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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