By on December 31, 2014

mwb

 

So it’s that time of year when automotive outlets do a recap of the year that’s ending, with wistful recollections of their awesome press junkets, free loaner cars, and gifts they’ve received.

Bah. Let’s live through the windshield, shall we?

The best part about doing a Predictions column is that if you’re right on even ONE of them, you look like a genius. The bolder your prediction, the better, too. So let’s get to it!

The Chevrolet Trax Will Be a Massive Hit for GM

Eh, that’s not very bold. But we’ve gotta start somewhere, right? With the Encore already doing better than anybody predicted, a lower-cost version with wider distribution should be a no-brainer. Look for it to leap to the top of the segment upon its introduction.

The ATS-V Will Be a Non-Participant on Sales Reports

While the specs are impressive, the rental counter looks aren’t. Sure, it’s got some scoops and spoilers and what not, but nary an M4 buyer will seriously consider it, unless he’s doing some bargain hunting. The ATS needs to go back to formula.

But it Will Make the Alfa Romeo 4C Look Like Another Cadillac—the ELR

Whispers are that this car is wildly underwhelming. Not enough power, too heavy, too expensive, bad dealer network. Yikes.

I Will Finally Grasp Mercedes-Benz’s Naming Conventions

Seriously, I don’t know the difference between a CL or a CLS or an SLK or whatever the hell else they’re selling. But this new structure makes sense, even to a public college dropout like me.

Ford Will Sell 130,000 Mustangs This Year

That would be a twenty-year high water mark for the pony car. The new Mustang is just that good, despite my early whining and moaning about it. The Ecoboost model is affordable and is already drawing the attention of the Fast and Furious set for its ability to be modified and retain much of its warranty. The GT is every bit as good as the outgoing Boss (damnit), even if it is every bit as much money in top trim. And the GT350? Well…

And One of Them Will Be a GT350 in My Driveway

If I can keep the Boss, great, but I can’t turn down a 500 horsepower, flat-crank, naturally aspirated V8 Mustang. If you’re sick of my writing about my white-trash mobile, brace yourself for another year of Mustang-related prose. It’s coming.

Mid-size Trucks Will Continue to be a Yawner

Despite what we automotive journalists WANT to happen, the decreasing price of oil makes buying a full-size truck a non-decision. More power, more space, more testosterone, and virtually no penalty at the pump? Sign me up. There’s just very few places in Truck Country where Smaller is Better.

It’s the Beginning of the End for BMW

Too many models, too many four-cylinders, not enough panache. Audi and Mercedes are moving in the right direction. It’s become somewhat cliche for journalists to say that the boys in Munich have “lost their way,” but this is the year that the consumers start to agree with them.

2015 Will Be the Best Year Yet to Spend $150K on a Car

With the Viper, 991 GT3, Z06, GT-R, and NSX all vying for your money, you literally can’t make a bad choice when stepping up to a wannabe supercar. But who cares? More importantly…

It Will Also Be the Best Year to Spend $30K on a Car

Have we ever seen such a strong crop of mid-size sedans from all comers? It’s hard to find a dog among them. With Chrysler finally improving the 200 into a contender, there are literally half a dozen legitimately good choices for the new car buyer. It’s a good time to be alive.

Damn, still nothing earth-shattering. Okay, let’s swing for the fences on this last one, shall we?

Tesla Will Be For Sale in 2015

The Emperor’s New Clothes are starting to fall off. Sales numbers don’t match registrations. Oil prices are artificially low. Even in peak selling conditions, Tesla couldn’t make the inroads they wanted—how will they do it when oil is hovering around $55 a barrel? Elon Musk had the cards stacked his way, but he couldn’t capitalize. The party is likely over for Tesla by the end of the year—and likely in a sale to an unlikely buyer (Apple? Google?).

There you have it. Remember, I just need ONE to look like Nostradamus. Which one will it be?

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140 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Bold Predictions for 2015...”


  • avatar
    bunkie

    Tesla for sale? Possibly. But the reasons would have more to do with the daunting economics (the huge capital requirements) of starting any car company more that with the market for electric cars. The capital required to develop cars that can reach a wider market is the issue here.

    I’d love to drive the ATS-V. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll get the chance. The ATS has its flaws, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be the whipping boy that it has become. I drove it back-to-back against a 328 and preferred it, even in relatively basic trim. It nailed the ride/handing balance better than just about any other car I had driven and it made the 328 seem slightly tipsy by comparison.

    I can’t wait to drive a Colorado. As a former serial Ranger owner, I’m part of the minority that just doesn’t want to drive a behemoth in order to get a useful bed.

    If I had a $150K budget, I’d buy a $30K car (possibly a Mustang) and a Vans RV-9A and leave money in the bank for Avgas and an instrument rating.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I hate to say it, but I have to agree on the BMW. I’ve owned 4 BMWs in a row to include a much missed M car. When I moved to Chicago, it was time to shop again and the M3/M4 was at the top of my list. Sadly (In my opinion), M is no longer what it once was. Like most of the BMW line up, it seems the effort went to mass appeal versus a drivers appeal. I still bought a car on my dream list. Another German make, but not Audi and not Mercedes.

