By on January 3, 2014

Fusion-Titanium-front-quarter-450x337

Two years ago, I sat here pontificating about the 2012 Ford Fusion and its potential to be a “game changer” in the mid-size sedan market. Without any kind of concrete claim, it’s difficult for me to gloat about the accuracy of my claim, or for you, the B&B, to mock me for my over-exuberance (ok, it’s not). But this year, I’ve got something better: a prediction market of sorts, for the automotive industry. And it’s open to everyone.

-Jeep will sell about 125,000 units of the Cherokee in 2014, it’s first full year of sales. The Cherokee is too polarizing, and upper trim models get expensive. Toldeo is currently building 220,000 Wranglers per year for global consumption, with 141,000 of those sold in the US, where dealers can’t seem to keep them on the lots. They want to do another 250,000 units globally for the Cherokee, but I’m not sure they can sustain the current pace of 10,000 units a month, which I ascribe mostly to pent-up demand.

-Cherokee will be outsold by the 2014 Nissan Rogue, which is sufficiently bland enough to appeal to crossover buyers, while Nissan’s substantial dealer network, neutral brand image and ability to both crank Rogues out at Smyrna and finance practically anyone will help give it the edge. The CR-V and Escape will remain on top.

-The full-size segment will continue to decline, as crossovers eat away at this segment and every other passenger car segment in North America. Ford will not replace the Taurus with a next-generation, as sales of both the Explorer and its Police Interceptor version make such a car redundant.

-Small crossovers will continue to be all the rage in Europe, and one of the few growth spots in a flaccid new car market. Hyundai will launch its entrant in 2014.

-The shine will wear off of the Cadillac ATS, now that Cadillac PR isn’t paying attention, and the CTS V-Sport is basking in the warm glow of the hometown hype machine. Like the Camaro before it, the enthusiast press will cease its hyperbolic praise of the smallest Cadillac and call it for what it is: a competent, but not fully baked alternative to the Germans and Lexus.

BONUS: The mainstream automotive media (the big four buff books and enthusiast-oriented online publications) will continue to place themselves and their own tastes ahead of providing value to their readers. The Ford Explorer, which was criticized for abandoning its body-on-frame construction and becoming a “boring crossover”, is on track to have its best year since 2006, and as of the end of November, was America’s best-selling large SUV, proving an example of how out-of-touch the average buffet-circuit-and-diesel-wagon-lover is with the rest of the world.

If you have any, list them below. And come January 1, 2015, feel free to mock me mercilessly for the ones I get wrong. We can review my winners and losers – and yours as well.

 

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125 Comments on “QOTD: Your Automotive Predictions For 2014...”


  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Prediction: Jack will test, then laud a car (like he did with the VW GLI), which will soon be followed by absolutely everyone in the media saying what a POS it is (even including Consumer Reports).

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      correction, ‘Especially’ Consumer reports ;)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Mercedes will sell a sh*tload of CLAs even though this month’s Consumer Reports eviscerated it as turd of a vehicle, with horrible noise levels, novocaine steering and terrible ride quality, and in general, a car far worse than CamCordFusionBu’s.

        Its reliability will probably be in the sh*tter, too.

        We live in a world full of sheeple who actually will pay 30% more for a car that’s 1/2 as good as competing vehicles, while naively thinking that others will believe they’re rollers because of a plastic tristar emblem on their front grille.

        • 0 avatar
          threeer

          Makes me glad my mother bought a new Verano instead…she had thought that one day she’d buy her “final” retirement car and that it’d be a Benz. She took the Verano out for an extended test drive last fall and loved it. But of course, folks won’t necessarily cross-shop a baby Buick with a baby Benz.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            Buick will not be happy you called the Verano a retirement car. Hope it makes a great ride for her.

            Merc is playing with fire with the new cheap class. Taking a prestige name downmarket is perilous to the brand if history is any guide.

  • avatar

    The government will keep setting more anti-business and anti-internal combustion engine policies while continuing to give subsidies to EV that NO ONE WANTS and windmills that murder thousands of birds – like the Bald Eagle each year.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I agree on all points, except…

    “-Jeep will sell about 125,000 units of the Cherokee in 2014, it’s first full year of sales. The Cherokee is too polarizing, and upper trim models get expensive”

    Barring unforeseen disaster I think the Cherokee will do better then that. In person it doesn’t look that bad, it’s pricing is competitive when shopped option to option, it has a V6 option and superior 4×4 mechanicals for it’s class, in the Trailhawk trim it’s not a total mommy car

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “Polarizing” looks do not equal good sales numbers. Not many buyers want to have to explain to their friends and neighbors why they bought a weird looking car, especially when there are really good looking alternatives out there.

