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Guys,

What do you think the automotive landscape will look like this time next year?

It's an interesting crossroads at the moment. I doubt Saab will make it, Opel - and hence Vauxhall - is looking rocky, Renault has dropped five models from the UK, Alfa only offers two models, and VW's interest in Seat seems to be waning.

On the flip side, Jaguar/Land Rover seems to be doing well, Nissan can't make enough Qashquis, while Kia brims with confidence.

It'll be interesting to see whether Renault's investment in electric vehicles pays off and is reflected in interest and acceptance, whether McLaren finally announces that another company is to brand and build its tiny city car, and how the UK market responds to 'budget brand' Dacia. I'm also interested in the relationship between Daimler and Nissan/Renault. That'll be one to watch, so to will be the global domination fight between VW and Toyota. Let's not forget Fiat's return to the States. The 500 isn't selling as well as hoped, and it's the only Fiat branded product dealers have to sell. I don't think Fiat will pull out of the US, but I'm curious to see its response to the problem it has there.

Will there be enough room in the market for all of the car manufacturers (and models) out there in 2012? What will happen to Lotus? Subaru? Or companies like Proton?

I've probably missed off other equally important developments, but these are the ones I'll be tracking in 2012.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Don't forget the impending arrival of the Chinese; Geely and Great Wall are intending to begin imports in 2012.

With the exception of the Germans, I suspect that 2012 will not be a pleasant year for domestic European car manufacturers. Renault are relying ever more on their alliance partner Nissan, and Fiat would be in serious trouble were it not for a rejuvenated Chrysler. PSA Peugeot-Citroen are even more vulnerable, relying so heavily on the European market, and having no significant global partners; I doubt they can remain independent for more than a couple of years.

Subaru sales in the UK are tiny (2,634 total last year) but they have been doing very well in the US over the last couple of years, and now that Toyota own a significant share (rather than a clueless GM), things should get better. If only they had a decent diesel engine...

And Proton? Well... I understand that they have renewed their links with Mitsubishi, and are now producing a lightly-restyled version of the current Lancer, so who knows?

VolksWagens' mission statement is to become world number 1 in terms of sales, whereas KIA state that they want to be "the most loved brand". Think about that.
 

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Dont forget Renault have given up on Espace Laguna etc in the Uk to concentrate on electric cars
 

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I think it is going to be hard especially for the 'minnows' out there.

No Saab; Alfa with only two models; Fiat struggling in the US; BMW and Audi seemingly determined to make the same car just in different sizes; Toyota continuing to make throw away cars that while reliable (in the main) are as bland and souless as you can get; Lancia being forced to market rebadged Chryslers or worse, being badged as Chryslers!; Ferrari not allowing the new Stratos to go into production because its better than the Ferrari; Renault continuing to try and convince us the electric car is cool and good value for money:cheese:.

All in all, I think a tough year for all lies ahead.
 

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Hi

VW seem to do well due to the fashion for viewing VW being a decent car and worth the money. One day that will change but might take many years (ie, Mercedes build quality went through the floor but even with a decade or so of that their reputation managed to survive). Although a loss for VW might be a gain for Skoda.

Fiat have a lack of large vehicles, but on the other hand have plenty of experience of smaller cars. Given ever more harsh taxes on CO2 they might not do too badly there.

Renault seem to be keen to commit suicide. Dropping a lot of their real cars and putting lots of eggs into the flakey electric car basket.

Not sure PSA have got a future.

Ford and GM in Europe seem to yoyo from selling decent drivers cars to cheap knock offs trading on the decent driving reputation of their predecessors.

All the best

Keith
 
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My son and I were walking to school this morning and we decided that the future of the car is largely miserable and depressing. We set out to look for the nicest car on our 15 minute walk and the most interesting was a Lexus IS200 (though my son preferred a fairly new 5-Series). It was just a sea of dreary hatchbacks and MPVs.

I predict a rash of further cross-over type vehicles along the lines of the Nissan Juke which seem to basically be uglier versions of existing cars. Ford are apparently launching a new car based on the Kuga with one massive headlamp where the windscreen should be. Someone will probably build a 4x4 MPV with a folding metal roof and someone else will build something with two doors and no folding roof and call it a Koop. Vauxhall will launch a new Corsa that's bigger than the Astra used to be necessitating a new entry-level car named after an animal. VAG will continue the trend of launching their old cars as new Seat models. I understand that the next model to be rebranded in this way is a 1992 Audi 80 that they found in a disused warehouse in Zwickau.

Fiat plan to build a series of new retro models following the success of the 500. Next in line is a modern take on the 131 SuperMirafiori which has been designed by a four year old with some crayons.

