By on December 31, 2018

365 days. A year. One trip around the sun. Whatever you call it, we’re here: the last day of 2018.

Here’s where we let you look into the TTAC Magic 8 Ball and ask for your predictions of auto industry news you think will happen in 2019.

The year past was packed with all kinds of surprise news, from Elon’s debilitating Twitter habit to the loss of an industry titan to a constant buzz about tariffs. Two of the three home teams in Detroit debuted new versions of their profit centers (read: half-ton pickup trucks) and just about everyone frittered away copious amounts of time and money on autonomy and mobility solutions. And, oh yeah, Ford bought a train station.

One story to watch? The whole Ford/VW dance. After significant levels of talk and public bon mots, there are still many questions to be answered about just how involved the tie-up will be. It may be a case of getting-together-but-not-getting-married, as a good many people in Detroit still remember the last time an American brand invited a German brand to live with them.

Look for a host of new technologies to wend their way into the mainstream. Hyundai is working on a pair of  neato convenience ideas that I would welcome on my own cars — fingerprint technology that’ll reliably unlock doors in any weather, plus something called Separated Sound Zones, which allegedly will allow four quadrants of solitude inside a vehicle. Parents of teenagers with strange tastes in music rejoice.

What are your predictions for the automotive sphere in 2019? Whatever they may be, know that you’ve made it to the end of another calendar, so give yourself a pat on the back. Here’s to a great twelve months ahead!

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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67 Comments on “QOTD: Your Prediction for 2019?...”


  • avatar
    No Nickname Required

    1. Ram sales will pass Silverado sales.

    2. Another new CEO at Ford?

    3. Low gas prices and diminishing government subsidies will make electric cars a hard sell.

    4. Inspite of #3 and to the disappointment of those who would like to see Tesla file bankruptcy, Tesla will be just fine, not because they will turn a profit but because there will always be one more idiot willing to sink more money into the company.

    5. GM will kill the Camaro. (Hey, its happened before. Maybe when they bring it back for the third time they can give it some good looks and better livability)

  • avatar
    riggodeezil

    2019 will bring a bevy of stylish, exciting, affordable, fun-to-drive vehicles that are safe, reliable, and environmentally friendly without being the least bit pretentious or requiring an aircraft hanger for parking.

    Oh, sorry…one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and be more “positive” about things. Is this how that’s done? Man, I feel like running for public office or something…

  • avatar
    NoID

    Dodge unveils the 2020 Challenger SRT 6×6 Double Widebody HellDemoCatEphant with 1111 horsepower.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I think it’s going to be a very tough year for cars. I think you’re going to see more mergers and consolidation if car companies hope to survive

    I also think you’ll see the continuation of more utility vehicles and less sedan/sporty cars. If you’re going to sell a car in 2019 it better be able to do everything, or at least look like it can

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      Average transaction prices are somewhere around $36k. I predict there’s a good chance the general markets roll over sometime this year and everybody heads for the exits at the same time. I’m ready for it (and in fact welcome it, especially in the real estate market).

      It’s also going to be a year of political turmoil, because I don’t think for one minute the Democrats will be able to resist impeaching Donald Trump, and there will be something like 500 Democrat candidates for President. Get the popcorn.

      That all said, I think inoffensive SUV blobs will continue to sell very well. Think of all the silver Hyundai Santa Fe’s running around. Very popular among the aging boomer set, especially the widows and the never married ladies.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        ” Think of all the silver Hyundai Santa Fe’s running around. Very popular among the aging boomer set, especially the widows and the never married ladies.”

        Yep, see today’s 2018 Lexus RX 350L Review for the car of choice among middle-aged female real estate agents

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Average transaction prices are somewhere around $36k.”

        Let’s see, in 1972 a Toyota Corona Mark II–the predecessor to the Camry–was $3000. In today’s money, that’s $18,088. So a new car today, on average, costs TWICE what it should given the rate of inflation.

        That’s a ton of money. The auto industry has boiled the frog very well.

        “That all said, I think inoffensive SUV blobs will continue to sell very well.”

        Back in the day, we had a term for that concept: UJC. The Universal Japanese Car. They were all indistinguishable from one another. It’s not a new concept at all. Figure out what the masses are buying, and sell it to them.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          *Ubiquitous* Japanese car. Same term was used for motorcycles: UJM.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            Right. Universal Japanese Motorcycle:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Japanese_Motorcycle

            And Universal Japanese Car.

            I was there. So was Car and Driver magazine.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          That’s the price of a corolla today, so the consumer is getting a bigger vehicle with tons more features for the same price. The fact that the consumer chooses to spend twice as much on even more vehicle is another matter.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            Corolla is *not* bigger than that Corona Mk II.