      If the Cherokee breaks 75k without rental/fleet sales I’ll be surprised.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        Polarizing sales can equal good sales numbers – people who like the polarizing design often *really* like it and won’t consider any other options, while people who aren’t offended by a more conservative design will often consider several options.

        While I prefer “real” Jeeps such as the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee to the new Cherokee, I expect that it will be a commercial success and will bring in buyers from other brands that might not have otherwise considered a Jeep. It might also give Jeep some more volume overseas.

        My prediction for 2014: the Detroit automakers will *slowly* grow their market share in compact and midsize cars, mainly at the expense of the Japanese. I don’t have anything against Japanese cars – my personal car is a late model Subaru as I actually *like* AWD station wagons with manual transmissions – but based on my rental car experiences most mainstream cars are pretty good these days, and it no longer makes sense to reject American cars out of hand.

        • 0 avatar
          luvmyv8

          I too prefer “real” Jeeps, hell I have one (’12 Wrangler Sport) but the way I see it is this:

          I want the Cherokee to be a hit. It’s not for me, but the Wrangler isn’t the vehicle for everyone. It’s for me as it fits my life perfectly and though it’s cargo capacity is laughable, it’s practical in the sense that it’s laughably easy to park. Plus I can have fun with it and the Pentastar gives it power and then some.

          Going back to the Cherokee, I hope it sells. In my opinion, it just means more R&D money for the entire Jeep range, hence more improvements and upgrades. The Cherokee is perfect for CUV shoppers and such. A 2 door Wrangler is great for a single guy like me, not so great for a family. Even the Unlimited isn’t the perfect car for a family, Wranglers are relatively spartan (save for the Sahara and a absolutely loaded up Rubicon) and they do have a harsh ride. I’m sure the Cherokee is the exact polar opposite of it. Not for me, but I’m not the demographic Jeep is targeting for the Cherokee.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There are plenty examples of how polarizing looks do equal good sales numbers, and especially for those reasons. The original Taurus was a good example, as was the PT Cruiser. The theory is if you make a polarizing design that is passable, those that like it will actually be passionate about it to buy one. Many cars with conservative styling get overlooked as second or third choices when there is a lack of emotion for the design language.

        As for your 75k prediction, over 25,000 have already been sold in less than 2 months rounding out 2013. There would need to be a serious drop off in momentum for annual sales this year to be 75k.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      I get laughed out of the room every time I say this, but I have a number of clients (mostly their wives…) are cross-shopping the Cherokee with an Evoque.

      While it may account for a small percentage of sales, most of the suasion-conscience crowd seems to like that front end. All it will take is a ‘taste-maker’ or 2 and the car will nail it’s targets this year.

  • avatar

    Taurus suffers from two issues really though and it is lack of marketing and intermediate sized cockpit in a senior line body. I don’t find it redundant to the Explorer and full sized cars still have a market.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Haven’t those who used to buy non-luxury full sized sedans moved on to trucks and CUVs? If the Taurus had a more spacious interior, would the police version out sell the Explorer cop car? Cops around here seem to really like their new Explorers.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Derek will take over as Editor in Chief, leading the commentariat to lament the loss of Robert Farago, the industry’s last true body-on-frame editor (BOFEIC). TTAC will have a record number of page hits and repeat visitors in 2014, showing just how out of touch we all are :P

    Congrats, DK!

    Now where’s my diesel wagon 6MT?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      The brown diesel wagons are still here in Europe (heck, even the CRV and euro Accord (really a TSX) are available with a manual diesel over here). It’s a socialist ‘perk’ (that I chose not to use myself, gas is still less than $10 a gallon here. :))

  • avatar
    ash78

    Ford’s much-awaited reentry into the minivan space (Transit Connect Wagon) will fail miserably, as the only 2014 options are a $30k version with the basic 2.5L 4-pot and few extra amenities.

    Ford and Mazda executives will meet behind closed doors and celebrate “Operation Mazda5 LifeSupport” a success as the new Transit does not cannibalize Mazda’s sales figures, allowing them to move another 2-3 units and boosting their sales by 28%.