    • 0 avatar
      1S4ME

      Agree with the BMW prediction. I’ve only had BMW’s the last 22 years. This year when I went I went to an Audi (S4). I test drove the BMW but the interior, the ride of the RFT’s and the pricing just didn’t do it of me.

    • 0 avatar
      KevinC

      I also concur 100%. The only current car I like is the M235i, though I despise the dilution of the M brand by using it on non-M cars like this one. I hang onto my ’05 ZHP coupe and ’07 Z4 M Coupe, the latter with the vaunted S54B32 plant, the last great naturally aspirated L6 out of Munich. Come summertime, I will likely shed one of them for a Golf R, though I hate to give up either. They are 2 of the finest recent BMWs.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      BMW is certainly losing enthusiasts but, as Porsche has already learned, they are a very small market segment. It’s more liekly that BMW will continue to grow and gain market share in 2015 and sell a lot of weird cross over coupes while internet car enthusiasts while while about how its not like the good old days.

      BTW: if you want your old E46 M3 back, buy an M235.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Agree on most.

    Lots of money to be made short selling Tesla if you know what you’re doing.

    If you get a GT350 please don’t torture me by writing about it.

  • avatar
    velvet fog

    “There’s just very few places in Truck Country where Smaller is Better.”

    As a serial truck (and car) owner, this one is right on. I tried a “mid size” truck once and traded it in after two years. Smaller, nearly the same cost and gas mileage is a formula that just doesn’t sell.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Downsized traditional pickups are like GM and Ford’s first generation of minivans. They follow the traditional inefficient recipe, which is even more of a handicap on a smaller platform. In other words, you get the poor handling, terrible efficiency and poor space utilization of a traditional pickup, without any of the benefits.

      There’s probably a market for a modern small pickup, based on a FWD (actually AWD) platform, but nobody seems to be desperate enough to make a real attempt at creating this market. Honda and Subaru have released fake pickups, but they looked like dolled-up cars and had tiny beds.

      Before you shoot me down, think of what you would have said in 1982 if someone argued that there was a market for a smaller FWD van. It only made perfect sense after the fact.

      • 0 avatar
        ilkhan

        Hell, Ford could downsize the body of the F150 to 80% (so back to 1995 sizes) without diminishing capacity any, call it the F100, drop $5k off the MSRP, market it with just the 3.5L/2.3EB/2.7EB, sell a bajillion of them and still count it as F-series sales.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I, like many people, much prefered Ford Aerostar (and to a lesser extent, the Astro/Safari) over the fwd K-car -based minivans. Although Chrysler’s model became the best seller, those who planned to tow or haul cargo found the truck-based minis from Ford and GM a much better choice. Aerostar in particular was very popular, second only to the Caravan in sales for many years. It was so popular that when Ford planned to end production in 1994, a letter writing campaign saved the van until 1997 (as it wouldnt meet 1998 crash standards without a major redesign). Ford was still having no trouble finding 100k+ sales a year up to that point.

        Ive had several Aerostars and they were very useful, dependable, and capable. I towed with them, traveled with them, etc. I wouldnt be caught dead buying a horrible Chrysler minivan, then or now. The Windstar’s only advantage was a smooth ride, otherwise it and the Freestar belong in the same junk pile as the Chrysler vans, as well as GM’s terrible fwd minis.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      I would agree that the Colorado will not make a major waves in the Truck market but the niche will become stronger as many urban active lifestyle type with jet-skies, home improvement projects and off-road vacations will buy them. Not because of cost or even running cost but mainly that it s pain to commute in full size trucks if you live anywhere near a city. Narrower lanes, smaller parking spaces make the latest generation of full size trucks less attractive to urban buyers.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’d say they’re all pretty likely to come true the only “bold” prediction in there is the Tesla sale.

    Musk has had a pretty good track record of raising the money by any means necessary to keep things going. If it does sell it will be interesting to see who they potential buyers are. The tech companies intrigue me only because they would have to be willing to pump profits from their tech business into a money losing auto business to finance what amounts to an ongoing moonshot to rebirth the car.

  • avatar

    I’ll bet on your BMW and Tesla predictions having the biggest payout, with Tesla to win, BMW to place, and your Mustang GT350 to show. Throw in the mid-size truck prediction for a superfecta, too.

    I look forward to coming back to this article next New Year’s Eve to see which ones were a “bonk,” and which ones were a “ding-ding!”

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I will one up you. I predict that Mazda will introduce the Mazda 6 Diesel at the end next year.

    Ford will introduce a new Taurus for 2016 that will finally live up to being best in a shrinking class.

    A situation will happen at Hyundai that will shake up the entire company.

    A main stream OEM will introduce to the US the first Hybrid/Diesel in a family vehicle.

    and last but not least Ford will introduce a new Flex that will set the CUV world on its ear. (2016)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “The Chevrolet Trax Will Be a Massive Hit for GM”

    Not as big as the Jeep Renegade will be for FCA

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Where is the Renegade to fall in pricing? If it’s higher than the Trax but less than the Encore, it might do alright.

      If it’s priced at or above the Encore, then I think the Trax and Encore will do much better. Jeep tends to overprice new things.

