By on December 22, 2011
Automaker 2008 model year 2025 model year % Change
Aston Martin 1,370 1,182 -13%
BMW 353,120 550,665 56%
Chrysler-Fiat 1,659,950 768,241 -54%
Daimler 287,330 441,786 54%
Ferrari 1,450 7,658 428%
Ford 1,770,893 2,224,586 26%
Greely/Volvo 98,397 143,696 46%
General Motors 3,095,188 3,197,943 3%
Honda 1,511,779 1,898,018 26%
Hyundai 391,027 845,386 116%
Kia 281,452 460,436 64%
Lotus 252 316 25%
Mazda 302,546 368,172 22%
Mitsubishi 100,729 109,692 9%
Nissan 1,023,415 1,441,229 41%
Porsche 37,706 51,915 38%
Spyker/Saab 25,956 26,605 3%
Subaru 198,581 331,692 67%
Suzuki 114,658 124,528 9%
Tata/Jaguar-Land Rover 65,180 122,223 88%
Tesla 800 31,974 3897%
Toyota 2,211,500 3,318,069 50%
Volkswagen 318,482 784,447 146%
TOTAL 13,851,761 17,250,459 25%

Reasonable minds can disagree about the wisdom of the auto bailout, but according to analysis by the EPA and Department of Transportation (based on data from the Department of Energy and auto forecasters CSM), the Government’s rescue of GM and Chrysler may not have been the best idea (at least from a market perspective). According to data buried in the EPA/DOT proposed rule for 2017-2025 fuel economy standards [PDF here], Fiat-Chrysler is predicted to be the sick man of the auto industry by 2025, losing over half of its 2008 sales volume, while GM is expected to improve by only 3%, the second-worst projected performance (after Aston-Martin). In terms of percentages, even lowly Suzuki and Mitsubishi are projected to grow faster than The Mighty General. Ouch.

On the other hand, the proposed rule notes that data will be finalized before the final rule comes out. Besides, the agencies appropriately admit (in as many words) that projecting auto sales so far into the future is one hell of a crapshoot. Still, with the obvious exception of “Saab-Spyker” and with some skepticism about the projection’s optimism about overall market growth aside, these are not the craziest guesses I could imagine. Who knows what the future holds, but it certainly is a bit troubling that the government’s own data suggests the two automakers it bailed out may well have some of the weaker performances of the next 14 years. At least the Treasury could have sold off their remaining GM stock before this report was released…

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52 Comments on “Feds Predict The Future Of The Auto Industry, Foresee Chrysler Freefall, GM Stagnation...”

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    I’d love to see a detailed report on how at least one of these numbers was generated. Especially the Saab one.

    • 0 avatar
      A Caving Ape

      A d20 must have been involved.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s all in the linked PDF.. it’s chock-full of all kinds of other fun goodies too. And at a mere 567 pages, it’s a brisk read as well!

      • 0 avatar
        Byron Hurd

        I’m sure those 567 pages are absolutely captivating, but from glancing at the projections, one can’t help but think they simply averaged the growth from 2007 to 2011, extrapolated that out to 2025, and then spent the rest of the time writing a 567-page report.

      • 0 avatar
        A Caving Ape

        @Ed- Ha! I gave it a skim, but I have to read EPA CFR bits and subparts fairly often in my day job, and even those I get tired of and resort to control+F after about a page.

      • 0 avatar

        one can’t help but think they simply averaged the growth from 2007 to 2011, extrapolated that out to 2025, and then spent the rest of the time writing a 567-page report.

        It’s not even as methodical as that.

        It’s pretty simple — they have to hit their CAFE target figure that was set by the legislation. They are going to move numbers around in order to hit that figure.

        They then commission a study that backs up the position, and use the allegedly objective third-party research to hit their fuel economy forecasts on paper.

        It makes absolutely no difference whether these numbers are actually achieved in 2025. Their job is to get this through the system now, and this is the way to game it.

        If you look at the details, this calls for a decline in market share for light trucks and an increase in passenger cars. That sounds great, except that would run contrary to a trend in consumption habits that has been in play for the last 20-30 years.

