Five years of hits and misses

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Indusry News - Paul Gover

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.

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