            Consumer is getting a *smaller* car today with government-mandated features.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            1972 Corona Mark 2 – 170 inches long, 64 inches wide, 54 inches high

            2018 Corolla – 183 inches long, 70 inches wide, 56 inches high.

            Sure looks bigger to me. Add in that the 72 is rwd and its much smaller inside. 0-60 in 15 seconds and NADA has the original price at $2569 or $15,700 today so Corolla is higher at 18,700. But bigger safer, faster, abs, stability control, etc, no comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “Let’s see, in 1972 a Toyota Corona Mark II–the predecessor to the Camry–was $3000. In today’s money, that’s $18,088. So a new car today, on average, costs TWICE what it should given the rate of inflation.”

          Do you honestly believe that you don’t get a hell of a lot better and safer car today then you did in 1972? Go drive a ’72 anything and you’ll be surprised how horrible it is compared to anything new

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            It’s too easy to forget just how dinky were the first wave of Japanese cars.

            But they came with a structural rigidity that would let you survive a 40 mph frontal offset with an NFL nerf pylon.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Wait a minute – did the ’72 Toyota have power windows, power steering, power disc brakes, ABS, lane assist, stability control, traction control, fuel injection, computer controlled engine and auto transmission, the latter with 8, 9, or 10 speeds, plus air conditioning, heated seats, cruise control and paddle shifters on the steering wheel, plus driver and passenger airbags and side curtain bags?

          I left out a lot more that’s mandated, not optional, like tire pressure monitoring, but that’s enough to add more than a couple bucks to the price of today’s cars. You just can’t compare cars of nearly a half century ago, let alone think you can buy them for the same inflation adjusted price.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    New cars will be less and less interesting to drive. Automakers will make sure that drives will be more isolated from the machine.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    There are so many ways things can go… just going to spitball

    If gas spikes…. crossover/truck sales will not pull back, and if they do it will be in line with the rest of the industry for other reasons (economy/interest rates)

    More and more huge recalls.

    I can see certain manufacturers pulling back or pulling out completely. Mitsubishi and Jaguar come to mind.

    Here’s what I’m hopeful for:

    – Acura sedans moving to the new platform + engines. With panoramic sunroofs and Honda Watch or whatever it’s called.
    – More interesting EVs. Stinger EV please?
    – 2 row VW Atlas debut
    – Mazda CX-7 debut
    – Chrysler 2 row “stretched Cherokee”
    – LX cars to move to Giorgio platform
    – 2.5L for BRZ/86

  • avatar
    dwford

    I think auto sales will limp along in 2019. We will probably see a few more sedan cancellations. We will continue to hear about the vaporware EVs coming from the Detroit, despite the near total lack of prototype spottings. They alway seem to be a “couple years out.”

  • avatar
    jatz

    I predict an even better year for sales of tall-but-small vehicles.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    GM will finally become Guangzhou Motors with plans to move their corporate headquarters to Shanghi. Buick will finally become an exclusive Chinese brand and the Silverado will proudly display the Chinese flag with the words “Hecho in China”. Production of all Guangzhou Motors products should be all Chinese made by 2025.

    Ford and VW will be in merger talks and a new VW pickup will be planned based on the Ranger platform.

    FCA will finally be rebadging Fiat 500s and Neons

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    Honda finally decides to pull the plug on Acura, rebranding any products worth keeping. Followed not too long afterward by Nissan with Infiniti.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      If only right?

      I kinda think that Acura, Infiniti, & Cadillac will throw in the towel somewhere in the early to mid 20’s.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      One would like to think so, but this wont happen for a number of reasons, most notably the amount of remunerations that Nissan, Honda, GM, etc will have to dish out to dealers that will be forced to close. Acura dealers wont re-brand to Honda when there is already a Honda franchise with exclusivity right across the street.

      It is unfortunate, but it would be easier for the manufacturers to let the product die on the vine and take the dealerships with it rather than forcibly shutter operations…

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Mazda will announce they’re building a new Wankel powered sports car and then say it isn’t happening two months later. Twice.

    Volkswagen will announce 17 more EV models and by the end of the year they still won’t have one for sale.

    Ford will just start equipping all their vehicles with fire extinguishers as standard equipment.

    Chevrolet will introduce a special edition Silverado that’s made entirely of chrome.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    VW will announce they are going to cull sedans in the US Market.

    The new Supra will be better than the BMW it is based on, but won’t sell because BMW buyers won’t get a Toyota and it will be priced too high for Toyota buyers. (well it will sell when it first comes out, then sales will fall off a clif)

    The Ranger will meet expectations…no more, no less

    The Gladiator will follow a similar trajectory to the Supra

    Ford will tease a new Continental based on the Aviator platform with suicide doors (they were developing it anyway) before announcing the marque will continue on as a trim package on their SUV lineup. They will also tease a Ford Car (Not the Mustang) on this platform before announcing they will instead market a sedan based on one of the VW non MQB Chinese Passats or something.