        Reading between the lines, these guys know that the targets are BS, but they still have regs to create. Fortunately for them, it won’t matter to anyone in 2025 that their projections were probably not even close to being accurate.

  • avatar

    thanks. I needed a laugh today.

  • avatar

    How well the auto industry will be doing is directly related to how well, we, the people, will be doing during that same time span.

    If the economy is doing well, so will everything else. If the economy keeps going at the anemic pace it is going now, I can see this forecast become a reality.

  • avatar

    Tesla sales are going to go up by 3897%…Brought to you by the same idiots that gave taxpayer dollars to solyndra…

    I want 2 of the fat doobies the feds are smoking.

    • 0 avatar

      And the Volt was supposed to be selling in the 500K unit range at some point as well. I think a water pipe bong is in use.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Telsa will be successful because too many companies in the industry want them to be successful so they can copy them because the wind is behind electric cars at the moment. Whether they will still be an independent company or a subsidiary of Toyota or Daimler is to me the bigger question. But one way or another they will still be there in 2025.

    • 0 avatar

      And Ferrari sales are going to quadruple..these folks need a trip to rehab.

  • avatar

    The Saab sales predictions are, er, timely.

    None of these numbers are worth a grain of salt, frankly. They’re just trying to back into the CAFE figure.

    (That doesn’t mean that I necessarily have high hopes for Chrysler. I’m just pointing out that there is an agenda here, and it is more easily met if they can push down the number of projected truck sales and allocate those sales figures elsewhere.)

  • avatar

    I doubt Detroit will grow. Consider all that was given to them:

    1) Special income tax breaks worth a small fortune … this means larger defecits that will be covered by you.

    2) Government subsidized loans given to all Detroit companies and suppliers.

    3) Cash for clunkers, a huge taxpayer giveaway that resulted in higher values of lease returns … another small fortune.

    4) TARP

    After all of this, Detroit is still unable to produce vehicles as reliable as Toyota and Honda. What a shame. The original disease infecting Detroit is alive and well. United Auto Workers.

    • 0 avatar

      I am not by any stretch a big union fan, but the South Korean’s seem to be doing ok with their unions. Ford looks pretty rosy on this projection as well. And really…Honda?! Toyota would seem to have as many issues as anyone else of late and Honda? Well you go on and keep drinking the kool aid buddy

    • 0 avatar

      @jimmyy evidently people like you can easily remember the Detroit automakers 50 billion in loans but forget where the rest of the 700 billion that went to corporations that basically created or saved zero jobs and even today those same corporations are not loaning any money. Cash for clunkers was for all makes not just the Big 3 and Toyota Honda Nissan BM Volkswagen have been getting tax cuts for years to build plants in the south. Maybe you should use better research before commenting.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d put the cork back in the champagne bottle, if I were you: Detroit ain’t finished by a long shot.
      Chrysler has been down and passed around more than the school tart at a football game – yet she still holds onto nearly the same market share she has had since the best part of you ran down your mother’s…oops, never mind.
      Ford and GM may be shadows of what they once were IN NORTH AMERICA, but globally GM has never been stronger.
      And Japan Inc: well, they’ve developed so many blemishes in the past 5 years that they now have full blown herpes! The rats are leaving Japan, which is literally sinking, so I don’t know if Japan Inc will survive at all. Even the venerable Sony and others are fleeing for greener pastures.
      The Japanese consumer/taxpayer is tapped out. There will be no more subsidies for Japan Inc, especially if they won’t even have factories in the motherland. At least the Japanese government is that smart.
      Save the champagne for New Year’s. I doubt you’ll be raising a toast to Detroit’s death in our life times.

  • avatar
    Cavalier Type 10

    They predict the Ferrari numbers to almost multiply by 5?
    Saab is having a wet dream over those numbers, at least whoever is still employed by the dearly departed corpse.
    The Volvo one caught my eye as well.

