The Year in Cars, 2009

Engine Start/Stop ButtonWelcome to the end of 2009.  Thank you very much for visiting the site and checking out all the new posts.  Without readers, there wouldn’t be a reason to do this, so thanks!  Also, as I’ve said before, if you know any of the managers or owners of any DC-area car dealerships, please drop me a line.  We need access to more dealerships and their cars, for review purposes.  If you like the site, let your friends know, and let’s make 2010 a year to remember!  Read on for what I think of 2009, and where we’re headed in 2010.

As for 2009, a lot of people, and companies as a whole, will want to forget the entire year.  Toyota saw its first loss year-over-year in seven decades of operating, and one of the biggest recalls in American automotive history.  Domestic manufacturers saw sales decline in the double digits.  Whole brands have been killed off, and companies have gone through bankruptcy.  But, not all is lost.  Lots of new and refreshed cars have been introduced, some to success in showrooms.  The companies which went through bankruptcy have come out the other side as leaner, more competitive versions of their former selves, shedding dead weight and debt.  While the Cash for Clunkers program spurred sales, overall sales are down significantly from 2008, predicted to be 10.5 million new vehicle sales.

One of the biggest winners this year was Hyundai.  With its “Hyundai Assurance” program, they promise to help out those who buy a new Hyundai and later lose their jobs.  Combined with their 10-year / 100,000 mile warranty and a lot of bang for the buck, they have been scooping up sales all year.  On top of all that, Hyundai is building cars people want, and the American marketplace has seemingly forgotten all about their first forays into our market – cars like the Excel and Accent.

Cadillac won big with its CTS-V, besting BMW’s M5 in a Motor Trend competition.  Their redesigned SRX is a sharp-looking vehicle with lots of potential.  In other domestic news, Ford’s Fusion Hybrid has been getting rave reviews, including one by yours truly, and for good reason.

On the flip side, Toyota has been in trouble for the second half of 2009, with the aforementioned recall, over floor mats, of all things.  Add to this the lawsuits over weak-roofed SUVs and rust-prone trucks, and it’s not been happy times for them.

It was also a year which proved my predictions true, as Ford is the domestic automaker best poised to gain serious market share in the coming year, and GM killed off its slow-selling brands and cars, and sold (or is trying to sell) the rest.  GM is starting its revival, having shed Pontiac and Hummer, and most likely killing off Saab shortly.  Chrysler is now controlled by Fiat, so it has a chance, if the Italians can figure out the American market and start introducing and marketing new vehicles.

It wouldn’t be fair of me to not share my thoughts going forward, so here you are:  Sales in 2010 of new vehicles will top 12 million, but don’t expect much more than that, as we are still in a recession.  The cars that will drive these numbers will be small, like Smart’s ForTwo but better, if not cheaper.  Higher-content small cars will be all the rage, and car-based SUVs and crossovers will still be better sellers than truck-based ones.  Watch out for trucks, whose sales will be slightly higher than in 2009, unless another gas price hike occurs.

The big winners next year will be Ford, BMW, GM, Honda and Hyundai.  They have new models coming out, or already in showrooms, and have held their sales up (comparatively speaking) in 2009.

Now for some fun stuff!  Here’s a list of my favorite 5 posts here on Road Reality for 2009 (and why):

1. Toyota’s 3.8 million vehicle recall – The car company best associated with reliability and quality is in big trouble – rather big news, isn’t it?

2. 2011 Ford Mustang GT Information – Ford finally gives the Mustang a competitive engine!  Also, click here for information about the V6 Mustang.

3. Review of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Hey, it’s Motor Trend’s 2010 Car of the Year, what’s not to like?

4. Review of the 2010 Dodge Nitro – Surprisingly good SUV from Dodge!

5. Motorcycle Self-Assembly – Very cool project by a father and son, and entertaining to watch.

by John Suit

Share

1 Response to “The Year in Cars, 2009”


Comments are currently closed.



Get Adobe Flash player