      The Renegade will also be an “unproven” which is not the case for the Encore Trax.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Boomers won’t care. The Renegade is as Righteous as any Tonka Toy ever was. It’s the right vehicle tripping the right triggers at the right time. We are all Al Frankens; we only care about us and the Renegade is the perfect size for that at a price anyone with a home can afford.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Pricing is rumored to start at $18,995 and a loaded Trailhawk will move that to about $26,000, well within the competition

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That is pretty cheap at the low end. I need to see one parked next to a Trax. At $26 I think it’s out of its depth and will lose to larger things like the CRV.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            I think you’re underestimating its appeal to old guys. ‘Cause you’re not an old guy.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I am on the inside! Only my exterior is youthful and attractive.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I am on the ins!de! Only my exterior is youthful and attractive.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The Trailhawk comes with real 4X4 with lockers and a crawl ratio. It will have extra clearance with superb approach and departure angels,it can tow 2500lbs, things that are important to off-roaders and that no other vehicle in the segment has.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            May the departure angels watch over thou in the new year.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            ” Only my exterior is youthful and attractive.”

            Yeah, that’s true; you love the floatiest ’70s boats. That’s why you show up differently in infrared… more gravitas to ya than the average youth.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            http://hubgarage.s3.amazonaws.com/photos/2329265/Santas_Christmas_Lincoln_1941_detail.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            *sigh* That ad makes me hear Burl Ives.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Corey, I’ve always felt you were born 25 years too late. An opera windowed brougham guy in a 4-door AWD activity touring-coupe era

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I think we need a New Year’s Resolution not to assume small vehicles have no appeal because loaded versions of them are the same price as base models of bigger vehicles. It’s a lazy thesis. The only place sales figures support it at all is in pickups, where all the small pickups have been crappy products for years.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Sounds about right, I could’ve graduated college then and bought a big cheap Ninety-Eight about the time of the downsizing when fuel was expensive.

            And I’d be making plenty of money to fuel it, because I got in front of the tech boom.

            A few years later, I could replace it with a late 80s 420SEL once I had made it big with PCs. Retire in 2006 at 45, before the financial crisis hit, taking my money with me. Out to Palm Springs I go, living in a glassy mid-century. My 02 SL600 is parked outside.

            Time to wake up!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I wrote a long thing but I put a bad word, so it’ll show up soon.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Older empty-nesters are flocking to the small CUVs because now that we’re not hauling kids and crap we don’t need the huge barges that we once did, but we also don’t want to give up the ride height, easy enter and exit and we still carry stuff, just cooler stuff that’s ours

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Renegade and Trax will do fine, but HR-V will be the sales leader.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I predict FCA’s sales continue their fast growth pace. So much that I think FCA will outsell Toyota in the US market in 2015.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I wonder how cheap oil is going to help China & the US at Paris with greenhouse gas? Wonder how that will play out in the home markets? Still a Republican controlled Congress should mitigate any levies.

    Look for China to keep the US distracted with the Ukraine and the middle east while they kindle their influence in the south china seas. Putin’s nicely up the sleeve.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I predict that Lincoln will roll out a RWD sedan concept based on the Mustang or a new platform, never produce it, and make me sad again.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Tesla’s got enough cash to survive this year even if all of your worst-case speculation is true, so that’s one prediction that can safely be ignored.

    I’m also pretty sure that if they do get bought it will be by a car company. $55 oil is not here to stay, and cars are going to become more electric in any case because well-executed electric cars have many better real-world characteristics for most buyers (instant torque, quiet, and low maintenance, to name a few). Tesla has electric-car IP and knowledge that would be useful to a lot of mainstream carmakers.

    • 0 avatar
      cwp

      Although much of what he’s written here is negative toward Tesla’s long-term future, the actual prediction is that Tesla will be on sale, not that it will be out of business. Is it possible that Musk could have lost enough confidence in the company’s prospects by the end of the year that he’ll be out fishing for a buyer before Tesla’s value goes lower? I think that’s possible. I don’t expect it to happen, but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “and cars are going to become more electric in any case because well-executed electric cars have many better real-world characteristics for most buyers”

      The electric car disadvantages that buyers rejected when fuel was $4+ per gallon are somehow going to become more appealing when gasoline is $2 or less per gallon? Really?

      There was a microscopic market for electric cars when high fuel prices + massive subsidies to manufacturers and consumers combined in a perfect storm of economic advantage. With much cheaper fuel and the tech/early adopter market satiated the mass consumer market is showing little to no interest, and wisely so.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Sorry to burst your bubble but cheap oil is going to be around for years, and it takes forever to charge up a Tesla. Maintenance is probably going to be low (an as yet unproven contention) except for … uh, the batteries.

      That said, I really like the Tesla. My plan is to wait until fashions change and buy a used example cheap.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I think, I hope, I pray that we’re on the cusp of an automotive phenomenon to rival the Mustang’s introduction: The Personal Plaything Ute.

    Pioneered by the Encore, soon to be amplified by the Renegade and Trax, a trend is forming that will tap the boomer demo from retired mail carriers buying a last DD to the multiple car-owning affluent. Their Damn Cuteness, ride height, ergonomic friendliness and available 4WD/AWD properties seem perfect for the retired or nearly so to have an almost sports-car-intimate ride for our second adolescences.