  • avatar

    am i to assume that this data was projected with 2011 information or 2008?

    why would they still have spyker there?

    i’m not fan of fiat chrysler but i cannot imagine fiat losing 50% capacity in any eventuality short of complete global economic meltdown

  • avatar

    For the last 3 years CSM has been beating the drum about Chrysler’s coming demise. It’s nice to see someone with an opinion, but for those making capacity decisions on their forecasts and having to jump through hoops because Chrysler blows away the CSM production number all the time, it’s a real drag. They really need to get off that and earn their keep with reliable forecasts.

  • avatar

    I’m not going to try and read that huge paper thing to find out what they say about where they get these analysis figures but Chrysler? What gives them the case to say this? True, they DID say projecting that far ahead is a crapshoot but still.

    Right now, it’s WAY too early to see how the automakers will fare but given the economy here and abroad, the chances of growth will be largely extant until the market perks up all over, CAFE or no.

  • avatar

    Even from the 2008 MY, Saab needed to go up 300% or down 100%. That 25k number wasn’t long for this world.

  • avatar

    I don’t think you can reliably predict that far ahead. An antomaker’s performance is strictly defined by the appeal of the product they’re currently fielding. Who knows what they’ll be fielding in 2025? I doubt they themselves has planned that far. Look at Hyundai-Kia for proof. If you have to predict their future 15 years ago based on their current lineup back then (and their appeal in the market) you wouldn’t predict they’re what they are today. So any automaker can attempt a turnaround by simply replacing their currently lackluster models with ones that resonate with current car buyers, therefore triggering a renaissance for the brand.

    • 0 avatar


      This reminds me of the Wall Street 24/7 report last year that Kia Motors was one of the companies in danger of going out of business. lol

      It’s all about the PRODUCT and change can come as quickly as in one generation of a lineup.

      GM has grown faster than Ford this year in sales, and Chrysler faster than either of them.

      Hyundai and Kia have already overtaken Nissan in sales and Kia is actually growing faster than Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar

        I know these things are never easy, even for the so-called professional analysts, but I recently ran into the WS24/7 report about “10 companies that won’t survive 2012.” This year’s list has Office Depot, and in the write-up they positively waxed poetic about how solid the financials are for OD’s two competitors – OfficeMax and Staples.

        So, I dug back into their previous lists. Yep. OfficeMax, that rock of solidity in 2012, wasn’t supposed to survive 2011. And Staples wasn’t supposed to survive 2009.

        Sure, they’ve been correct on a few (Saab was one of their “dead in 2011” ones – who didn’t see that coming – and JUST BARELY made the cutoff in real life; Borders was on their 2010 AND 2011 lists – cheating, in my opinion), but their 2011 list was only correct on 3/10 companies, and 2010 got 4/10 correct.

        In what MBA class would 30-40% correct get you a passing grade!?

        Back to the story at hand: what freaking basis do they have picking on Chrysler? Chrysler’s recent product overhaul has garnered increased sales and rave reviews in the press, for the most part. What is going to change between now and then for that company, specifically? Are they the only ones that are going to forget how to build a competitive vehicle by 2025?

        Also, let’s look 14 years into the past: 1997. Do you guys think anyone would have called the massive market share losses and bankruptcy at GM and Chrysler then? Or the huge number of increasingly fuel efficient vehicles on the road today? That Hyundai and Kia would join forces and be making some of the best looking, most competitive vehicles for sale in the US? That VOLVO would stop building wagons? That the Explorer would be based on a car platform and have an optional turbocharged 4cyl?

        I’ll go ahead and predict some stuff about new home sales in 2099 and we’ll see how it compares with this. Other than statistical flukes, nothing can be accurately gleened from this report. Thanks for wasting taxpayer dollars on funding “analysts” to type up an overlong biz school thesis paper, DOT/EPA!

  • avatar

    I like how Daimler is up 54% and Chrysler is down 54%. Perhaps the report author is still bitter about the Daimler-Chrysler breakup…

  • avatar
    Diesel Fuel Only

    With 2025 only 13 years away (for all practicable purposes) I would suppose that they could hazard a pretty good guess. You don’t look at individual models, you look at platforms, engine technologies, and facilities. Platforms out now that will carry through that period and those under development.