    The Bronco will sell gangbusters out of the gate but be lambasted because no Solid Front Axle. It will follow the Supra’s trajectory but initial sales will have GM teasing a BOF Hummer/Blazeresque BOF rig based on the Colorado.

    GM will cull more cars. The Vette will be delayed again. A “Refreshed Silverado” will begin to circulate. Ram will not catch the GM trucks.

    FCA will partner with someone for cars (My money is on Hyundai) like they did with Mitsubishi back in the day. Until such a time all vehicles not Rams or Jeeps will soldier on unchanged. They may quietly withdraw Alfa and FIAT though.

    Nissan will cull a bunch of models

    • 0 avatar
      No Nickname Required

      I knew there was something I was forgetting. The new Ranger.

      “The Ranger will meet expectations…no more, no less”

      Dead-on

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “They may quietly withdraw Alfa and FIAT though.”

      This stuck out at me. Without a champion like Sergio, I could see the Alfa experiment being withdrawn.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yep. Makes me sad, but when push came to shove I didn’t buy one sooo….

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It was questionable from the start. Maseratis could easily have been Alfas and vice versa. And FCA has 3 RWD platforms to cover volumes and segments most manufacturers would serve with one. Giorgio all the things….

      • 0 avatar
        TDIandThen....

        Yeah, that’s probably right. I think a brand consolidation experiment would make sense though for 2-3 years. Put Fiat to Alfa to Maserati as one chain of products, where the Giulia 525 and Maserati out-style the Germans and compete somewhat on the lease market….

        …you see why I don’t work in auto industry marketing by now. But still.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “The new Supra will be better than the BMW it is based on”

      It’s not “based on” the BMW,. It quite literally is the BMW.

      At one time, Toyota designed and built the car–the Matrix–and Pontiac decided to buy several hundred thousand of them for their dealerships. They put a Vibe nameplate on it, stuck a Pontiac radio in the dash, and declared it to be a Pontiac. And yet it was, quite literally, the EXACT same car as on the Toyota lot–built by Toyota.

      Fast forward 15 years, and now we have BMW designing and building a car–the Z4–and Toyota decides to buy them off the line and sell them as Toyotas. My, how times have changed. Maybe Toyota recognized the brilliance of Pontiac’s move. Or maybe Toyota is desperate, like Pontiac was.

  • avatar
    Lefty54

    There will be no such thing as a regular edition Ram pickup. Every single one sold will be some sort of “Special Edition”.

    Somebody will be bold and innovative and offer a bench front seat in a SUV to make it a 6 passenger.

  • avatar
    loner

    The economy will take a dump and the love affair with loaded-up trucks will be over. The Big 3 won’t have much alternative product to sell, and will see sales plummet. Used car values will rise, given the increased demand. Oil will drop and then shoot back up once production is cut. This will hurt the demand for trucks even further. Tesla will become a strong seller among the established wealthy who usually buy trucks and SUVs as status symbols, keeping the brand afloat. Nobody will have a good year, other than the repo man.

    Just my uneducated, pessimistic guess.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Tesla will announce a new flagship model design but the independent directors will subtly signal it’s BS.

    VVw + ford will go ahead as a sales service & marketing partnership without touching the brands. For a limited time the Passat and Jetta will be sold at ford dealers but serviced at VW dealerships. This mess will be unwind once the economy slows significantly and both companies fail to realise higher numbers, or ford customers start to buy VWs in droves.

    Those two wanker on every commenting board will continue to tell us about “massive quality problems” with the brand you love own and know.

    Porsche will concept-release a truck but actually release more of the same.

    Ranger will meet expectations.

    A small truck will finally come back to the US market by end of year, probably from Mazda.

    Mitsubishi will announce something surprisingly interesting and sporty for 2021.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Every positive bit of news concerning American brands will be spun in a negative manner to show their perceived incompetence.

    Every negative bit of news concerning Asian brands will be spun in a positive manner to show the American brand’s incompetence.

    Cars will continue their steep decline, and the American brands will be labeled as short-sighted for abandoning them. Asian cars will continue to sell in large volumes only by appearing mostly in rental fleets, but this will be praised as a triumph over incompetent American cars.

    Toyota will have major recalls but will be praised as “doing what’s right” and excused as “every carmaker has problems once in a while”. GM, Ford, and FCA will have recalls and this will be used as evidence to show their horrible quality/performance/reliability, and how nothing has changed since 1974.

    Deadweight will make several long-winded, hyperbolic rants using his buzzwords and tired rhetoric which will be praised by the B&B as “what needs to be said”, even though it says nothing at all. He may get banned again or pi$$ed off for a few months, but he’ll be back. His ego would allow nothing less. His alchohol abuse + access to a computer will make for hilarious blunders and priceless ignorant blurbs that will show his true nature (once again). This will be ignored by his loyal followers, but will be a great source of laughter by everyone else.