    And as for the Renegade, damn, all those ’50s and ’60s war movies, TV shows and toys have hacked that Jeep face deep into out DNA to where this little Jeepster should be nigh irresistible. Hell, it’s even an icon of Japanese monster movies with all those surplus Jeeps carrying hordes of JSDF guy to their doom. *pew* *pew* “Ah! Gojira juss RAFF at my rifur!”

    I, too, predict they’re gonna sell pretty good.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “Sales numbers don’t match registrations. ”

    I think we hashed this out: Tesla sells mostly in jurisdictions where registration can be put off, and the block on corporate stores in some states skews things further.

    Tesla doesn’t have dealers they can sell to in order to pull the kind of channel-stuffing shenanigans that a traditional OEMs do.

    “Oil prices are artificially low. Even in peak selling conditions, Tesla couldn’t make the inroads they wanted—how will they do it when oil is hovering around $55 a barrel”

    This assumes people buy luxury sedans for practical reasons. No one who can swing Tesla payments cares about mileage in the “can I afford this?” sense of the word. The Prius and midsize, mass-market sedan hybrids will take a hit. Telsa? No.

    This isn’t to say Tesla doesn’t or won’t have issues, but not for the reasons you state above.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Conservatives have a tendency to believe that the only reason to save energy is to save money. Accordingly, they can’t understand that there are others who have other motivations.

      The interest in Tesla comes largely from the perception that the company is at the forefront of cutting edge advanced technology. That perception may be flawed, but it has nothing to do with the price of gas.

      • 0 avatar

        Except that conservatives are the ones who can actually afford a Tesla. So if they see no reason to buy one, the potential audience is cut at least by half.

        Granted, this is purely anecdotal, but three wealthy relatives at a recent family gathering, one of whom is actively shopping to replace a recently rear-ended S550, each told me that they have now excluded Tesla from their shopping lists due to the low-cost of oil. None of them were willing to deal with the hassle of an electric car for zero economic trade-off.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          That’s because you live in an a area where prudence and practicality still trumps eco-green snobbery

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Tesla is a tiny sliver of the global automotive marketplace. It does not need to convince a few Tea Party hardheads of its virtues in order to stay in business over the next twelve months, just as it didn’t need them in 2014.

          Again, much of the interest in Tesla comes from the belief that the company offers cutting edge technology. Those tech geeks are not particularly interested in buying EVs for the sake of saving money, just as they aren’t interested in iPhones for the sake of saving money. Tesla has succeeded in creating a cool brand, and that should provide enough momentum to carry the company for awhile.

          • 0 avatar

            Cool brands carry $500 phones, not $80,000 cars. I guess we’ll see which one of us is right in the end.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Tesla has undoubtedly hit a home run with the branding. You may not see it, but it has.

            Whether it is sustainable is another matter. But in any case, it makes a poor acquisition target in 2015 because it is overpriced at its current market cap.

            (And Tesla has always been for sale at the right price. It just so happens that the shareholders have been willing to pay the most.)

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Cool brands carry $500 phones, not $80,000 cars. I guess we’ll see which one of us is right in the end.”

            Cool brands most definitely carry $80K cars. Most cars in this range are largely exercises in marketing as much as they are in technical competency.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Your perspective is strongly influenced by where you live. Come talk to Tesla owners in coastal cities — which are really Tesla’s primary market — and you’ll have a different view. Not a single one I know bought a Tesla to save on gas.

          • 0 avatar

            You guys have to stop thinking I’m some sort of country bumpkin just because my home address is in the Bluegrass. I was born in New Jersey. I conducted business in 39 states in 2014. My uncle, the S550 owner, lives in McLean, VA, just outside the Beltway. My other family members who were considering them live in Greenwich, CT, and Breckenridge, CO.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They can’t get over the Mustang and Kentucky address.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            McLean and Greenwich are where the conservatives in those metro areas live. Talk to the owners in DC and NYC proper (or Boston, San Francisco or Seattle) and you’ll get a very different picture.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            The price of gas wouldn’t have changed my purchase decision. I like the quiet, smoothness, and the torque. It’s a really nice drive-train and I think that may be driving EV sales more than most people want to admit.

            It’s also able to absorb the abuse of stop and go traffic much better than an ICE car. My ICE manual transmission toy cars can stay safely at home in their garage without their engines being degraded by slow crawls through traffic.

            EVs, especially a Tesla, can be much more convenient than an ICE depending on your situation. Fuel up when you get home and fuel up again when you get to work. No stops at gas stations needed. Not everyone is in a position to do that, but if you are it’s really nice.

            We’ll have an answer next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if LEAF sales take a hit, but Tesla probably won’t be down by much.

          • 0 avatar

            Indeed, most Tesla folks I’ve met, as I live near some chi-chi areas, are evangelists for the marque. All of them can afford gas, but the Tesla is what you get instead of another leased E class. You already have other cars as well, so range isn’t an issue.

            It is a car that is truly different from the neighbor’s AMG or ///M class. That is the Unique Selling Point, not some payback for gas not used….

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          LOL. As if they were ever considering buying a Tesla anyway. If you can afford the insurance on an S550, you probably don’t even worry about the fuel mileage.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Here are my predictions for the new year:

    – The Colorado and Canyon will sell at the exact level that allows, at the same time, their fans to say we need more smaller trucks and their foes to say any truck smaller than a 1500 is doomed.