    And it’s a gradual process. In the intervening years some companies will have competitive products from the beginning in every segment. Some firms may have to abandon whole segments, at least for a time.

    What the article misses is a table of brands by average fuel economy today. The lead firms in FE today, Volkswagen and Hyundai, also happen to be the biggest volume gainers. You have as big gainers European makes BMW & Daimler with an array of advanced Diesel engines and an array of platforms to put them in. What mid-sized Cadillac platform is getting the GM high performance common rail diesel? In what advanced facility will said 36 MPG Cadillac comparable to the BMW 330d be built? Conclusion: the majority of VW, BMW, Merc., Hyundai, etc. platforms are competitive in this scenario and the majority of the Chrysler and GM platforms are dead-enders.

    Look no further than the Charger, total dead-end platform, with its piss-poor output per CID and huge size. It just doesn’t fit into the 2025 MPG scenario, but the Scirocco GT 2.0 TDI does. 170 HP. 260 lbs-FT of Torque. 140 MPH. 44 MPG. On the market since 2008. Just not here.

    Who was it that laughed at VW selling a half-million units in the US, or whatever the figure was?

    So you have the company with the worst FE at present, Chrysler – with its thirsty Dodge trucks – with the biggest losses, and the two firms with the best FE now, Volkswagen & Hyundai, with the biggest gains.

    Makes perfect sense.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but the Chrysler-Fiat numbers simply do NOT make sense. Chrysler will have access to all of Fiat’s small car platforms and diesel engine technology. We are just now beginning to see the fruits of the marriage, i.e: The 2013 Dodge Dart, which looks like it could be a segment leader in many areas. Chrysler is going to be introducing a whole new line-up of C and D segment cars based on Fiat platforms/technology. Chrysler is currently a weak player in these high volume segments, and if the Dart is any indication, these will be very strong offerings that should add a lot of extra sales. To assume that 13 years from now the E segment products (Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger/Challenger), minivans, and Ram trucks will still be riding on the same platforms as now and using current engine technology (Hemi) is simply ridiculous. Chrysler-Fiat’s fate, like that of all the companies on this list, will be determined by consumer acceptance of their future product offerings, not what their current line-up is like.

    • 0 avatar

      As I stated above – look 14 years into the past.

      Compare Ford of 1997 with Ford heading into 2012. That single case handily disproves your point, especially with regard to fuel economy being the driving force behind a company’s predicted/supposed long-term downfall. 14 years is a lifetime in the product development world, even automobiles. Chrysler is working today with technology and components developed 3-5 years ago. If you think their R&D has simply stopped, you’re dead wrong.

      My gosh, the absurdity of this report makes me sound like a Chrysler fanboy. I’m anything but. I predicted 2-3 years ago that Chrysler’s reliance on large, gas-thirsty vehicles would have been its downfall by this time – things have changed massively since then (bankruptcy, Fiat buyout and product plans, Pentastar V6’s surprising real-world performance). However, attempting to predict that they will drop half their sales in 14 years is just absurd. This is literally nonsense, and a waste of the government resources that went into the analysis.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      If in 1992 one were asked to predict where Chrysler would look like in 2006, the obvious conclusion at that time would be that it would soon be out of the truck business, having sold only 50,000 units. Chrysler’s strength was in cars and minivans.

      Then along came the very popular retro-redesign of the Dodge pickup and the Daimler purchase, which turned Chrysler 180 degrees and made it into a truck company, at exactly the wrong time in history.

      Predicting Chrysler’s future based on its Daimler/Cerberus past completely misses where the company is headed. Fiat’s strength is in small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      DFO: Volkswagen and Hyundai also currently offer big, inefficient RWD models (Equus, Genesis, Phaeton), so using your Charger example, they too should be doomed. But wait, THIRTEEN years from now, those platforms will have been replaced by new platforms with advanced engine technology, why would anyone assume that Chrsyler will still be trying to sell the current version of the Hemi Charger thirteen years from now? In Europe, Fiat offers some of the most fuel efficient products on the market, both gas and diesel engine models, so Chrysler is just going to sit on its collective a$$ for the next thirteen years and not take advantage of one of Fiat’s big strengths? Doubt it. That’s why it’s impossible to predict what the market will look like so far in the future.

