What will happen in 2020
As part of our guide to an excellent motoring year, here are our predictions for what to expect from the automotive world in the next twelve months.
We kicked off January with a list of things to watch out for in 2020 with our complete guide to exactly what new cars are due to hit car dealerships over the next twelve months.
But what about things we don't know? The next one may not be set in stone, but car writers predict what to expect from the automotive industry in 2020.
The defender will be epic expensive and good too
It has to be real, right? Land Rover seems to avoid any damage to the gap over the car's design, which will always be easier to get wrong than to do right given the bet (for what it's worth, we're determined to have it straight camp). But it will be nothing compared to what will come to your side if the defender isn't the world's toughest SUV, capable of plowing ahead even when seemingly impassable terrain.
Therefore, although much has been done in its design, there has been less high technology. Or rather, the technical story got lost in the debate on the quarterback looks. Maybe it's because Land Rover doesn't want to face another debate about why the Defender moved from a separate monocoque ladder frame chassis.
This switch was an obvious stowage protector case, which is why the D7x platform at the heart of the car is closely related to JLR's other aluminum architecture. This should make the new Defender unrecognizable from the old to drive on the road, which is essential in expanding its appeal, and Land Rover says its suite of off-road hardware and software at its most sophisticated and most advanced has yet to be released.
So strong is this new quarterback, he allegedly broke some of the equipment designed to test his strength.
EMU will wake up the saloon
We're not saying the SUV trend is over, but we believe you'll be seeing more and more saloons on the road as EMUs grow. Lighter, more aerodynamic and perfect for the sleekness of the EV powertrain, the car's interior could be making a comeback. New Jaguar XJ, Tesla Model 3, BMW i4… the list goes on.
Used EV Prices Will Rise and Rise
Sales of new cars last year suffered, but interest in used cars remains quite high. Narrow down on the growth of the electric car sector and it seems that demand has increased, the prices of used electric vehicles are rising rapidly as a result: the ever popular and usefully affordable Renault Zoe saw prices for some models rise by an average of 18% year on year, with earlier versions of Nissan leaves no lagging behind. We're forecasting pretty much the same this year, as buyers are tempted by the prospect of jumping on the EV bandwagon for far less than the cost of buying one of the many prohibitively expensive new models.
EMU will remain a tiny share of sales
If you think 2020 is going to be the year of the roads, turn off the silent electric cars humming everywhere, think again. It's true there are plenty of new EVs, from more brands at more affordable prices, at longer range, to finally bring some mainstream appeal, but the selection of cars that fit that description hasn't hit the double digits yet.
For every new Volkswagen ID or Opel Corsa-e, there's a new Volkswagen Golf or standard Vauxhall Corsa, the likes of which will continue to dominate bestseller parades. Remember, while the electric car is in its infancy, the internal combustion engine-powered cars itself is quite a sophisticated and developed product, and it keeps getting better all the time.
At the end of November last year, the EMU only 1,5% market share. Getting above 5% is realistic, perhaps pessimistic this year, given the strength of newcomers and the rising supply of models like the Kia e-Niro.
It is better to think of 2020 as the most significant year for the transition to the EMU. The real question is, Is the infrastructure not going to develop fast enough to support them.
Volkswagen ID 3 will become the best-selling EV in Europe
We have been bold here. The Nissan Leaf was the best-selling electric car in Europe last year, with around 39000 sales, overtaking the Renault Zoe. It will be quite a challenge for id 3 to come close to that, but we believe it could outsell its competitors by the end of the year.
It's a matter of scale: Volkswagen has big ambitions for the first electric car built on its crucial meb platform. It is planned to increase production quickly, and this is all supported by a massive marketing campaign.
This firm has already said that this car is a beetle or golf course for the electric age, and it is the flagship of the huge investment and commitment to electrification made across the entire Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen may not let ID 3 fail.
Feedback on the use of smart highway
“We know people are dying on smart highways.” So said Grant Shapps struck the transport minister back in October when announcing the comment in a controversial rollout curb-less format. Rarely is a politician so candid about the shortcomings of the system that is being implemented that tells you everything you need to know about the dangers motorists face on a daily basis.