    • 0 avatar

      “2014 options are a $30k version with the basic 2.5L 4-pot and few extra amenities.”

      Where do you get this info from?!? You can go on Fords website and build a leather one with the ecoboost option for several grand under your $30 figure, and that’s before cash on the hood from Ford!

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Only in the SWB. The LWB seems like it only comes with the 2.5L.

        I would want the LWB, but to get a SWB model equipped like I want, it would be $28K. That isn’t terrible by any means, but I can’t see it doing a ton of volume.

        • 0 avatar
          ash78

          I didn’t even think about the SWB model as a contender, honestly. With only two rows, it’s redundant to so many other vehicles in Ford’s line, I wonder why they even offered it.

          I started with LWB only, which is why I missed the other choices — Frantz is correct here.

          But I now stand by my prediction even more.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      As someone who wanted a TCW, I cannot agree more. When I was finally able to spec one out, I found that I could purchase an Explorer or Flex for the same price. While both are significantly larger than the TCW, they both fit in my garage. There is also little to no penalty in fuel economy for stepping up into an Explorer or Flex.

      A better decision would have been to bring the Grand C-Max over. The only issue is that I fear the price would push even higher. For $35K, you can buy a damn nice Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        I’m with you on Grand C-Max. The single most disappointed I’ve ever been with Ford was when they promised that, then switched to the basic C-Max in hybrid guise at the last minute. For years, I’ve been rooting for Ford to buck the style trend and lead the push to practicality in the US (spearheaded by Grand C-Max or even S-Max).

        Those vehicles would almost eliminate the need for a unibody Explorer, but they don’t meet the standard American styling criteria.

        So here we are, approaching an automotive singularity of homogeneous blandness: Everything is pretty good, but everything is basically the same car. Glad I’m not in product planning!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I own a C-Max hybrid, and I really like it. I would have bought a gas of diesel version though.

          I love the S-Max, but the Explorer would just kill it too. The Explorer is an unstoppable beast that destroys all other large non-truck Ford products. The Flex and MKT are on life support because their 3.5 Ecoboost advantage is gone. It would place the heads of the S-Max and Galaxy on sticks around the Chicago Assembly Plant.

  • avatar
    Dyl911

    Diesel engines from will continue to make up an exceedingly small portion of US sales, with engine introductions from Japanese manufacturers (Mazda, for example) repeatedly delayed.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I’m too subjective on these matters and I usually miss big time because of that subjectivity.

    I will say that I think the new Cherokee looks a lot worse in person than in picture. I saw one on Monday in a Lowes parking lot and circled around it on foot for a good look. Somone beat on it with an ugly stick, it’s rough! Just my subjective opinion however…….

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Derek, your Fusion comment read like you felt you blew it. Actually, the buying public who ignores the Fusion because it doesn’t bear the magic ‘Camry’ or ‘Accord’ nameplates is blowing it for themselves. I overheard a discussion at a Hertz counter, when a renter was offered a Camry in Los Angeles, and replied back to the agent, ‘you mean you’re out of Fusions?’It will be a game changer for Ford as soon as the public begins to use their heads, and look at all of the competition in the medium-size sedan market, and not just the usual suspects.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I guess you don’t read many reviews. The Fusion doesn’t do so well. The more people know, the less well the Fusion should do.

      People at rental counters want the newest car. I rented the Sable when it first came out for that reason. Same with the Genesis.

      You should be concerned that the renter automatically assumed the Fusion was a rental car.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      ibid

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I am going to go way out on a limb here and predict that it will not be possible to buy a brown, diesel, station wagon with a manual transmission in the USA. In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

  • avatar
    th009

    Marchionne announces that Fiat-Chrysler corporate HQ will be in Netherlands (for tax reasons).

    Marchionne then announces a new product plan in April: Alfa Romeo SUV in 2015, but Giulia delayed to 2016. Alfa Romeo sales will drop to 50,000 in 2014, but the 2018 sales target will be 500,000 units.

    All future Fiat models for North America will be 500-based. Maserati sales will continue the upswing in 2014 but Fiat brand volume will be little changed.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Mitsubishi will bite the dust.

    GM will bring back one of its’ dead brands (or create a new one).

