WJR Auto Report: The Year Ahead

January 3, 2006
It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, but in this week’s issue of TheCarConnection.com, we look at a handful of headlines we expect to write in 2006. The most obvious will cover the cutbacks planned at Ford Motor Co., where as many as 10 parts and assembly plants will close, and thousands of jobs will be cut, including those of some senior executives. Efforts to trim healthcare and other labor costs should also make more news in the months to come. Declining SUV sales will be a headline-grabber, especially if fuel prices spike again in 2006. But we expect to see strong demand for crossover vehicles, hybrids, and even a bit of a comeback for passenger cars. While Detroit’s troubles will be a lead story, so will Toyota’s ascendancy. It’s very likely to pass General Motors this year as the world’s largest automaker. But leadership has its price, and the Japanese maker could get some unwanted headlines if it can’t resolve recurring quality problems and its rising list of recalls.
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