    – The 2016 Camaro with a V8 will have a curb weight within 100 pounds (in either direction) of a 2015 Mustang GT. Much crying will ensue even though it performs and drives well.

    – The Acura NSX will be a brilliant-driving car that will get no respect from either the press or the public because it’s meaningfully slower than the GT-R and the Z06. Everyone will continue to cry that Acura is doomed and the MDX and RDX will both have their best sales years yet.

    – Cadillac CTS and ATS sales will pick up if, and only if, Cadillac introduces a new CUV (whether a new SRX or another one) that sells well. Even if the sedans pick up it won’t be by a dramatic amount.

    – Lincoln will see substantial sales growth, entirely through the MKC and MKX.

    – Somewhere in the industry we’ll see a new sedan that is made from a lowered and lightened crossover platform, rather than the other way around. The CUV will continue its march toward being the default American vehicle.

    – The Golf won’t sell well in the US (compared with mainstream compacts), and VW sales overall will fall because there will still be no competitive CUV in the lineup.

    – The Lexus NX will drive Lexus’s ascent to the best-selling luxury brand in the US.

    – Industry-wide, there will be an even stronger correlation than there was in 2014 between brands’ overall sales and the strength of their CUV lineups. CUVs, not sedans, will be the product that determines the health or sickness of a brand overall.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The NSX will be for sale in 2015? I’ll believe it when I see it (I hope I see it).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Well, the production version is supposed to be shown early in 2015. And it doesn’t have to be on sale for my prediction to come true — just produced in enough quantity to get the writers into press cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Golf clap

      Very well thought-out and realistic predictions

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Why thank you. Maybe I’ll come up with a poorly thought out and unrealistic set later tonight (West Coast time) after a six-pack or so of beers. But I don’t know that even in that state I can top DeadWeight’s relentless Cadillac hate.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Ha. More poorly thought out predictions please!

          Ford will make the F150 smaller and only electric

          GM will discontinue the full size SUV segment and call their new Mokka based crossover “Tahoe”

          Honda will replace the CR-V with a Civic wagon

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      ATS (sedan) sales really won’t pick up until the larger next gen model and Cadillac won’t see major uptick in sales (the CT6 and CT8 are low volume models) until they add more CUVs to their lineup.

      Buick will see more growth since they will be adding a 3rd CUV to their lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “a new sedan that is made from a lowered and lightened crossover platform, rather than the other way around”

      What a horrible thought. It’d be like rickets making a comeback.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    My predictions for 2015:

    – Mitsubishi and Suzuki totally gone from Canada.

    – The Volvo XC90 arrives late and with insufficient quantities to stop a significant chunk (Say a quarter) of Volvo retailers from closing in North America.

    – Gas prices creep up, then something happens in the Middle East and they get back closer to where they were.

    – Honda has a better year, Chrysler has a worse one.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    In 2015, Cadillac will unveil the rebadged Chevy Spark (aka Daewoo Matiz) as their Cadillac CT1, slotted below the CT2 (which will be a rebadged Chevy Cruze [aka Daewoo Lacetti Premiere] – this is actually truly in the works, by the way, no sarc), and it will come with standard leather trim, CUE, a gratis Louis Vuitton handbag in the center console, & a second turbocharger added to its 1.2 liter gasoline engine, for $19,999.99.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      How would the CT2 differentiate from the Buick Verano?

      I kind of want this CT1 you describe though. Could I get the LV bag as a man purse / messenger bag instead?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Yes, you can substitute a man purse, but only if you “like” Melody Lee’s “millennial synergies” facebook page, and agree to follow both her & Johan “Come At Me & Let Me Flex On You, Brah!” de Nysschen on Twitter.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am with Bunkie on the Colorado/Canyon, I don’t need to drive a semi or a bus, the Colorado/Canyon is as big as I want or need regardless of the price of gas. I have had a full size truck but it was smaller than the current full size truck which is too large for me. I don’t want to have to use a ladder to get into the bed of a truck. Yes I can afford a full size crew cab with everything on it and afford the gas but I don’t want one. I don’t see the Colorado/Canyon replacing full size trucks but I do see them generating new interest in a market that has not had a new product in over a decade. I think they will do better than most expect

    I do agree that BMW is a bloated brand that is not dead but needs to be revitalized. I can see the new Mustang breaking previous sales records.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    “The Chevrolet Trax Will Be a Massive Hit for GM”

    -despite the absence of a clutch pedal. Likewise with the pending CX-3. The Renegade will be theoretically available with a clutch, but it will be by special order, IF you can find a dealer willing to special-order one.

    MY2016 brings us one year closer to the death of the clutch.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I do agree we are entering the end of the manual transmission which I will miss. Window cranks have about become extinct along with just using a key to unlock doors and start you engine. Bench seats are for the most part gone replaced by bucket seats. Black and grey interiors for the most part have replaced tan interiors and red and blue interiors are gone except in a few very high end vehicles. I can live without these things but it is sad to see many of these things go and to have less choice.

  • avatar
    DukeMantee

    DeadWeight has it right on Caddy,except for pricing: 99,999.99, 25,000 cash on the hood or five year lease @750.00 a month.
    And thats for the CT1.

    Merry RamaHannaKwanzmas to all the chillrun here at TTAC.

