Automotive Trends and Lessons from 2010

December 31st, 2010

When the car industry imploded in 2009, no one quite knew what to expect out of 2010.

Would Chrysler and GM survive? Would Toyota or Honda become the new darlings of American car production? What would happen to gas prices and how would automakers respond? Perhaps most importantly, how might automakers help us text while driving more efficiently?

Of course, 2010 answered all those questions and we ended up with some pleasant surprises, some cool innovations and some miserable failures.

Let’s begin with a couple of failures:

Honda and Toyota

Oh boy. Who would have seen this coming? Toyota crumbled under the pressure of mass recalls and questions about its quality, causing customers to look elsewhere. The once mighty Honda pumped out products few were interested in buying (Crosstour and CR-Z). The big two Japanese companies could have taken big advantage of the U.S. bankruptcies but instead helped them recover by sending customers to Ford and GM dealers. Toyota’s troubles also helped lead to…

South Korea as the new Japan

Hyundai and Kia began life in the U.S. as laughable automotive afterthoughts. Today the Hyundai Sonata is everything the Honda Accord should be. Hyundais and Kias are now seen as affordable, efficient, reliable and, as of 2010, stylish alternatives to the American and Japanese offerings. But the American Big 3 aren’t going to sit idle…

Ford, GM and Chrysler come back from the brink

Ford survived the implosion without any government help, and now loves to tout its technological breakthroughs (some of which are too distracting to be in cars) and use of turbo-charged engines to combat the coming increase in gas prices. With the Italians in control at Chrysler, the smallest of the Big 3 is regaining some swagger and has a bright future. General Motors’ big victory of 2010 seems to be the release of the Volt, which is winning every Car of the Year award imaginable. I happen to think that’s the media’s over-reaction to an overpriced hybrid, but whatever.

If anything, 2010 showed that trying to predict the future of the automotive world is nearly impossible. I mean, what’s next, a Chinese company taking the U.S. market by storm? The Honda Crosstour becoming a sales sensation? Only 2011 has the answers…

Have a safe New Year’s Eve and very happy beginning to 2011!

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Honda Crosstour
Used Honda CR-Z
Used Hyundai Sonata
Used Honda Accord

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  1. Randy
    January 1st, 2011 at 08:11 | #1

    Indeed, happy holidays and a great new year to everyone at Car Gurus. What a full year of great car news and interesting opinions.

    Aside from the sales challenges this year, the most gripping lesson comes from Toyota. Talking quality and doing quality are not the same. Everyone in the company from top to bottom must have quality as a first priority. Toyota’s fall from grace is proof the moving your gaze to profits or volume immediately sacrifices quality, and trying to band aid or cover up problems never works. I certainly won’t consider buying Toyota until I see the company eliminating those accountable for the quality crash, and until they do that, they are simply not to be trusted any more. (At least not with my safety.)
    GM.

  2. tgriffith
    December 31st, 2010 at 16:02 | #2

    Thank you, panayoti. We look forward to another year of your intelligent comments and feedback.

  3. panayoti
    December 31st, 2010 at 14:48 | #3

    Thanks to you and jgoods for your efforts to bemuse and educate us with new and thought-provoking articles on a daily basis. I enjoy and appreciate everything you guys do. Best to you guys for the new year.

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