Perhaps the most baffling recent revelation is that less than a fifth of the smart highway network is equipped with stopped vehicle detection technology to search for a stationary vehicle in a straight lane. Even when the red "X" glows, it's all too easy for the inattentive to overlook. Our only hope is that the review shows that major changes are needed to the format - changes that are quickly implemented in 2020 - before the deaths on these roads rise even higher.
Elon Musk will escalate his war of words with Porsche and Ford
Sending a modified Model S to try and outshine Porsche at the Nurburgring record or staging a tug-of-war between the Ford F-150 and the Cybertruck, Tesla boss Elon Musk wasn't afraid to poke at the competition. As they try to muscle on the Tesla patch, expect the needling to pump up. Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy…
Inexpensive sports EV
If battery supercars had a moment last year, let's hope this year's motor show will be filled with a more achievable sports EMU. A two-seat, rear-driven electric roadster with 200 miles of range and a Sub-£50k asking price could be a winner, and there are plenty of contenders who will be first out of the gate. Nissan is open to an electrifying successor to its 370Z coming out, while Mazda has already hinted at the MX-5. Perhaps Toyota could call on BMW to resurrect the MP2 again using the i3s' successful powertrain. Just thoughts…
The use of natural leather in the interior of the car will be akin to wearing fur
Here's a theory to get brain cells gurgling: what if the car's leather trim has become like a toxic symbol of not-give-a-hell no, an animal-hatred condescension to the general public, how are you already wearing fur?
If you're old enough, you'll remember how wearing fur went from the conventional expression of sophistication and luxury to a brutal and totally unacceptable accessory in a very short time, back in the 1980s.
Why, then, are so few people still fond of using vast areas of cowhide bedecking in their salons?
Attitudes began to change (thank you Land Rover, with its square cloth fit that started the movement) and we believe the momentum will gather as car manufacturers, especially premium class, move more often to develop their brands and products to fit into the worldview that is becoming increasingly socially conscious and environmentally conscious.
lift electric hot hatch
The Mini Electric looks primed to force the rest of the industry to inject some fun into its compact electric vehicles. It will add instant torque to a well-established mini-handling formula, quickly, making it one of the more entertaining electric vehicles on the affordable end of the price spectrum. The Id 3, Volkswagen's first ground-electric car, will become even more influential, with its rear-wheel drive transmission that promises more driver involvement, and other automakers of the pair could spark a new performance race.
We were hoping for a reaction. Add more power. A good starting point would be 250bhp, with plenty of room to go higher and compete with the current crop of petrol hyper hatches. Even if it came at the expense of the range, being able to take down the car's performance at traffic lights would more than make up for it.
Right now, the non-electric hatchback has a solid performance variant, but the big players are all previous forms. Peugeot was a GTI, Opel, there is damage, a flat shadow, Hyundai and his N division. Volkswagen adding a second drive axle to the creation of the Id 3 R looks like an inevitability, too.
Carlos Tavares will work his magic on Alpha
If proof was needed that PSA group boss Carlos Tavares could work wonders (along with imposing tough cost-cutting measures), one had only to look at Vauxhall. Just six months after the GM-owned brand was acquired by POS, Vauxhall made a profit for the first time in two decades. There are high hopes, then, for the PSA's freshly sealed deal with Fiat-Chrysler Cars. The merger of the two manufacturers will create the fourth largest automobile company in the world.
The new venture will be led by Tavares, and his ability to keep brands thrashing may be exactly what FCA's European-focused brands don't need. Maserati has long been conceived, but failed - was Italian, the equivalent of a very profitable Porsche. It is currently undergoing a €5bn (£4,3bn program) electrification and will launch a new sports car with an electric and combustion engine this year. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo, despite its beloved badge and positive reaction to the Stelvio and Giulia, was in decline, able to increase its brand appeal or compete with its German rivals.
Psa described both Maserati and Alfa Romeo as having “significant development potential,” which leaves us feeling optimistic that Tavares can work its magic.
European car brands aside (and not forgetting Fiat, which desperately needs to pull some tricks out of the bag too), the main strength of this merger is on SUVs and vans - two of the most profitable segments right now. The union will also give the dog a massive leg up in the US, where it has, as yet, failed to tap into the world's second largest car market.