  • avatar
    dwford

    My predictions:

    -Gas goes back up to $3, based on OPEC finally cutting production
    -The new Malibu turns out not as exciting as GM execs think it is
    -Ford announces that the EcoSport is coming to the US with the 1.5T motor
    -Hyundai announces the ix25 subcompact CUV is coming
    -BMW’s fwd cars flop as the no nothing luxury buyers flock to the A3 and CLA and true BMW lovers reject them
    -Tesla does not get sold, as a new wave of sales is generated by the Model X
    -The CTS and ATS continue to struggle, but the new SRX is a big hit.
    -The CT6 turns out to be not that exciting
    -We see a near 400hp version of Ford’s 2.7T V6 in a production product

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    1. Tesla will bite the bullet and sell cars through franchised dealers in a “test” in “selected markets” by partnering with an established high end luxury brand. The added quality traffic from real car buyers, rather than people wandering the mall between Orange Julius and The Gap, will mean they will truly sell all the cars they can build.

    2. DeadWeight will move to SoHo and go to work as PR manager for Cadillac.

    3. Either Derek or Jack will get married.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Cheap gas is a new phenomena, but so far it hasn’t affected sales of pure EVs like the Model S or the Leaf. Such cars offer more than gas savings for their buyers.

    Cheap gas is killing hybrids, though, because they still require gas but come at a price premium. Don’t let Tesla’s high price distract you from the reasons for Tesla’s immunity to gas prices.

    My predictions:
    1. Runaway success for the Renegade, and revival for Fiat with the 500X.

    2. A management coup at Cadillac, which will include the sacking of Johan de Nysschen and cancellation of the horrible ELR.

    3. Teaser images of Tesla’s Model 3. This will keep interest alive, but the car itself won’t be available until 2018.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Point-by-point

    Chevrolet Trax – agreed
    ATS-V – I’ll go further and say that Cadillac will discover their pricing power doesn’t exist. Sales down generally across the board as buyers go to Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus.

    Alfa 4C – Maybe? No idea what expectations are. But they could easily boost the power to compensate. Bad dealer network? Sure – but it is effectively a cut-rate exotic.

    MB naming – who cares? I am sure they will re-do it all again soon enough

    Ford mustang – No idea, but I admit the press has me intrigued.

    GT350 – so why not a C7 Corvette? Still an exciting car though.

    Mid-size Trucks – Dead with cheap gas. I think an El Camino crossover type flat bed would actually do well though.

    BMW’s end – I think consumers will keep sucking it up and they will have momentum for a while yet. So not this year. But the beginnings started a while ago. Hell, I bought a Lexus instead of a German car because it was more sporty – and I never thought I’d say that.

    $150K car – sure, as the wealth divide continues, everything will continue to be awesome at the high end.

    $30K car – No. The Chrysler is still a Chrysler with all its attendant shoddy construction. Has Mazda actually started rust proofing yet? Cause right now the only winner is Subaru in the class.

    Tesla sale – No way in hell. I know TTAC has a huge grudge against this company. But the Gigafactory alone is going to make them a ton of money. This myth of undelivered Model S’s has yet to be truly substantiated. I am pretty sure they aren’t keeping them at the factory. That being said, I expect that they will eventually be courted by Toyota or Honda who have completely gone off their rocker with fuel cell tech – something that has zero chance outside of fleet sales. They will need to play catch up once they realize the hole they have dug.

    Let’s go a bit further.

    C7 Z06 Corvette – Nurburgring attempts will be disappointing. Camaro ZLRX-whatever and CTS-V will both be comparable and Chevrolet will be embarrassed.

    Jeep – Grand Cherokee Hellcat will happen – it will sell out instantly.

    Lexus / Toyota – will continue to get sport almost right but never quite. Still will not upgrade the BRZ/FRS power despite everything. FT-1 will continue to be shown around without coming to fruition. LC500 will not be 911 competitive and be a non-starter. Akio will face pressure to go back to blandness.

    Alfa – will continue to not launch in the US

    Mercedes – will realize what a money suck buying a mediocre motorcycle company was. Will still be stuck with decision. They will continue to ape BMW in all ways introducing more useless niche vehicles.

    Audi – I think the shine on Audi products will continue. Perfect for leasing and not with keeping, they seem to make it work for now. Maybe the press will actually start looking at those interiors and notice the massive trend downwards they have taken?

    Lincoln – will still float around pointlessly instead of being given the mercy killing or cash infusion and design it so needs. Will not announce a Mustang based RWD sedan despite it being the most obvious move ever.

    Acura – will continue to be the Japanese Lincoln with a clueless management team and bland but somehow bad styling. MDX will continue to keep the brand afloat.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Lincoln Motor Carriage Company will have it’s worst year yet. Even fewer people will know they still exist, despite a VERY expensive Super Bowl ad campaign. Even fewer people will regard them as a true luxury mark. As a “hail Mary”, news of a new Continental RWD flagship and limousine will circulate late in the year, but it will never happen. Ford puts Lincoln’s leash on with a tear in it’s eye and begins the sad walk out behind the wood shed. TTAC’s “Lincoln Death watch begins October 12th, 2015.

    Kia, BMW, Benz, Tesla, and Volvo sales will fall.

    Mitsubishi will have it’s worst year yet. Nobody will buy the Evo.

