11 auto industry predictions for 2011
FORTUNE -- The U.S. auto industry expects 2011 to be a second year of
recovery from the depths of the recession. The three outsider CEOs at
General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are all looking for higher sales and
better profits. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt will be competing for
miles-per-charge bragging rights while arguing about the importance of
range anxiety. European luxury car makers will begin diverting shipments
from the cooling Chinese market to fill their depleted U.S showrooms.
That's how 2011 looks from the vantage point of 2010. But events have a
habit of unfolding in unexpected ways. Herewith, 11 headlines that have
the potential to upset the status quo in the New Year:
1. Gas prices soar to $4 per gallon. As buyers rush to small cars,
American Motors introduces the Nash Metropolitan classic edition
2. The White House and Congress decide again not to raise the federal
gasoline tax but force SUV owners to use gas ration stamps. Lobbyists
push for a hike in the ethanol subsidy, thereby driving the price of
popcorn and corn flakes to all-time highs.
3. Steve Jobs declares that Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) has invented the
electric iCar. Instead of optional equipment, customers will pay a
monthly fee for apps. Recharging will take place only at Apple-owned
4. Ending months of speculation, Alan Mulally announces during a speech
at the Consumer Electronics Show that he is leaving his job as CEO of
Ford (F, Fortune 500) to run Facebook.
5. Retired General Motors (GM) vice-chairman Bob Lutz, 78, un-retires
for the third time to take another shot at the brass ring. Former GM
CEOs Rick Wagoner, Fritz Henderson, and Ed Whitacre remain on the sidelines.
6. Smart, MINI, and Fiat 500 merge to form the Cute-But-Impractical
European Micro-Car Company.
7. In an effort to make its cars more appealing to younger buyers, Buick
hires Justin Bieber as spokesman to replace Tiger Woods.
8. Edmunds.com, in an expansion move, buys JD Power and IHS Global
Insight, and attempts a hostile takeover of BMW.
9. Imitating the industry they write about, Motor Trend, Car and Driver,
Road & Track, and Automobile merge to form a single magazine called Vehicle.
10. India breaks China's record for the world's longest traffic jam with
a tie-up stretching 840 miles from New Delhi to Mumbai consisting
entirely of Nano cars.
11. The redesigned Chrysler 200 wins car of the year honors.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne celebrates by buying a suit.
"Your first, last, and only line of defense-a Cohort of Roman Heavy
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