Five years of hits and misses
GLENYS gets the grey cells moving this week with a relatively simple question. She wants to know which of the car brands will improve over the next five years.
It sounds like a quick-and-easy question, but there are booby traps on a couple of fronts.
For a start, what does she mean by ‘‘improve’’? Is it sales, the big measure for brands such as Toyota, or is it second-hand values, so critical to Audi, or the technology coming to companies such as Hyundai and Kia, or any number of other subjective and objective measurements?
Things will change in the next 10 years for many of the 50-plus car brands now sold in Australia. For a start, expect big things from Great Wall, Geely and Chery of China. Probably not on the safety or quality front, but they will do some big numbers once they get cheap-and-cheerful passenger cars into local showrooms.
The South Korean brands, Hyundai and Kia, are also set for big improvements by building sensible transport that suits the majority of drivers and doing it at a sensible price.
Audi will also continue to improve. It has big plans for new models, as well as a burning desire to trump BMW on the sales charts.
BMW? It’s looking hit-and-miss at the moment, based on cars as good as the new 5 Series in the same showroom as the underwhelming X1 and GT, but it knows its strengths and has a huge following.
Benz should also continue to power, Volvo is making big gains on styling that finally matches its safety, and Mazda will continue to progress.
Toyota desperately needs something special, and the Camry hybrid is doing nothing to boost the competitiveness of its locally made cars.
Ford? If it can convince Australians to buy a four-cylinder Falcon it will be a winner. But that is a big, big job.
Which brings us to Holden, which gambles next year with a local manufacturing commitment to the compact Cruze. It’s a game-changing move and one that could make the Red Lion one of the big improvers of the next five years.