  • avatar

    Ed Niedermayer
    “…these are not the craziest guesses I could imagine.”

    That’s because you predicted Chrysler will be dead in a couple of years, and Feds predicts Chrysler will still be alive in 2025.

    Ed Niedermayer on dec 1 2009
    “Chrysler’s niche-like volume is the killer here… and it’s relentlessly slipping away as the PENTASTARRED ZOMBIE crashes into OBLIVION.
    All in all, Chrysler continues to exhibit all the signs of FREEFALL.
    …nothing short of a BIBLICAL MIRACLE will stop Chrysler IGNOMINIOUS decline.
    Chrysler is a DEAD AUTOMAKER walking.”

    Chrysler sales
    nov 2009…63,560
    nov 2010…74,152
    nov 2011…107,172

    Ed, where is the article regarding this BIBLICAL MIRACLE? Who is the biblical character which resurrected Chryslerus?

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty sure you can’t get much more biblical miracle-y than a government-led, -backed, and -sanctioned bankruptcy.

      And the Holy Trinity of biblical figures for Chrysler are go by the names Rattner, Marchionne, and Obama.

      Done, and done.

      • 0 avatar

        Brantta: I don’t mind your digging out two-year-old quotes and stitching together excerpts to make a point, but at least give me the courtesy of an “Emphasis Added”… All caps is YOUR thing, not mine. That aside, yes, November 2009 was one of the ultimate low points for Chrysler, and my reporting at the time reflects that.

        KalapanaBlack: Thank you. How soon we forget, eh?

      • 0 avatar

        KalapanaBlack What our government has done was to save jobs and our economy, hell the rest of the auto producing nations have been receiving governmental help for decades.

      • 0 avatar

        @damikco: Tell me how that ‘saved economy’ is going. Mine is doing worse since I paid for the bailouts.

      • 0 avatar

        gslippy: While the “saved economy” might be “limping” along even with the bailouts, it would have been full-blown “paralyzed from the neck down” if GM and Chrysler had gone under. I live in the Detroit area, and the economy has suffered through an economic atomic bomb here, which would have been more like a nuclear winter if not for the bailouts. While the bailouts have cost all taxpayers money, it’s nothing like the economic devastation that would have occured nationally with GM and Chrysler gone.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you are wrong.

        Chrysler exited bankruptcy and fell into Fiat hands in the summer of 2009. Ed’s article was written on december 1, 2009. At that time everyone knew about Rattner, Marchionne and Obama.

        Despite bankruptcy, Obama and Marchionne Ed said that Chrysler is Pentastarred zombie crashing into oblivion …nothing short of a biblical miracle will stop Chrysler ignominious decline. Chrysler is dead automaker.

        Are you saying that Ed didn’t know about bankruptcy and Fiat partnership?

      • 0 avatar

        @Ed Niedermeyer
        But what is a biblical miracle?

        You agree with KalapanaBlack? You didn’t know on dec 1, that Chrysler went through bankruptcy and was taken over by Fiat several months ago? Sounds weird to me.

  • avatar

    Politicized regulations coming out of Washington??!!! Oh, nooooo, not that! This stands science on its head – start with the answer, and work your way back to the pre-fab question. Nothing new there. Although you’d think they’d at least make GM and Chrysler look better than they do. Or, is this just ADS [American car Co. Derangement Syndrome]?

  • avatar
    mulled whine

    They must really believe in north street capital/Alex mascioli’s abilities to be a cheer leader for spyker, seeing as Saab is down and out.

    Plus greely is geely.

  • avatar

    Lotus will still be around in 13 years by selling 200-400 cars a year????

  • avatar

    This is a ridiculous topic because no human can predict the future – even the weather can’t always be accurately forecasted more than a few days in advance in spite of satellites and Doppler radar.

