By on January 5, 2015

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Crystal_Ball

Last year, I made a few predictions about events in the auto industry. I firmly believe in being held accountable when making these statements. Most journalists have zero skin in the game and make outlandish pronouncements about product planning, regulations and other matters. These are quickly lost in the ether of the online news cycle, and the idiocy of their statements is forgotten as soon as you can say “brown diesel wagon”. Let’s see how I fared in 2014.

  1. Wrong: The Jeep Cherokee will sell 125,000 units in 2014. I based this number on early sales figures, as well as Toledo being capacity limited to 500,000 units per year, with almost half of those being taken up by Wranglers. Jeep ended up selling 178,508 units of the Cherokee, about 3,000 more than the Wrangler. But I’ve yet to see a Wrangler in a rental fleet, or sold at a heavy discount…
  2. Right: The Nissan Rogue will outsell the Cherokee. I picked this one because the automotive media was doing their best to hype up the Cherokee’s 10,000 unit per month sales figure – rather unimpressive in a segment where the Honda CR-V does nearly 3.5 times that. There are few things I hate more than journalists of ostensibly respectable publications acting as blatant cheerleaders for any OEM. When it’s a Detroit based writer doing so for the Big 3, it’s even worse. And when the product proved to be deeply flawed, and TTAC  was the only publication besides Consumer Reports to say so, it made me even angrier. So, I picked the Nissan Rogue, possibly the most boring CUV of all, the antithesis of the admittedly stylish, technologically ambitious Cherokee, an utterly pedestrian commodity that the Piloti-shod wankers of the enthusiast press would surely sneer at. And it beat the Cherokee by nearly 20,000 units on its way to becoming one of the top 5 selling CUVs.
  3. Right: The full-size car market will continue to decline in 2014. According to Tim Cain, early numbers show that full-size cars lost market share, going from 4.0% in 2013, to 3.5% in 2014.
  4. Right: Hyundai will launch its own small crossover in 2014. Hyundai launched the ix25 in China this year.
  5. Right: “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” Witness the lambasting of Cadillac’s new naming scheme, its move to New York City and its new brand guru Melody Lee. On the other hand, I drove the ATS and I liked it.

Check back later for my 2015 predictions.

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61 Comments on “Derek’s 2014 Predictions: Which Ones Came True?...”


  • avatar
    rpol35

    “There are few things I hate more than journalists of ostensibly respectable publications acting as blatant cheerleaders for any OEM.”

    You mean like Bertel Schitt and Volkswagen?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I’ve been giving this a lot of thought…

    I would hands down buy a Journey R/T Rallye over a Cherokee any day of the week.

    This is based on the nice squared off styling (big windows!), useful cargo space, 3.6L over 3.2L, value pricing from FCA combined with a lot of available options, and more than enough AWD capability for 95% of people.

    Comments/flames from the depths of hell?

    (But seriously, I’d entertain a debate on this.)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Surely there are other options in the new segment. A Hyundai or something?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I’ll admit, the 3.6 Pentastar is a big draw for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        What is wrong with the Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar?

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          2 things there:

          1) the base GC starts at 1k more than a loaded to the nines Journey

          2) this could be completely wrong, but in my tire kicking I noticed that the Jouney seemed roomier than the GC. The surfaces of the doors, the dash, the center tunnel of the GC seemed far more intrusive than that of the Journey.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The JGC has about 4″ more hiproom that the Journey, but the Journey does have more legroom and headroom in the front.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The JGC is definitely wider than the Journey. It’s basically in a price class above, though. They get very pricey, especially in Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think the GC is very expensive very quickly. It’s always been priced high here in the US.

            The downs!de to that is it depreciates faster than a late 90s Benz.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The Cherokee has more available tech features like active cruise, park assist etc., has more ground clearance and off-road options.

      If none of that particularly matters to you, you’ll probably get better value out of the Journey. After the 2k discount on the Journey, it’ll be about 1k less than the Cherokee, similarly equipped.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I definitely think active cruise is a cool and worthwhile feature.

        There’s no doubt the Cherokee has the more capable AWD and clearance, but using myself as an example, at most I envision ski trips, flatish fields and ugly gravel roads in the summer as the most extreme of my driving and I can’t imagine the Journey on snows wouldn’t be more than up to the task.