    Mazda, Ford, GM, Jeep sales will increase.

    Elio’s will start selling for $8500. Sales will be strong, but concerns about the longevity of the company will appear.

    Nissan will sell a really nice conversion van.

    The “Grand Turismo” generation has had it’s fun, and will grow out of the hot machines. Then, Millenials will say “Meh.” Look for sales of cheaper sporty cars like WRX, EVO, FRS, etc to tank. Mustang won’t be affected as much. Waning enthusiasm will cause the NSX to not go into production. News of the end of the GT-R to come late in the year. Motorsports in general will take a hard hit.

    Look for immersive HUD’s to appear on high end concept cars, along with the return of voice warning. Voices will be provided by celebrities, and will be driver configurable.

    Four more large scale recalls will appear. One will involve diesels, and further put off Americans.

    Solar roadway technology will bow. It will be the beginning of a long process to rehab our road infrastructure over 20 years.

    Gas prices will return to where they were by August, causing car buyers to shop nervously. Price of diesel will rise even further.

    Chevy’s new Volt CUV will be a hit.

    Somebody will build a lifted sedan monstrosity as a concept.

    I will write a book that nobody will buy.

    I will write a stupidly long Sunday Story that five people will read, and get me in trouble at work for slacking off.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “I will write a book that nobody will buy.”

      Talk to Doug DeMuro he’ll give you some pointers… Did you know he wrote a book?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Only way for Kia sales to fall is for cheap gas to continue to eat away at compact and subcompact car sales as Kia gets a new Sorento and Optima (which is selling as good as ever at the end of its life cycle).

      The issue is whether Kia will be able to build more Sorentos and Optimas at its GA plant (doubt Kia will be able to cut down on Santa Fe Sport production).

      A full year of Sedona sales should help and a new, larger Sportage (CUVs are crucial for growth) is on the horizon, but may not get here til early 2016 (the new Tucson will launch in 2015).

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I will buy your book, but I can’t speak for anyone else. I’ll also read it, and possibly make some reference to it here. Seriously, though, I wanna know when it’s available, I’m in.

      Happy New Year, TTAC!

      I predict this year will bring BTSR back to TTAC to defend the slew of newb drivers turning brand new Hellcats into expensive scrap near Dodge dealers nationwide. My book sales will remain steady and small until the NCAA bracket prediction either crowns me a genius or plunges me into the black hole of failure. I might get married and I’ll try to get status with my airline travelling to new places. And that’s enough about me,

    • 0 avatar
      SteelyMoose

      “Voices will be provided by celebrities, and will be driver configurable.” I always wanted a voice warning by Mr. T saying “Shut the door, fool!”

    • 0 avatar
      jdash1972

      Elio’s will never be built, at any price: it’s a website and not a car company. Motorcycle company. Lawnmower company. Weed whacked company. They will continue to delay production until they run out of money, which could be years since there is no shortage of stupid people.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    I wrote a long post that seems to have vanished – anyway, the high points:

    Caddy – will continue decline as their pricing renders them moot. Buyers continue to flock to BMW, Mercedes, Lexus etc.

    30K car – Chryslers are shoddy and will continue to remain so. Subaru is killing it in this class and Mazda really needs to up their rust-proofing and convince consumers of their appliance like reliability.

    Tesla sale – not going to happen next year. The Gigafactory alone should make oodles of money – so much so that I expect Tesla to become a battery maker that incidentally sells cars. The purchase offers will end up coming from the Japanese who are going down the very wrong-headed fuel cell path that will only be useful in fleets with central fueling stations.

    BMW’s decline – they still have enough momentum to carry them through 2015 growing despite their complete decline.

    Mustang and GT350 – I am intrigued. But why not a C7?

    And to take it further with my own thoughts

    C7 Z06 – Nurburgring time will be disappointing compared to Camaro ZL and CTS-V as well as competitors.

    Jeep GC Hellcat – this should happen and will sell out instantly.

    Toyota/Lexus – Akio will get pushback as their sporty initiatives continue to fail. FR-S will still be underpowered. FT-1 will be shopped around a ton and not be put on sale. LC500h will not match the 911, etc..

    Acura and Lincoln will continue to be irrelevant with management that doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to.

    Volvo XC90 will sell like hotcakes…

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    If it’s not too late to play:

    Nissan will beat Honda at being the first to shut down their luxury-car division, dropping the entire Infiniti product line other than the Q50/Q60 – which will be rebranded as the Nissan Skyline.

  • avatar
    elimgarak

    Not bold, but the HR-V is going to be a gargantuan hit, but will cannibalize Civic and Fit sales.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Roof’s too crappy low, especially in the rear. Ride height is only an inch greater than a Fit’s, interior volume is less along with a restricted hatch opening.

      I hate the little well-built POS.

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    You’re right on just about everything. I don’t understand why we need mid-sized trucks that are just about as big and cost about as much as a big pick up. What’s needed are trucks the size of the Ford Ranger. Some of us just need small. Ford made a mistake by dropping the Ranger instead of designing and building a new one. If they had built a new small Ranger they would have sold like donuts at a police convention!