    John

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      I would like to see GM bring back Pontiac or Oldsmobile, but I doubt it will happen. There would be too many potential lawsuits from former dealers who were forced out of their franchises.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I don’t think there is room in the world for both Pontiac and Oldsmobile…I’d rather see Oldsmobile get the jump over Pontiac.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GM is technically a new company and I believe it was the old GM now known as Motors Liquidation who made the call to cut the brands (and would be open to liability in lawsuits). Since the whole car industry is upside down compared to what it was fifteen years ago I don’t see GM reviving the brands in the near future, if ever (as much as I would personally like it to happen).

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          If you wanted to bring back either Pontiac or Oldsmobile, you would have to restructure the brands to make them fit…and that would instantly make the whole exercise too expensive to be worthwhile.

          For one thing, reviving either Oldsmobile or Pontiac would make Buick redundant. Not that I would mind, because the Verano and Regal would make better Pontiacs or Oldsmobiles than Buicks, a bit too sporty and Euro-flavored for Buicks IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Oldsmobile and Pontiac are never coming back, everything they were as a car is covered by Chevy and Buick. Obviously the very reason they’re not here anymore. I don’t really understand why GMC survived, everything there is covered by Chevy

  • avatar
    sandmed

    The Macan will become Porsche’s best selling vehicle ever.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “Cherokee will be outsold by the 2014 Nissan Rogue”

    Does that count include the Rogue Classic (or whatever Nissan is calling it)?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Why would people want this Rogue? 170hp 4cyl, CVT trans $30K Why?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’ll wager that Nissan will count the Rogue Classic as part of Rogue sales. With AWD and right around $20K for the classic model I see it selling well in snow country where some folks think they HAVE TO HAVE AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Don’t be critical of what people need to function in snow when you’re from Arizona

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Principal Dan is a former Buckeye (like myself) who lived in Detroit before wandering off to New Mexico.

            He knows snow. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            And if you check your climate maps carefully McKinley County New Mexico does get hit by snow storms where several inches is a possibility. (Its usually gone 3 days later but hey, it causes havoc while its here.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            We’ve had the same snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving adding layer after layer it’s kind of deep. I used to live in Atlanta where snow was fun and it still is, but it’s also part of my daily life and 90 mile round trip commute. I have a good vehicle with the proper tires and AWD. I’ve never had a snow related incident of any kind. Most people around here drive 4x4s /AWD vehicles because they know what works. You really don’t want to tell these people that they only THINK they need AWD, that would be silly

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @Lie2me: I lived in Atlanta during the 90′s, snow down there is not fun at all.

            The local governments have no real capacity to deal with it (i.e. snow removal equipment), and the media makes a circus out of any little bit of precip that falls from the sky. I swear it’s a method to extract money out of people’s pockets when the only snow that is falling is up on the mountains 100 miles north of the city! They all (used to get) reminded of the snowstorm of 1982 where folks were stranded for three or four days…

            When we did get significant accumulations on the roads, they generally turned into ice. Even MARTA had trouble running in some places (at the time that was my main method to getting to work in Buckhead) because of ice related problems with the rails.

            I had a 78 mile round trip commute on my last job in Atlanta, and after having commuted through snow in the previous two jobs, I plainly told my superiors at that location that when it snowed, I was staying home. They agreed with me…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @ geozinger, I wasn’t trying to minimize the seriousness of snow and ice in a city that’s ill equipped (4.7 million people 10 snow plows) to handle it, I was just saying that with the city closed down it was fun riding around in my 4X4 with few people around

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Sales of full size pickups will hit an all time high. Ford will be pushing hard to clear out their outgoing model. GM and Ram will have to add incentives to compete. Toyota will see incremental gains with the Tundra.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    How about Mitsubishi finally being put out of its woefully pathetic misery?

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Mitsubishi is one of the most creative finance companies in the world, they do more to improve quality of life for the impoverished than any other program there is — private or public sector.

      They also apparently still build cars, but I’m not positive about that part. I had a 3000GT poster on my wall as a kid.

      • 0 avatar
        Flybrian

        Mitsubishi Captive Finance – Uplifting the dregs of society for six months at a time.

        -or-

        “You give us $900 down, we’ll give you half a year to strip anything of value from this Galant before the black 3500 short-box Ram comes a’knockin’!”

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The new Mustang will do better than the naysayers think and the 4 cyl turbo version will outsell the Toybaru Twins and will sell to the same demographic.

  • avatar
    Atum

    The Promaster will fail miserably. I saw about five or so for sale on Robert Loehr’s website a couple of weeks ago, but I’m yet to see one on the road. America just isn’t for European designs. Same goes for that quirky Fiat Doblo, which will be coming over as a RAM model competing with the NV200.