        The reason I bring this topic up, in case anyone thinks I need to be committed, is that the Journey is much maligned, but if we assume build quality is equal to the Cherokee, I believe it presents a solid alternative.

        Is it just the Jeep badge that makes everyone so hot for the Cherokee? Or is it how admittedly horrible the Journey was prior to FCA mandating better interiors and prior to the Pentastar, and that has soured people?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          You don’t need to be commited. You should be commended. The vast majority of people aren’t rock crawling in their Cherokees. The extra ground clearance means almost nothing. My AWD MkT in snow tires does better in the winter than my neighbor’s FJ with stock tires.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          People have a tendency to look down on aging designs in general…and the fact that the first gen Journey was pretty lackluster.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’d take a Journey over a Cherokee too because I find the Cherokee to be a piss poor CUV. It has less room in the hatchback than my C-Max, I don’t like how it drives, and it feels less spacious in the front and back than it’s competitors.

      The Journey is what it is. Pentastar and AWD are pluses, along with price. It isn’t a terrible vehicle, but I’d never buy one. In that price range I be buying something used anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Savvy analysis, Dave! I would prefer the Journey to the Cherokee, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’ll make a prediction of my own:
      The Jeep Renegade is going to cut into the Cherokee’s sales and probably cannibalize a huge chunk from the Compass/Patriot set. And if gas prices go back up the way I expect… with a huge rebound approaching $5/gal at least short term… the Renegade will take off like a scalded cat–outselling almost all the other Jeeps.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “The Jeep Renegade is going to cut into the Cherokee’s sales and probably cannibalize a huge chunk from the Compass/Patriot set.”

        The sun will also come up tomorrow. Since at least one of the Compass/Patriot twins is slated to be discontinued that would be a safe bet. As far as cutting into Cherokee sales, maybe, but probably no more then Cherokee cut into Grand Cherokee sales. I think in both cases the Renegade/Cherokee are more likely to steal sales from their competition then cannibalize other Jeeps. None will have an effect on the Wrangler for obvious reasons

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I don’t expect to see $5 gasoline in 2015. If the Saudis are really trying to affect the players in the market, it will take more than a year. I don’t expect oil to stay as low as it is, but I don’t see it hitting a rebound spike, either.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        “And if gas prices go back up the way I expect… with a huge rebound approaching $5/gal at least short term…”

        Oil prices will rebound, but in the absence of a major geopolitical or weather event, not to $100/bbl levels.

        Two things have changed that have long term implications for oil prices.
        Increased supply from the shale boom – even if that goes off line in a $50/bbl market, will come back on again as oil prices rise.
        US gasoline consumption has fallen dramatically over the last 10 years, mostly due to increasingly more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.

        I’d expect to see $3.00-$3.50 /gal again in the not too distant future, but probably not $5.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        It can’t outsell other Jeeps because of capacity.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    These are now shipping to Cadillac Dealers (it’s called the CT-MelodyLee, is available in “Versace” & Nürburgring trim levels, & is being co-branded with Herbalife, & is going to ring the register for Cadillac in 2015 according to Johan de “You Dare Come At Me Brah!” Nysschen):

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cadillac_ULC_concept_–_2011_DC.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “CT-MelodyLee”

      Love it.

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Urban_Luxury_Concept#mediaviewer/File:Cadillac_ULC_concept_- -_2011_DC.jpg

      Something reformatted the double dash in your link and I was curious enough to Google WTF you were linking :)

      *edit*
      Ack, it did it to me too…. copy and paste my link above and delete the space between the two dashes the precede “_2011_DC.jpg”

    • 0 avatar
      TorontoSkeptic

      Holy crap, how have I never seen this before? Thanks DubTee for reformatting, I was getting curious too. With a 3-cylinder 1.0 liter engine – daaaammmmn that’s tasty Urban Luxury.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

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

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Ahhh, nothing says luxury quite like a 3 cylinder engine. I checked the USPTO database and they have in fact trademarked CT-2. We’re laughing now, but you never know. I’ll have to head over to the mall and find my local Cadillac Genius Bar to get more details.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Wait at least 6 months until after they go on sale, because they’ll be “red-tagged sold” for 30% off, but they’ll close the showroom with the Melody Lee Genius Bar & move them into a kiosk near the Sunglass Hut (next to the “As Seen On TV” store, by the food court).