That most bizarre and pointless creation, the performance MPV will continue to grow as tragic dads don sportswear and try to convince themselves they have still got it when nothing could be further from the truth. When they attempt to unleash the beast, little johnny will spew up in the back seat and granny will swallow her false teeth.

MG will announce lots and lots of new models but there won't be any actual dealers where you can go and buy (or even see) an actual car. Effectively, it will be a CGI car industry. Other Chinese car makers will launch cars in the UK including something that looks like a Lexus but costs £450. Lots of negative press coverage will be generated when it becomes apparent that levels of passenger protection are akin to those on a 1954 ford Popular and emissions are at a similar level to those produced by the space shuttle.

Finally, brands with some identity like Alfa and Saab will either disappear completely or become rebadged mediocity leaving buyers to choose from basically the same car but with a myriad of different badges.
 

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The fun days of motoring are over.

It is downhill from here. In fact it has been going downhill for years.


I am sure many car makers will die, or merge with larger ones and we are destined to either have very small fuel powered vehicles or electric. That is if we can afford them at all.

I personally cannot get too enthusiastic about the future of motoring, as it looks very bleak.

As for 2012 who knows, I can't see too much changing in the next year or two.
 

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i'm not sure if the future's that bleak. every year the press & the public bemoan the death of the fast car but then out come ferrari with the 458, mclaren with the one with a barcode for a name, and lambo with the aventador. at the other end of the market, subaru & toyota have done their BLT or whatever it's called - 200bhp, rwd, normally aspirated, reasonably priced etc etc. plenty more in between too - new 911, new jag concept, new hot hatches from vauxhall & ford on the way, new m3 soon

i can see more consolidation of brands though. bye bye saab for a start. alfa need to seriously pull their socks up to avoid becoming an expensive luxury for fiat group. jeep sales are going really well in the states though which should fill up fiat's coffers a bit though. peugeot have said they're finished with all motorsport so god knows where they're heading

the big winners will be hyundai & kia. they're now making properly engineered, good looking hatchbacks with that monster warranty, and at prices to undercut ford, peugeot, vauxhall etc. they've got the right product, at the right time, at the right price = winner

one thing i can see is the traditional saloon car continuing to decline, apart from maybe ze german big 3. they look good bud just aren't as practical/versatile as a hatch/estate/mpv

not sure about the chinese brands - i think they'll struggle. they have zero brand awareness, zero heritage, and will have to compete on price alone but i suspect most people on a budget would go for a used korean car with a few years' warranty left instead
 
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i'm not sure if the future's that bleak. every year the press & the public bemoan the death of the fast car but then out come ferrari with the 458, mclaren with the one with a barcode for a name, and lambo with the aventador. at the other end of the market, subaru & toyota have done their BLT or whatever it's called - 200bhp, rwd, normally aspirated, reasonably priced etc etc. plenty more in between too - new 911, new jag concept, new hot hatches from vauxhall & ford on the way, new m3 soon

i can see more consolidation of brands though. bye bye saab for a start. alfa need to seriously pull their socks up to avoid becoming an expensive luxury for fiat group. jeep sales are going really well in the states though which should fill up fiat's coffers a bit though. peugeot have said they're finished with all motorsport so god knows where they're heading

the big winners will be hyundai & kia. they're now making properly engineered, good looking hatchbacks with that monster warranty, and at prices to undercut ford, peugeot, vauxhall etc. they've got the right product, at the right time, at the right price = winner

one thing i can see is the traditional saloon car continuing to decline, apart from maybe ze german big 3. they look good bud just aren't as practical/versatile as a hatch/estate/mpv

not sure about the chinese brands - i think they'll struggle. they have zero brand awareness, zero heritage, and will have to compete on price alone but i suspect most people on a budget would go for a used korean car with a few years' warranty left instead
I'm with Symon on this one. I used to love driving but now it's an activity I can quite happily live without.

I don't really understand the point of fast cars any more unless you live in the Scottish Highlands or have the time and money to do a track day every week. Our Volvo has a throbbing 122BHP. If it had 300BHP I wouldn't actually get anywhere any quicker and having 300BHP but nowhere to unleash it would be massively frustrating. A 2CV would get me around just as quickly.
 

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Indeed, even if you can afford a fast car you cannot use it.

Even if you are not being held up by someone driving at 40mph then the roads are full of holes, speed humps and cameras.

Anything more than about 150bhp is a waste, and even then that is excessive most of the time.

On my way to work which is a 10 mile drive on mostly B roads I can rarely get above 50mph.
 

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i suppose i'm lucky - within 5 minutes from my house i can be up on the moors roads for a blast. those roads are more suited to a fast little hatch than a big 159 but still great to drive

i also love our summer schleps down into france too - i wouldn't want to do that in a car without a bit of ooomph to it. in fact the 159's very well suited to fast motorway driving

in short - i still love driving :thumbs:
 
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