    I agree on everything you said, except for the Explorer. Sure, it gets a lot of sales, but it’s a horrendous crossover compared to offerings such as the Highlander, Pilot, and CX-9. Unreliable, overpriced, and thirsty (wait, the CX-9 gets 16 MPG or something like that. First two apply to the Explorer).

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Highlander and Pilot get 1 MPG better than the Explorer in their most common V6 form. The Explorer is actually a very good crossover. I perfer the Flex, but not enough people do.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The market has already spoken on the Explorer. While I agree it’s not the best on paper, or in some ways that matter to some people, they sell a ton of them so they offer the best mix overall as determined by the market.

      I disagree that Ford will abandon the Taurus or full size sedan market. If anything, they’re likely to do an E segment version of the Fusion that will do a lot of sharing with the MKS replacement, which is all but confirmed.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Looking back FOUR years ago I failed at this game so I give up.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/ask-the-best-and-brightest-your-wild-eyed-predictions-for-2011/

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Lincoln will introduce a Mustang based sedan. Please?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I remember talk of this a few years ago with the buff books posting pictures of literal 4 door Mustangs, and everyone getting bent out of shape thinking they’d actually make a 4 door and call it a Mustang.

      A 4 door based on the Mustang with a different name and styling would certainly be welcomed by me.

    • 0 avatar
      Panther Platform

      I’m living for that day.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    While I might have agreed with Derek’s predictions about the Cherokee when I first saw it, the sales momentum on them in December is moving higher. Polarizing is what the market needs if a company doesn’t have consistent repeat customers and an iron clad reliability reputation. Now that I’m seeing a lof of them on the roads, they stand out nicely and compare well to other more bland vehciles in the segment. I think they’ll move about 150,000 of them this year as my prediction.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Even tho I’ve been shopping for a few monthes I will not make good on replacing my little Audi before it hits 100,000 miles. Hopefully because it keeps on running good and mostly because I’m a cheap bastard.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    ” Ford will not replace the Taurus with a next-generation, as sales of both the Explorer and its Police Interceptor version make such a car redundant.”

    “And come January 1, 2015, feel free to mock me mercilessly for the ones I get wrong.”

    I’ll see you in a year and will indeed mock you mercilessly. Ford has no choice but to replace the Taurus. While the sales aren’t strong of the Taurus alone, the D3/D4 platform sells well. It’s a place holder in the lineup that doesn’t cost much to produce since it shares the same(ish) platform as the MKS, MKT Explorer, and the Flex. Also, Ford produces the Police Interceptor Taurus that has been selling well to the cops, along with the Police Interceptor Explorer.

    You can’t be an automaker without a full line of vehicles. Even Hyundai knows this, which is why the Azera is still offered.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      According to insiders, work on a new Taurus and new Lincoln MKS is underway, and the cars will debut in about two years. Both will be based on the Fusion platform, which will make them cost-effective.

      I highly doubt that Ford will abandon this market segment, as long as it can base the Taurus (and MKS) on a shared platform.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Derek,
    You may be right about ATS sales but possibly for all the wrong reasons. The ATS is a perfectly compact sports sedan and its sales success has more do with timing than auto journo fanbois. At the moment the only competition to the ATS is the CLA as it is both smaller than the 3 and the A4 or G37/Q50. The 1 series is way too old and the new A3 is not here yet so if you want a compact luxury sport sedan you don’t have much choice. That will end this year when the new A3 arrives and the 2 series coupe and gran coupe hit the market.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Oh yeah, Chrysler will introduce a concept full size RWD vehicle slotted above the 300 that will compete with a Buick RWD flagship vehicle.

    You heard it here first.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Anti-matter powered cars will not enter mass production in 2014. I’m usually incorrect with my predictions – I figure this one’s pretty safe!

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    My prediction is that I’m going to discover that a Honda CRV automatic is not a great car for towing a caravan next summer…

  • avatar
    ehaase

    I predict disappointing sales for the new Chrysler 200.
    I predict Buick will discontinue the Regal.
    I predict Ford will discontinue the Flex and MKT.
    I predict Toyota will discontinue the Scion xB and xD.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The only upside to the Flex and MKT dying is that they will become even better used car deals.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If the Avenger goes away, I can see the 200 picking up those sales. Consolidating Mopar’s family sedan offerings under one nameplate could boost sales of the 200, and make it a respectable seller.

