A Year in Review - 17 Observations From a 2019 Spent Watching the Automotive Industry

From the characters that control it to the engines at the heart of it, from the history that hems it in to the future that waits for it, from the designs that define it to the manufacturing that fulfills it, the automotive industry has something for everyone.

That’s why we cover it. That’s why we read about it. That’s why we drive and research and analyze, why we memorize specs and memorialize eras, why we wax eloquent when given the opportunity to explain the inherent balance of an inline-six, and why we correct people when they say, “CVT transmission.”

It’s also why we develop deep-seated automotive opinions that have as much chance of coming undone as your Jordan versus LeBron GOAT verdict. (Jordan, obviously. Gretzky, Federer, Mays, and Brady, too, for the record.)

Despite the fact that there was no shortage of automotive opinions dancing around in my head in those twilight moments before sleep each night at the beginning of the year, I nevertheless developed more conclusions over the course of 2019. After having little time to think of much else, and after driving hundreds of different cars, here’s an exhaustive (and exhausting) 17-part sampling.

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Analyze This: Cars of 2018

Year-end lists are great. Music-themed roundups of the last twelve months rock, no pun intended. You know what’s the best, though? Exactly. Stories of this ilk which focus on cars.

Because he is a total anorak with an unhealthy interest in data, your author kept a spreadsheet of the 39 local press fleet machines which passed through his slovenly hands during 2018, not counting First Drives occurring in other locations.

Microsoft Excel is responsible for indigestion for many, but fear not: we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. What rig was the most powerful? Which one was the lardbutt? Are there any performance trends emerging? Did Excel make Matthew’s computer crash again?

The answer to that last one is an emphatic “yes.”

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  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.
  • ToolGuy Pretty cool.
  • ToolGuy While Americans sit around griping about emissions from container ships, check out what the French have been up to: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/largest-lng-powered-container-ship-making-maiden-voyage
  • 28-Cars-Later "I was thinking that service shops were the real cash magnets for the dealers not car sales."You are correct, service and used cars made the majority of dealer profit.
  • ToolGuy Secret: Large automakers have some dealers which they really really like, and some dealers they would love to get rid of.