Weekend Head Scratcher: Who Won't Survive?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

As this is both the end of the week and the beginning of the year, let’s reflect, scratch our heads and ponder: Who won’t survive 2011? Car brands never die, they just go to a new owner. (Not always…) So let’s make that: Who won’t survive 2011 with the same owner?

We’ll hear a lot of rah rah rah when the (good) December numbers will come out on Tuesday, but we aren’t out of the woods, at all. Car sales in the U.S.A. are far away from their former glory. Europe is down. Japan is down (and boy will they be down this year.) China is China.

Supposedly, by 2012 everything will get better. Funny, even the “2012 everything will get better” prognosis hasn’t been heard often lately. Who will get creamed if gas prices really go up`? Developing new power trains is costly with an unsure payback. Currencies are in wild swings. What happens to BMW and Daimler if the Euro goes way up and even the common Chinese can’t afford a Benz anymore? Will Alfa go to VW? And speaking of Fiat and Chrysler … The Indians are complaining that climbing commodity prices are ruining their cheap car play. Who will run out of chips? And yes, Saab.

So who won’t survive – dead or alive?

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5 of 57 comments
  • Seth1065 Seth1065 on Jan 03, 2011

    can you please please leave Saab alone, come on they have been dead many times, I perder that they are Zombies who can not be killed, come on people they have already out lasted everyones guess of when they would die give them some love. Now for all the other bashing about the world ending with no oil and no food, please people life will go on and we will find some thing to burn to make our stuff go as for food crap we waste more than most people need sad but true, now if I wanted to stir the world is ending debate I would start with water, with out that you are really screwed bit I am not tirring that pot ( and with out water the pot will not stir:) I am not saying I am just saying

  • Colin42 Colin42 on Jan 03, 2011

    I predict by December 31st 2011 no car manufacturer (>20,000 units per year in recent years) will disappear from North America or Europe, however I also predict several will be closer to disappearing than they are today, Saab? Tesla (I know they're not nor have they never been >20,000 units per year but they are publicly well known)

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jan 03, 2011

    Dead brands walking for 2012 even if nothing changes: 1) SEAT (OK, that is an easy one) 2) Scion - won't go away in 2012 but this brand is on life support 3) Mitsubishi in North America 4) Suzuki in North America (and it's a shame) 5) Tesla 6) Saab If the price of gasoline in the United States breaks $4.00 a gallon for a significant period of time it could hurt: 1) Chevrolet (perception vs. reality) 2) Chrysler (reality vs. well, reality) 3) Toyota truck and SUV sales (the reality is their fullsize line up gets the worst MPG) 4) Mercedes Benz 5) Lexus 6) GMC (reality vs. reality) 7) Lincoln (perception vs. reality) Winners of a sharp spike of gas: 1) Nissan (Cube, Versa, Juke, and lets not forget the Leaf, they are well positioned) 2) Scion gets a little Vitamin E (as in expensive gasoline) to delay the inevitable, the iQ actually might sell 3) The Prius - its Baaaaaaacccck - and driving in the passing lane at 50 MPH right behind it, the Hybrid Camry 4) Chevrolet Volt, Cruze and Equinox specifically, muscle lives on with the V6 Camaro 5) Tesla - MAYBE - at least they get more attention 6) Mini - well duh, with a name like Mini it has to get good MPG 7) smartfortwo (because there are enough dumb people out there to buy them) 8) VW - diesel, and I don't mean Vin either 9) Hyundai - possibly one of the biggest, if not biggest winner, well positioned across the line up 10) Kia - see Hyundai above Win, lose or draw, it just doesn't matter unless an asteroid is coming to hit the earth: 1) Honda (despite their best efforts to kill themselves) 2) Ford (doing a lot right) 3) Hyundai (doing everything right) 4) Subaru (becuase that's how their customer base rolls) Actually the more I really think about it, only Honda, Hyundai, and Ford are well positioned for 2012 no matter what happens.

  • Nick Nick on Jan 04, 2011

    With all the Panther platform love around here, I just thought I'd mention that today at approximately 8am the very last Mercury Grand Marquis rolled off the assembly line. Part of a fleet order, apparently.