    The Ford trolls will announce that every move by Ford is the absolutely wrong one, every success is really a failure, and every vehicle aside from Ford products are vastly superior due to made up reasons.

    I will continue to be me.

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    The earth will continue to revolve around the sun. People will still fret over “climate change” and I’ll still visit TTAC for the latest automotive news and banter from the Best and Brightest.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    More car models will be discontinued.
    Manufacturers will offer more Lifted trucks as part of their factory lineups.
    FCA will increase horsepower on many of their models (possibly offering a drive-home 1000 HP model).
    Subaru will continue de-emphasizing performance in their vehicles (OUTBACK R model will be next to disappear).
    Fuel economy will plateau.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    The trend towards SUVs will continue; however, SUVs will suffer in reputation, and will more and more generate associations with grandparents. Sedans will retreat into a strong fortress of A4-GTI-Mustang-Lexus-Civic type quality products. Accord/Camry sized sedans will continue their move into irrelevance.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Deadweight could be right about GM but I doubt any of his predictions will happen in 2019. I can see in a few years GM could become a Chinese company but I doubt GM will go out of business.

    Ford should do better this year and the Ranger should exceed expectations.

    FCA should gain ground with increased sales of Ram and Jeep.

  • avatar

    Deadweight will be back with vengeance.

    Porsche will cut cars including 911 and introduce Porsche Cuckan Nurburgring bred BOF pick-up truck family: full-size, midsize and compact ones with hundred of different options and combinations to serve rich American and Chinese contractors.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Tesla, Apple and Rivian create a joint venture to make electric pickups and SUVs in a recently closed GM plant.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Nissan will turn the Maxima into a 4DSC by making it an AWD, manual transmission car. They will replace all CVT transmissions with the ZF 8 speed if you want an auto. They will turn the Murano into the 4 door sport sport utility vehicle, or the 4DSSUV for short. It will offer the aforementioned AWD with manual transmission plus they’ll offer it as a convertible.

    Ford will turn the Mustang into an Urus looking SUV but only offer it with a V8 and manual transmission. The key option will be deleting the back seats and making it a 4 door shooting brake with lots of cargo room. The Lincoln version will offer suicide doors, but only with an automatic transmission.

    MINI will offer their version of the new BMW X7. It will be offered in 30 different colors for the body, 10 for the roof and 5 different wheels. It will be offered with a dinner plate sized speedometer in the middle of the dash and will be value priced at $75,000. The first oil change is included, but all subsequent oil changes will be value priced at $350.

    GM will close all of their plants in the US and Canada. They will import all of their South American cars to avoid the coming trade war with China and will turn to PSA to significantly increase the number of Buick Regals we Americans can buy.

    Infiniti will rename all of their cars “kuruma”, the Japanese word for car, and will re-introduce the Kuruma 45, the old Q car they used to foist upon us. They will begin ads featuring trees and nature.

    Lexus will be rolled out as an independent car company and will immediately buy VW in order to appeal to younger buyers with a desire for less reliable transportation, but with a longer warranty.

    FCA will only sell V8 and electric cars. None will be boring. All will be overpriced. All will be fun. They will also be the only car company to offer a 12 month, 1 year warranty.

    Ferrari will introduce a re-badged Grand Cherokee with a V12 to compete with the Urus.

    Tesla will buy Allison Transmission in an effort to offer a more compelling driving experience and make all of their vehicles equipped with manual transmissions.

    Porsche will be spun off as an independent company, will partner with Caterpillar and will finally breathe life into the underserved performance construction sector.

    BMW and Fisher Price will merge (merger of equals?) in order to more quickly fulfill BMWs need of plastics, especially with electrics, water pumps and other critical non-engine parts. As with MINI, the first oil change is on the house, but all subsequent ones will be $350. In an effort to provide less customer service than today, all BMW dealerships will only hire those who have failed pre-employment background checks. Additionally, BMW will create several new SUVs named X1.5, X2.5, X3.4, X4.57, X5.55, X6.66. Neither numbers or letters have any meaning.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    My prediction: car sales will hold steady, held up by the huge inventory of discontinued models being sold at a discount, but profits will go down, due to the huge inventory of discontinued models being sold at a discount.

    Gas prices won’t spike, due to US crude production that made America controller of marginal prices.

    The stock market will, as J.P. Morgan once said, “fluctuate”, but the economy will still grow at a decent clip, held back only by a shortage of trained labor. Companies will have to invest in training to keep growing.

    Finally, by year’s end the inventory of discontinued models will be gone and car sales will plummet due to lack of product, triggering a mild recession, while automakers scramble to reopen factories to build compact and midsize cars again.


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