Chinese car firm will go to Europe (possibly)
With all the announcements from the Chinese car firm about launching in Europe, we have yet to see these grand plans come to fruition. What's with the change in 2020: The brands, as always, the engine, Byton and Link and Co. have already announced that they will launch this year. Watch this space.
Thinking that we've reached peak cars'
There was a time when you struggled to sum up the launch of a new generation of cars without describing it as 'better'. That's what five years and a few billion spent on R&D usually accomplish. Those days? Not so much. Thanks in large part to the ever-tightening of safety and greenhouse gas regulation, we've largely said goodbye to everything from steering and performance-optimized shifting to high-revving V10s. For enthusiasts, it's entirely possible that the progress is temporary, hopefully coming at a price.
The roads are constantly busy
The traffic is getting worse. Whether it's in cities, on highways or on trunk roads, we're spending more and more time going nowhere. There are three more million vehicles than in 2014, and the total is getting closer to 40 million. And you all notice that extra roads are built to support them, right? uh…
Aston Martin DBX won't be a huge success
Let's not be ashamed of it: Aston Martin is struggling. Slipping shared values and cooler than expected demand for cars meant 2019 was almost a year to forget. Almost, but not quite, because he also gave us the first glimpse of his long-awaited SUV letters, the vehicle that will start the company's reverse downfall.
Why? Well, the obvious thing is that this is an SUV, and a bonus in that. Despite louder calls for emission reductions and greater social responsibility, the SUV's inexorable rise shows no signs of slowing down. Then there's the way the DBX extension looks, which is really pretty good, both inside and out.
But perhaps the most controversial DBX expansion will thrive because it will be a blast to drive: that glorious AMG engine, decent visibility that makes it easy to place the car in limbo, all-wheel drive and a Matt Becker-honed chassis. It will also be the fastest point-to-point Aston on the tolling road. Most importantly, its practicality and convenience will allow you to use it all day every day, and not just on weekends and holidays.
No, not at all in the answer, but the talented and beautiful DBX won't continue to out-sell all other Aston models, and the profits will be poured into the cars we really, really want.
Ford Mustang Mah-E will be very good, EV - but Mustang fans will still grumble
The name Ford Mustang Mah-E has caused a bit of a stir: Mustang muscle car fans have started petitions in a bid to get the firm to change it.
They might be disappointed with the Max-E, but we think those looking for a good electric SUV won't be: Early indications suggest it's likely to be a solid contender in its class. We're also intrigued by the GT version, which promises to bring genuine edge performance. He won't be appeased by a minority of Mustang fans, but he should show Ford can make electric right.
CO2-neutral production will turn sustainability into big words
Car companies with the most advanced EV programs have already realized that having advanced zero-emission vehicles is not enough. The climate crisis is impacting on all levels so in response, automakers are announcing everything from CO2-neutral manufacturing, massive emissions programs and in the case of Bentley, some factory hives. Profound changes or symbolic gestures, the direction of movement is clear.
City cars will continue their slow death...
“If Europe goes this way, there is no business case for auto size,” says Volkswagen chief marketing officer Jürgen Stackmann on the future of cheap-to-run, cheap-to-insure city cars.
The targets he cites are the EU plan to reduce CO2 emissions from automakers to an average of 95g/km for this year, then another 15% by 2025 and 37,5% by 2030. A €95 fine will be charged for every g/km of CO2 for every car sold beyond that limit.
Therefore, the only way to accomplish this is by electrifying cars, which is fine for larger, heavier models, as an increase in the price of easy digestibility in the price list or a monthly PCP payment. But there is no such chance with a car that has been designed to be as affordable and accessible as possible. The result, then, is a system that promotes two-ton plug-in hybrid SUVs over small, lightweight city cars. As Stackmann says, there is no business case for automakers to develop a truly affordable new small car that, with CO2 emissions typically around 100g/km and a non-electrified path would be lower, is sold on paper-thin fields. anyway. Worst of all, legislators have yet to slap on this mistake.
… Therefore, buy a city car
Why don't you buy a city car? With their light weight, narrow tyres, manual transmission and torn naturally aspirated engines, they have key ingredients for fun. Factor in a low price and low running costs and you'll get a car that speaks to your head and heart. Saving the planet is just a by-product.