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    My CHINA predictions:
    * Lincoln will become the darling of the lower luxury market.
    * Tesla will have a Chinese company “buy-in” as their joint venture partner to invest in Chinese manufacturing.
    * The Chinese government will announce the roll out a massive electric charging station campaign in Beijing and Shanghai that will coincide with Tesla Chinese manufacturing launch date. This will be an anti-pollution measure on the face but really a back door maneuver to develop the domestic electric vehicle market.
    * Buffet will ease out of BYD as the stock moves higher on the electric charging station news.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I agree it would be better to have a true compact truck. I also think the full size trucks will eventually shrink where they are just a little bigger than the current midsize. Lightening the bodies and smaller engines would make it possible to take about a foot off the front of a full size truck while retaining the interior and the bed size. It would also help to lower them a few inches, even with running boards it is still too tall and the beds are hard to reach into. Even if the manufacturers went back to the size of the full size half ton trucks of the late 80’s and early 90’s that would be good. Bigger is not always better, it is just bigger.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I really enjoy our AWD, IRS, V8, 7K towing, +21 mpg Adrenalin that’ll squeeze into a compact space in a pinch.

    That being said I predict:

    In a a desperate attempt to move oil burners, FCA will come out with the Ecotec “French Fry” co-branded with McDonald’s new free give away cooking oil fueling stations.

    Cadillac will finally turn to adaptive camouflage for the final design of their flagship.

    The Ford GT will have a triple screw 1L thumper churning out 1000 hp per liter.

    BMW releases the Isetta M series.

    Volkswagen does a world-wide focus group involving half the earth’s population and produces a new design that runs on Coke, has a Le Bron James jersey (Heat) design theme but looks like an extra cheese Big Mac.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I agree with dal20402 in the CUV’s are ‘default choice’. Most of my friends/relatives/coworkers that see a car as a ‘machine that takes us A to B’ want them and do not care about ‘driving dynamics’. Room and ‘seating position’ are main reasons. Also, a compact CUV gets same or better MPG as a loaded V6 midsize car.

    Friend had 2 Grand Am V6’s from 2000-2009 and went to CR-V, and says “I’m never getting a regular car again”. Heard many other times.

    I’ll stick to car based hatches, :-)

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Three predictions:

    1) NSX will be a major yawn. Too little, too late. Acura will continue to lack any clue to the market

    2) BMW’s I Division may as save BMW

    3) some auto journo will wake up and realize the number of cars totally overkill for public roads makes increasing horsepower a joke. The short list of such cars include the GT3, the porsche Turbo, Corvette Z06, to name a few. Manufactures will have to find an alternative to just increasing hp

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t think my wife and I will ever own a car again. My wife traded a Taurus for a CRV in 2013 and the CRV is much easier to get into and to load things in. We had our Taurus for 13 years, it was a great car and it was comfortable and roomy but we prefer a crossover. We did not buy the CRV because it was in or cool but because it was practical and a good vehicle for retirement. We will never look back and I see at least one more crossover in our future.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    How about the obvious prediction:

    1) The 15 F Series is too expensive, has unusual styling, and comes from a brand with reliability issues according to Consumer Reports. This may be a sales accident.

    2) This F Series sales accident will provide an opening for GM and Toyota pickups to gain permanent market share.

    3) The F Series will never regain it’s dominant standing in the pickup truck market.

  • avatar
    BobinPgh

    So Bark, as my dad might say: Are you singing or are you barking? And what song?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    There is a real possibility that the 2015 F-150 will lose market share for Ford. There is also a possibility it will be a huge hit. Too early to tell because the 2015 F-150 is just starting to be available. I do see the new Mustang as gaining a lot of market against the Challenger and Camaro.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Here are mine:

    1. The Trax, HR-V, Renegade and CX-3 will all be massive hits

    2. BMW will continue to piss off auto enthusiasts which will hit the internet forums in droves and cry like babies. In the meantime BMW sales and market share will continue to grow.

    3. Cadillac will continue to pretend the ATS is a 3 series competitor even though its sized like the A3 and CLA. Sales will not recover.

    4. Volvo will become an irrelevant brand to anyone living outside of Sweden.

    5. Cars will become faster, safer and more efficient and forum rats will continue to whine about how much better old cars were.

    6. Acura and Lincoln will continue to be the Nickelback of cars brands: Everyone loves to trash them but they will continue to make money.

    7. The Hellcat will be squeezed into every Chrysler product that can accommodate it (and it will make them awesome).

    8. Gas prices will go back to $3.50 causing stunned disbelief among those that rushed out and bought a Hellcat equipped Ram 3500.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Gas will fall and then come back up. DME based fuel and engines will start getting a foothold in the heavy haulage market (think diesel-electric trains, long haul/short haul trucks, stationary power equipment, marine), anything to which the government can slap increasingly stringent emissions targets.

    Small CUV’s (think Honda HRV) will continue to erode market share/sales numbers of compact/subcompact sedans (think Honda Civic/Honda Fit).

    The NSX will be a flop. Too little too late. 4th, 5th, 6th generation Honda Civic/CRX/Integra Si/Type-R’s will continue to appreciate in value.

    Mazda’s will continue to rust more so than other cars.

    And just like my BMW loving ex-ex-ex-ex-ex-ex-gf, BMW will continue to decline as she does.

    On a personal note, I will most likely join some salsa performance group, finally becoming a really good dancer.


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