      The Regal seems like a fish out of water in the Buick line-up, and there is also too much overlap with the LaCrosse.

      A Ford insider at another site has claimed that the Flex and MKT are, in fact, going to be discontinued, although not necessarily in 2014.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Since Ford just did a light refresh on the Flex and the MK Town Car is the only livery vehicle they offer right now my guess is that Ford won’t discontinue them until they have something to take over the Town Car trade. The Flex will likely die though as I don’t expect the new Town Car to be a station wagon.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    My 2014 predictions:
    Cadillac will unveil another halo car they will never produce. Cadillac aficionado’s howl in protest by buying Escalades instead.
    Infiniti will include disclaimers “NOT made in Hong Kong” when they don’t meet their sales targets.
    Land Rover will expand in China to controversy when they create an ad campaign of Range Rovers scaling the rugged cliffs of Senkaku Islands, with a Union Jack flag in tow.
    Mercedes Benz, in their perpetual Rutan/Sontaran-like war with BMW, will pad their sales numbers with Sprinters. (Ha, that’s a good one!)
    Kia will sell only half of their sales target of K900′s in America. The 2015 will be renamed K9000, instantly meeting their sales targets with Americans.
    Lexus will aim for a younger audience by ending their contract with Mark Levinson and signing up Beats Audio for their “hi-fi”. Older customers leave in droves, instantly driving down the average age of a Lexus owner. Beats Audio owners now have an aspiration brand to desire as they wait for their bus. Win!
    Audi will be caught sabotaging Porsche’s LeMans efforts by substituting intake manifolds with nylon rather than aluminum. Porsche doesn’t complain, the car only has to run 24 hours.

  • avatar
    MLS

    “Like the Camaro before it, the enthusiast press will cease its hyperbolic praise of the smallest Cadillac and call it for what it is: a competent, but not fully baked alternative to the Germans and Lexus.”

    Irritatingly, this sentence opens with a dangling modifier.

    That, and I don’t consider the enthusiast press’ praise for the ATS hyperbolic. While the car’s packaging is probably too tight for the majority of entry-luxury buyers (i.e., those merely seeking a comfortable sedan with a premium badge on the hood), the ATS nails the enthusiast market, especially now the the BMW has bloated beyond recognition and the Infiniti’s gone all drive-by-wire. The Lexus is a formidable competitor, but, my God, those headlights! That rear end! That hell-spawn Enform controller!

  • avatar
    brettc

    The Dart will continue to sell like coldcakes.

    VW will continue to struggle and will probably move around 400000 cars in 2014, which means Subaru will outsell them yet again.

    The few Mitsubishi Mirages that get sold will be overwhelmingly purchased by old people and single young women.

    Bridgestone will continue to make craptacular Turdanzas and car manufacturers will continue to shod their $30000 cars with them because price is the only thing that matters.

    GM will end up loading incentives on their 2014 pickups to get them off the lots.

    Chrysler will sell a lot of RAM Ecodiesel trucks and their competition will say “huh, who’da thunk it?”

  • avatar
    Joss

    Increased membership at Zipcar and other auto share programs. Diesel fuel will become more expensive while gas will flat line or decline.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I predict that Subaru will see the light and announce a WRX Crosstrek, BECAUSE ALMOST EVERY WRX OWNER I KNOW IS VERY DISAPPOINTED AT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE HATCHBACK!!!!!!

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    DK will take over the EIC position, then manage to piss off at least one OEM before the year is done, which is known on TTAC as “consolidating your power”.

    The 2015 Mustang will put up huge sales numbers, but that likely won’t hurt the Camaro due to GM/Ford owner loyalties.

    Scion will announce a new xB, which will, like the first gen one, be a rebadged Toyota bB instead of a ridiculous hermaphrodite.

    Honda will rename the Vezel the HR-V in select markets, possibly including America.