Soak up every second of the bloodhound journey
There is something mesmerizing listening to Andy Green, an outstanding Bloodhound driver, explaining how he caught a 600mph slide, the way you or I want to talk about our day at work. But, let's not forget that last year's feats, which peaked at 628mph, are just a warm-up performed before the team is strapping rockets into his car and chasing 1000mph this year. This unthinkable adventure is playing out before our eyes, and maybe it might even be enough to get a racing green pulse.
Diesel sales will fall further
“No one listens,” says Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe Imparato whenever someone tries to make a case for modern diesel engines. He's right: at the end of October, diesel sales in the UK were down nearly 30% year on year, accounting for less than a quarter of total vehicles sold. Just five years ago it was over 50%.
The reasons are well-known: VW's Dieselgate scandal rolled on to raise awareness about climate change and air quality, yet the distinction between old and new diesel never came through.
A modern diesel must comply with the latest Euro 6 regulations, so it not only emits less CO2 than a modern diesel engine, but in many cases less NOx and fewer particles. So in clean air quality, modern diesels are part of the solution, not the problem, and they're a world away from the dirty belchers that legislators and the media appear to be on when they try to turn us off with fuel.
As we said before, diesels make all the sense for those who do long miles. But, as Imparato says, no one is listening.
Bristol diesel car ban fails
Bristol's ban on diesel-powered private cars is clearly not in its current form, for two reasons. First, the idea of making an example of the latest diesel maker seems more evil than reasonable, given that new engines are as good as gasoline and produce less CO2, and voters don't appreciate evil legislators. Secondly, the idea needs great government approval, which is unlikely to be forthcoming for fear that a diverse mixture of complex laws will grow in our cities. We see a blanket of charging or bans on older diesels, but this reflex reaction to the word doesn't make sense.
In Detroit will be presented in the future motor show
Car dealerships have been struggling for years as automakers find new ways to showcase their models and plans. In Detroit, the decision to move the event from January to June and turn it into a car festival: Think Goodwood to Motown. If it works, wait for others to try similar ideas.
Ferrari reveals F8 series to be the last pure internal combustion mid-engined V8 on the line
Title hint: tribute. When it comes to Fezzas' mid-engined V8 engine running on nothing more than gasoline and oxygen, expect the F8 to represent the automotive equivalent of an opera singer with a gusto getting up to beat out her song. Yes, there will be a Pista, but when you press the F8 replacement, the V8 will be assisted by something electric, like the SF90 Geneva Motor Show. So it will take some time to really enjoy this classic Ferrari recipe, as 2020 will probably be the last time we've been offered the chance to appreciate it.
Lewis Hamilton broke Schumacher's F1 record to win
Eight wins. That's all Lewis Hamilton has to surpass Michael Schumacher of Formula 1's 91 Grand Prix wins have long been considered unattainable by Tallah - and become the most successful race car driver in the history of the sport. Can he manage that in 2020? Form is on his side: Hamilton has won at least nine races each year since the current 1.6-liter turbo-hybrid rules went into effect in 2014, benefiting from the dominance of his Mercedes-AMG team.
Ferrari and Red Bull closed the gap at Mercedes' net pace in 2019, but Hamilton still prevails - and in a few races he doesn't need a fast car to win. If anything, the more complex the problem, the more it thrives.
And if Hamilton can win eight races, he would almost certainly claim seven titles, matching Schumacher's regular record.
…But some will still argue that he is not a true great
He has the best car! Modern F1 is too dangerous! Teams do the hard work! Even if Lewis sets a new scoring record, many say he doesn't do it all the time. They are, of course, wrong.
Sebastian Ogier will retire with a seventh title
A return to Citroen is sour, but three wins in the 2019 C3 have highlighted Seb's skills. He'll be gone at the end of 2020, but at Toyota he'll clinch another title, including Loeb-beating an eighth Monte Carlo win. Seven crowns with three Marquez will seal his status as one of the greats.
Colin Turkington will become the first five-time BTCC in the championship
BTCC is so low that it's hard to really dominate, but the BMW 3 Series class of 2019 is the field. Fast, clean and respected, driver Colin Turkington knows how to win a title. He is now Andy Rouse tied for most BTCC titles in history and is great to add a fifth.
New cars 2020: What will happen this year and when?
New electric vehicles 2020: What will happen and when?
Updated: 2020 Geneva Motor Show