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            Dearest Brother DeadWeight-

            I could respect your persistent and passionate disappointment/criticism/hatred of Cadillac’s current management and marketing strategy.

            It then went from passion to obsession – and I could still accept that, you obviously can’t think about cars without the specter of a Cadillac division that in your view has come completely off the rails.

            But I now fear that your obsession has crossed over into full-on insanity, as you seem utterly incapable of commenting on any other topic. This could be an article on solar-powered monster trucks, and you’d still be talking about Cadillac marketing and Melody Lee.

            Now I say this with peace and love – please, I implore you, in the name of all that does not suck, please seek professional counseling. There’s always hope my brother, I know you’re not too far gone. It’s not too late, it’s never too late…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I can’t help it.

            Incompetence – nay – LUNACY – on a level displayed by Johan Zohan, Melody “The Vehicle is Secondary” Lee, Mark Reuss & Mary Barra deserves to be hammered upon at every juncture.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            DeadWeight is like the crazy uncle we keep in the attic. No matter how off-the-wall he’s still family and makes the other strange relatives (you know who they are) seem normal

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            If DW’s comments could goad Cadillac to stop wasting money on PR rubbish and use that money to bring their cars up that last 10% they need to be “world class”, it might be worth it.

            Or convince them to give me an ELR in a straight trade for my ’13 Malibu.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            “I can’t help it.”

            In some strange way I am compelled to respect your unflinching and unapologetic devotion to your cause.

            Carry on, sir.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This seems to be compelled by a phobia of petite Asian women who are doing something more than just fetching coffee.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            I think it’s unrequited love. Beneath that seething mass of intellectual frustration lies a simple broken heart.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “I think it’s unrequited love”

            It’s WAY more perverse and twisted then that

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            Sadly there is no greater potential source of twisted perversity than the human heart.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I had an Asian girlfriend for a full year and a half in college (that’s the equivalent of 18 years of marriage post college).

            I had nary a complaint about any of her attributes.

            So it’s not that (then again, she, unlike Melody Lee, was intelligent).

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Looks to me like that lady is holding a Nissan emblem. She likes the Rogue too. And she’s unmarried, which is the target demographic for said vehicle.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I like the Hyundai ix25, but until it’s available in North America it doesn’t count, like the Ford EcoSport

  • avatar
    AustinOski

    “But I’ve yet to see a Wrangler in a rental fleet.”

    Really? Maybe not everywhere, but they are very common in Hawaii, they rent them in Las Vegas and I think Florida, Southern Cal and other spots (oddly, in Boston, too). I’m sure there are other places. I’m talking national rental agencies. And, many small local places do, too, in touristy areas.

    • 0 avatar

      Uh. Yeah. My sentiments exactly. DTAG and Hertz rent them frequently and I always see those units at the sale.

      Chrysler Capital also repos a fair number of Sports

      Another phenomenon – new-car dealers buying brand-new Wranglers, modding them, and running them through the lanes at a profit.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      Sixt offers Wranglers in Las Vegas. At tempting prices, just to do some mild off-roading for a weekend.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Sixt is awesome. Best rental car agency ever.

        I turned a few TTAC brothers (I will refer to all TTAC co-commentators as either brothers or sisters – even those having ongoing differences with me, whether due to form and/or substance – in the spirit of the New Year) on to Sixt, I do believe, and am glad to have done so.

        When I rented an Audi A3 from Sixt in LA, the cost was 22 dollars something per day, but they upgraded me to an Audi A4 for the same price as the A3 as they were out of A3s, and then, to put the cherry on top, I called their CS line b/c I discovered that I needed the car for another night (not full day), which meant they could have charged me for another full day, yet they did not.

        Who does that?

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I rented a Wrangler Unlimited a few years back on Grand Cayman from Avis. I liked it as a beach rental, hated the idea of having to live with it outside those parameters.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I rented a Wrangler Unlimited a few years back on Grand Cayman from Avis. I liked it as a beach rental, hated the idea of having to live with it outside those parameters.

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