 global market sales, Volkswagen Group sold 9.09 million vehicles to pull in at number three. Last year was the first time Western Europe's most dominant automaker broke the nine-million vehicle barrier.
Volkswagen passed that milestone not because of stellar sales in Europe but because of BRIC countries, including Brazil and China, where it enjoys growing market share, says Richter.
Europe is a place where "global automakers go to lose money" because "current economic conditions are bad," he says. Just earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for the eurozone, predicting the region's economic activity would contract for a second consecutive year.