    The entire world is at a critical juncture in history, as it is finacially on the brink of diaster, the likes of which man has never seen. What automobile OEMs will be selling in 13-14 years from now, let alone will even survive is irrevlevant.

    Still, I have to admit it was fun checking out just the same!

    Ahhh…on vacation for the remainder of the year! I’ll be able to spend ‘way too much time on here and over on “CC”! Time to refill my coffee and play with the dog. I’ll aggravate wifey when she comes home at noon!

  • avatar

    Just two comments here:

    1. The government (or anybody else for that matter) predicting the future of car brands 15 years from now is a pure fantasy league exercise.

    2. TTAC bringing back the “Reasonable minds can disagree about the wisdom of the auto bailout” angle is interesting. RF did correctly predict the bankruptcy of 2 out 3 domestic automakers but nearly every other TTAC industry prediction since has been wrong. Ford did quite well, GM recovered, Chrysler is nowhere near dead and the bailout turned out to be a popular move which saved a vital American industry and a million+ jobs. If it really is still the TTAC editorial view that this bailout was not in the public interest then I would expect a more detailed cost-benefit analysis to justify that position.

    • 0 avatar

      carguy: TTAC, as a whole, doesn’t have set “editorial positions.” We make calls as we see them, and as individuals. As far as I’m concerned, though, my opposition to the bailout has always come from a market perspective… if companies are failing, a government bailout can only postpone inevitable market corrections (or, in a worst-case scenario, shunt market pressures onto undeserving competitors). These projections (as absurd in many ways as they are) show simply that the government’s best analysis validates this assumption to some extent.

      Whether the bailout was a necessary step from the perspective of “managing” the overall economy is something I’m largely agnostic about. In moments of profound economic turmoil, it’s impossible to tease out causality for any actual or hypothetical outcome… and when the actual outcome is as mixed as our current reality, the policy debate becomes even trickier.

      Again, I don’t take these numbers as gospel (nor should anyone else). But they add weight to my suspicion that GM and Chrysler (especially the latter) were risky bets, and that it would not surprise me if they found themselves in serious trouble again sometime in the next 20 years or so. If that happens, should it not raise fresh questions about the bailout, regardless of its presumed short-term palliative effects?

      • 0 avatar

        But they add weight to my suspicion that GM and Chrysler (especially the latter) were risky bets

        I take it that you’ve never held a job that required you to prepare or use third-party studies.

        Your view is a bit naive. The study is written to reflect the requirements of the party that is paying for the study. In this case, they needed to include an “objective” forecast that supports the legislation.

        In theory, we use studies and forecasts to make good decisions. But in the real world, we start by making decisions, then pay people to write studies that support the decisions that we have already made. When the first drafts don’t get you there, then the studies will be revised (within reason) to get as close to them as possible.

        The CAFE targets are fairly ambitious. But with forecasts like this, we should be able to hit them to the satisfaction of today’s legislators. The fact that the forecast calls for Tesla to be a real car company, for Saab to still exist and for Ford to slash its truck sales, even though those are the bread-and-butter of its North American operations, should tell you that the details of the report are fairly irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar

        I understand the fidelity to economic theory but the way I see it is two ways:

        1. Any act of government has to be seen in a wider cost benefit context of the national interest. Both the wave of unemployment and the death of of most of the US auto industry would most likely be not in the national interest. Would the death of one car company during normal economic times matter – I would agree, probably not.

        2. The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese did not kick start their car industries using free market principles. Their governments were actively involved as an advocate for these industries and still are. Leaving our car market to overseas competitors which have thrived with government backing would not have been a victory for the free market – quite the opposite.

  • avatar

    At least this report provides plenty of ammo for striking down CAFE once and for all. The workers’ collectivists are one of the most bought voting blocks in the socialist’s coalition. Showing that misanthropes’ efforts to destroy our standards of living with ‘green’ legislation is actually going to hurt organized crime is an important step to breaking up unity between our domestic enemies.

  • avatar

    Such long-range predictions will match the quality of global warming predictions, or Popular Science future car stories from the 70s.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    “Tesla almost 4,000% HA HA HA funny crap this is” , says Yoda

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