    Chriat will start running test mules for the Challenger replacement (Barracuda or whatever they call it) and a picture will leak out somewhere

    BMW will continue on its mission to be the most confusing brand on earth by announcing a RWD 2-series sedan and a FWD 1-series sedan, as well as a RWD based X2.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Oil may falter in the near future but will rise come the spring as Syria will not go away. The Saudis and the West will continue to instigate a conflict but I don’t see Libya-style airstrikes in the cards as this will ire the resurgent Russian Bear. The Saudis will probably smuggle in some of the 15,000 anti-tank missiles it recently ordered for the “rebels” to use against Assad and CIA I’m sure will continue to drop in weapons, money, and advisers. Come the spring you’ll see oil jump to the $120s as news from Syria is plastered all over the media and if the rebels can mount an offensive they will do so in March/April. Whether Syria resolves of its own volition or not there will be a new conflict in the Middle East, possibly in Lebanon which will potentially draw the Israelis into a conflict. Iraq may get hot again as well according to FT: “Iraq’s volatile western region was on the verge of all-out rebellion against the central government on Monday”. Its worth noting the current Iraq gov’t in power is Shia (as is Assad and Iranian leaders) NOT the majority Sunni as Saddam’s was and Saudi Arabia’s currently is: “Iraq’s smouldering civil tensions have been in danger of reigniting into full-blown conflict for months, stoked by perceptions that Mr Maliki has a sectarian agenda favouring the Shia majority, as well as by jihadists entering Iraq over the Syrian border.”. The Saudis will take advantage of all of this by stoking the fire and artificially keep oil up because they must take in at least $98/bbl oil in order to keep their gov’t going. “Saudi Arabia famously threw $130bn at public services in 2011 to forestall unrest, and this year has a fiscal break-even of $98 per barrel, compared to just $74 three years ago.” and don’t forget the Russians who were the *largest* largest oil exporter in 2013 “Russia, whose fiscal break-even this year is $125?”. I see $120 (brent) at minimum from the start of the next Syrian incident onward perhaps to $150 or higher if other fires flare up in Iraq, Lebanon, South Sudan (likely) or Egypt (unlikely, IMO).

    In the auto industry mainstream car buyers will demonstrate how out of touch with reality they are and continue to buy large CUVs with no “utility” and huge BOF trucks as mommy mobiles for financial reasons (i.e. resale) in the months ahead. All of these buyers will be caught in the price storm and the market will remind them how foolish there choices were just as they were in 2006-2008 as oil steadily rose. In my view of the domestics GM and Ford are in good position to take advantage of the upcoming small car boom about to take place with offerings such as Cruze, Sonic, Verano and Encore, while Ford offers the Focus family, Escape, and will be offering a Lincoln Escape in the near future. Chrysler is in the worst position since most of their offerings are not fuel efficient, and Dart was already a flop. Look for the Avenger to continue well past its sell by date if the Dart fails to be “fixed” and the new 200 I believe will be “me’d” unless the price is right. The one thing its difficult to predict is Jeep Cherokee, it could be the one bright spot for Chrysler or it could meet a lukewarm reception to consumers paying $4-4.50 for gas in most of the US. I predict Chrysler as a whole will start looking like GM of 2000 with “red tag” type sales as they rush to adjust their lineup. The one position Chrysler is in to really succeed is the minivan as I predict more buyers will defect to it for family hauling once the writing is on the wall in the summer.

    Japan Inc will do well and I could even see Mitsubishi with an uptick in sales as 600 credit consumers have their big trucks/CUVs hauled away for repossession. Some German sales in the US will remain flat (ie VW, most Mercedes and Audi) but some makes/models will see unprecedented growth as more wealth is squeezed from what’s left of average Americans and into those of banksters and Sheiks. Supercar sales will climb as will those of things like the Benz CLA, Porsche Macan, and the new confusingly named BMW lineup.

    The overall industry will continue to produce heavy vehicles with small engines at least in the near term. Hybrids and EVs I believe will remain largely flat unless gas hits $5.00 simply because they are not big enough for most American’s family needs… specifically the ‘merica crowd.

    In my estimation the only way refined gasoline would come down in the short term would be if the refiners stop exporting it overseas (or are forced too), but as oil rises the glut of gasoline they export will only increase in value and they will milk it for quarterly profits. Overall this world is so screwed up if I could drop a neutron bomb on it I would, but this is my overall assessment of 2014.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/09/price-oil-it-bad-news-for-middl-201392212413588668.html

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d7bf9062-7174-11e3-8f92-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2pOPpNDks

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/12/why_is_saudi_arabia_buying_15000_us_anti_tank_missiles_for_a_land_war_it_will_ne#sthash.S4mlaNAJ.dpbs

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/03/why_hezbollahs_new_missiles_are_a_problem_for_israel#sthash.vKAXgUlN.dpbs

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_oil_production

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/02/us-exported-more-gasoline-than-imported-last-year/1#.Usd6HrSJ4uM

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So, um, who’s going to win the Superbowl?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Weather Channel will win the ratings, when the Farmer’s Almanac prediction of a blizzard in New Jersey comes true, and the game will be cancelled because nobody can get to the stadium, including the guys needed to shovel snow off the field.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Depending on whose in it, this might be a good thing. When is the last time you actually wanted to see the Superbowl [game]?

