A Forecast for 2010? Sure, Why Not

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After 2009, nothing we could predict in 2010 would be too outlandish.  So here goes:*

The sale of diesel powered cars in the U.S. will be constrained only by availability as we catch on that a modern diesel offers both green and grins.

G.M. will start paying back the Government.  Nobody will care.

Chrysler won't.  Nobody will notice.

Toyota's continued beating up of their suppliers will begin to fray what has been a rather close partnership, leading to more uncharacteristic quality issues.

Ford, with their stable of well-differentiated product offerings--from an EcoBoost powered 2010 Ford Flex to the 2011 Fiesta and 2012 Focus to a racing-only Mustang and the penny-pinching Transit Connect--will all help them grow their share.  The overall market will remain flat.

Most ballyhooed new products:  the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, sales of which will be concentrated in the green markets of the East and West.  Fiat's Cinquencen...Cinqucien...500, though it can't hide Chrysler's lack of mainstream, high-volume cars.  Also there is a major question mark hovering over the Fiat brand in the U.S. Has it been out of the market long enough for people to forget "Fix It Again, Tony?"

Smart calls it quits in the U.S. Or wishes it did.

The long-expected arrival of a Chinese or Indian brand into the U.S. market will be put off yet again.

Thanks to tons of government money, all sorts of alternative-cycle internal-combustion engines will be developed and evaluated by for possible inclusion in future models.  A clean two-stroke car engine?  Could happen.  The same for alternate fuels.  But probably no real breakthrough will happen until well into the Teens.

Look for more tumult and change in the G.M. and Chrysler ranks.

Among the German brands, only Volkswagen will face a particularly tough 2010.  The weak U.S. dollar means good deals on German brands will be few and far between.

Hyundai and Kia will continue nibbling away at the bottom of the market bolstered by better cars and smart, fast-reacting marketing.

Among the second-tier Japanese imports only Subaru will have a healthy year.  Look for heavy discounts elsewhere.

Finally, we'll see $3.50 gas by next December.

Sorry about that.

*These opinions are those of the writer and do not represent those of management or others of good taste.

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Comments (10)
  1. Wow....
    This will be great forecast in 2010.I can't wait for getting features of it.Thanks for sharing such a useful info here I was wondering that only.

  2. I’m pretty interested in a Flex, and it’s likely I’ll pick one up when they start coming off-lease in a couple of years. I’ll be interested in seeing how the EcoBoost motors hold up over time.
    The $48k Limited I just priced out is a little more than I’d like to pay, but it looks in line with MSRP for the competition.
    Glad to read that the turbo version is so nice. It gives me something to look forward to!

  3. Short, to the point, punchy, and funny. I like it. and not because the forecast looks good for ford either. its well educated and i think in one years time, we should check off every item on this list as having been pretty friggen accurate.
    I commend you Kinder.

  4. I agree with most points, but one:
    You do realize that many VW's sold in the US aren't built in Germany?
    Golfs and Jettas (and the old New Beetles) are built in Mexico and Eos are assembled in Portugal where labor is far less costly than Germany despite having the same currency...
    ...and the Tennessee plant will be up and running in early 2011 producing the Passat replacement.

  5. I'm not positive that diesel engines are going to have that much success in america. There are alot of issues with diesel fuel.

  6. "There are alot of issues with diesel fuel."
    Such as?
    Doesn't appear to be the case on the rest of the planet...

  7. Staying with diesel power. I don't totally agree either but it has absolutely nothing to do with the fuel. There are absolutely no issues with diesel fuel. It runs fine in diesel cars. And diesel fuel is readily available enough for drivers who can go 700 miles per tank.
    Customer tastes, however, is a concern. VW has hit it right with their market target (those who want frugality and refinement in the same package). BMW, Audi, and MB, however are trying to sell diesels to luxury buyers who could care less. The proof is in the numbers. BMW diesel penetration in the models that offer them = 10%. Even less for MB; slightly more for Audi. But for VW, almost 40% of Jettas; 40% of Touaregs; and 79% of Jetta SportWagens. So my point is that diesels will be limited only by availability with respect to Volkswagen but the trends are not the same in the luxury lines. In fact, BMW had to offer incentives earlier last year to boost the diesel models. The Mahindra pickup truck may do well if it goes for sell, but I'm afraid most buyers will play a wait in see game for the company's first test in the American market.

  8. I disagree with the idea that VW will have a tough year in North America. I think it is the luxury brands that will have the tough year, since more Americans have come back down to earth. VW will continue to gain market share, mostly because they have a broader product line, but also because their diesel lineup will continue to steal market share from small Toyotas and Hondas that have nothing to compete with the refinement and efficiency of the TDIs. What will hold VW back is their limited dealer network and the limited production of one Mexican plant. When they open the plant in Chattanooga, they'll be ready to really bring on the diesels in every platform at a competitive price. By that time, most all Americans will have warmed up to the concept of diesel automobiles.

  9. The gas price most likely will be $3.50, by December. But Volkswagon may in fact have a great year. New facelifts, more attention, cheaper prices that the oter German brands. Toyota...yea, they have been slacking. They didn't pass the roll-over test for 2009-10 and recalls.

  10. Unfortunately Diesel gas in North America isn't as "refined" as in Europe. We lack the refinaries and technology over here. Even though refining diesel is cheaper than unleaded gasoline we just don't have the refinaries to do it. Thats why Diesel cost is almost the same as gasoline in most part of North America. With the economy the way it is and not expected to turn around anytime soon, don't expect any oil/gas companies to jump in and refine more diesel gas. It is unfortunate.

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