So it's time to list our predictions for 2006. Oh, we know 2006 is already underway but we've just finished polishing our crystal ball. Uh, that is not a euphemism for anything else. But you say, "Hey, fatties, why should we listen to you? You got any track record?" You know, that's a good question. But, first, we're big-boned. Second, here's what we said would happen in 2005:
PREDICTION: Sales up for: Imports, Same or less for domestic.
RESULT: Correct!. Not every every import went up but the big ones did and that's who we meant. Domestics went down.
PREDICTION: Gas will hit near $3 in summer (anything over $2.70 counts!)
RESULT: Correct! Gas went way, way up. And we don't want to hear it was the hurricanes. Gas went up because oil dudes could raise prices and oil dudes wanted to make more money.
PREDICTION: Hybrid sales will level off or go slightly higher
RESULT: Wrong! Sales went way up. Makes sense, but we're not bright. We figured people would keep wanting bigger cars and trucks.
PREDICTION: Cost of hybrid will go higher
RESULT: Correct! This was sort of a "duh" prediction and while we were technically correct, it wasn't in the spirit of what we meant (we really thought they'd go way up and therefore sales would drop).
PREDICITON: Saturn is going to be hurtin'
RESULT: Wrong! We don't know why, but Saturn actually eeked out a .8% increase in sales for 2005. Who is buying Saturns?
PREDICTION: Lincoln is going to have their worst year, ever. Ever, ever.
RESULT: Correct! Well, let's clarify that. They were down 11.4%. We don't know if that's their worst year ever, but it's bad and things are looking bleaker and bleaker.
PREDICTION: Phaeton will be killed
RESULT: Correct! Well, the car isn't being killed, only the imports to this country are. But since that's all we cover (the U.S. market), we are counting this as a yes.
PREDICTION: Jaguar will expand line of cars but sales will be lower and it will diminish brand. Hey Jaguar, kill off the X-type and hire a slick marketing guy to boost XJ sales, it's a great car.
RESULT: Eh. Sales were down, way down (33%). But they didn't expand the brand at all. Jaguar still needs to knock off the X-Type.
PREDICTION: Honda will continue to rock, Toyota will continue to be perfect but make snoozy cars and Subarus will get more and more expensive (and better looking). We're not sure what Nissan is doing but they are doing it better than Detroit. Essentially, import sales will go up.
PREDICTION: Pontiac will kill off the GTO because of poor sal... uh, it's a crappy ca... uh, shifting consumer tastes.
RESULT: Wrong! Dammit! Who the hell is buying this turd? Well, looking at sales figures, a lot fewer. While '05 sales were down only 14.6% over '04, same month sales were down nearly 73% when comparing Dec '05 to Dec '04. We wonder if that is a sign of things to come.
Predictions for 2006:
Ford's "Way Forward" plan will be a flop and Ford will have another tough year prompting Bill Ford to step down as CEO but remain with the company.
GM will also have another bad year. Rick Wagoner will be step down as CEO. He will be given a gold Chevy Monte Carlo as a parting gift. Heh. No, no gift. Who'd want a Monte Carlo anyway?
Buick: The division will not be closed. The Buick will not have a major turn around, but we wouldn't be surprised if we saw an increase in sales.
Ford: Fusion will sell well, as it should. Ford will finally add standard safety features to Fusion.
Hyundai: Sales increasing. 2006 might be the year that people stop thinking of Hyundai as the cheap 'n' lousy car company for good.
Isuzu will stop selling cars in the U.S.
Jaguar: Man, we don't know. They just got a bank dropped on them and we're not sure they know what to do with it. Our formal prediction: the cash infusion from Ford will go down in history as Ford's Folly. Jaguar will continue to lose money in 2006.
Lincoln: We're not sure what is up with Lincoln since they should have already closed. Ford is very confused with the division and we predict massive sales slide. The Mark LT is not the answer. The next two years could very well be the end of Lincoln.
Maybach: Maybach? It's a small luxury division of Mercedes-Benz. Anyway, they aren't selling as many cars and we wouldn't be surprised to hear discussions start about closing the division.
Saab: GM's Swedish division will lose even more money than they did in 2005 (~$300 million). And, yes, that means 2006 will be the last year for Saab. Saab will either be closed or GM will sell it.
So, essentially, 2006 will be a repeat of 2005: domestic sales down, import sales up.
Gas will repeat last year's rise and go over $3 again. It will _not_ get back near $2/gallon ever again. SUV sales will suffer again.
Lexus will be top luxury brand. Mercedes will still have more cache, but every luxury car will be benchmarked to a Lexus. Specifically the (just announced) LS460. But luxury companies will also be compared to Lexus. This is significant because Mercedes-Benz was always the company that was associated with luxury.
We'll see more hybrids models (towards end of year as 2007 models) and they will continue to sell very well. Especially as gas prices creep up again.
Fuel cells will continue to be talked about but nothing much will happen with them. There will be no fuel cell break-throughs.
Well, what the hell do you think? Comments are open below for you to spout your thoughts. Share them! Dammit! Share them! Don't make us make you drive a Ford Pinto!