        The only game I’d be interested in watching is Denver or KC vs Seattle or San Fran.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I don’t want to SEE it, I just want to know who’s going WIN it…

          … you know, “c’mon, baby needs new shoes”

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Bet on the AFC team whoever it is.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Lie2me, listen to PrincipalDan. I’m going with the Chargers, the least likely candidate, because the odds will be outrageous (bigger payoff). The Chargers are 40-1 to win it all, so diverting that mortgage payment could pay off handsomely.

            Why San Diego? The last four Super Bowl winners were the visiting team in the Philadelphia Eagles’ home opener. This season, the visiting team was the Chargers. Those officiating blunders that got the Chargers into the playoffs were a sign it’s going to happen again. Stranger things have happened in the NFL post-season.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Shhhh, let’s keep this our secret, ok?

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    [Quote]Two years ago, I sat here pontificating about the 2012 Ford Fusion and its potential to be a “game changer” [Quote]

    The 2012 Fusion wasn’t a ‘game changer’, since that MY was the last of the old design. So, you were off, by a year.

    The current Fusion is a long term game changing hit, more and more show up on street, without rental car stickers. However, it is hurting GM and Mopar-etti, first. Malibu is a no show against Japan Inc, for example. Also, it is on the mid size shoppers’ lists, instead of ‘pure fleet queen’ as the old DN101 Taurus.

  • avatar
    GST

    The problem with AWD as I see it, is that many of their drivers have expectations above what they can deliver.
    They may be great on snow, but when it gets icy (not too often here in Seattle) the drivers over estimate what they are capable of and many end up in the ditch along with the 2WD cars, maybe more, since the drivers seem to be more agressive especially when they are driving AWD pickups.

    Best snow car I ever had was 1980 Honda Civic Wagon FWD with true snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The same thing happened with ABS and later with electronic stability control. But the AWD now comes with ABS AND ESC, so with all three, drivers will feel invincible – just imagine the carnage.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    I predict Jack will write a review that may only be written as a platform to show the world that he both plays guitar, and owns high end equipment! Also he will do his best to communicate that he knows an attractive female.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Jaguar-Land Rover and/or Volvo will falter in their new owners’ care, leading to Ford considering buying them back at a bargain price. Ford and Mazda will work on a joint venture for the next Fusion/Mazda 6 or Focus/Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    My prediction: The Department of Redundancy Department will claim copyright on the phrase “sufficiently bland enough”. ;-)

  • avatar

    Mercedes will hit all-time US sales record in 2014 with the help of CLA.

  • avatar
    Silence

    McLaren will compliment their MP4-12C and P1 with a truck.

    They will call it the McLaren F1-50.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Mazda will become a very attractive target for a partnership or acquisition from another auto manufacturer who is either short in the Asian market or short with C-segment cars and below. As long as Mulally is at the helm of Ford, he would be reticent to do anything further with Mazda and naturally, Mazda would want to partner with someone else. Forget the 3% stake Ford holds, that would easily be acquired by another partner and Mulally would be willing to withdraw.

    Most to least likely:

    FIAT – Already have a partnership with Alfa Romeo for a Miata/Spider, the real question is does Marchionne have any cash left over to initiate proceedings, and would it end up with Skyactiv powertrains with MultiAir, or would FIAT and Mazda balkanize their powertrains?

    Toyota – Has a partnership with Mazda for the next Mazda2 to slot in below the Yaris as Toyota’s entry-level car. Could run afoul of anti-trust regulations in the US/EU/Japan since Toyota effectively controls Subaru and could lead to a monopoly, especially in parts and such.

    Ford – If Mark Fields is at the helm, he might bite the bullet and go ahead with an acquisition.

    VW – Sounds good in theory, but they’ll be back to the same antics with Suzuki fighting over MQB vs. Skyactiv.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Lie2me: Well I did say that bringing either one back would kill Buick…

    And I think Chevrolet should have become a car only division with GMC remaining the truck only division, GM’s RAM if you will.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I am going to guess that the current versions of G37 and Q60 will no longer be available by the end of 2014.


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