The Auto World past, present, future with John Batchelor

Now is the time to buy a new car! Sales for 2017 are lagging compared to 2016, and car companies are dealing. My friend, Wayne, purchased a brand new 2018 Hyundai Elantra ECO that listed for $21,645 for just $13,808 last week.

2017 is predicted to be the first full-year sales decline since the Great Recession of 2008.Passenger cars are suffering, with only the top newly unveiled sedans showing any strength. SUVs, crossovers, and pickups are staying strong as the price of gasoline remains low, but petroleum is starting to inch up in price.

But gas is starting to climb ever so slowly so are expectations for more interest-rate hikes are contributing to the nearly unanimous view that car demand will drop again in 2018. The Federal Reserve forecasts three rate hikes in 2018, crimping the free-flowing credit that helped fuel a record streak of demand growth now coming to an end.

For the first 11 months of the year 2017, total automotive industry sales were down 1.5%, suggesting a full-year increase is out of reach. If it hadn’t been for the hurricanes, auto sales would have been even worse. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) on Friday projected 2018 sales of 16.7 million vehicles, and with interest rates starting to climb, and gasoline prices inching up, NADA might be correct.

Out of the top twenty vehicles in sales from January- November 2017 seven of them were cars, and only two of them increased in sales year-over-year – Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra. Ford F-Series remains number one in sales, but the Nissan Rogue had the biggest gain in sales.

In the third quarter of 2017 marketshare for car companies showed GM hanging onto first, Ford still at second, Toyota popping into third, Chrysler coming up fourth, and Honda flirting with fifth.

Experian showed Q3 2016 with 265 million cars on the road, 17.1 million new cars were sold in 2016, 42.6 million used cars were sold, 11.4 million cars were put out of operation, bringing the Q3 2017 to 271 million on the road. GM and Ford continue to decline as older vehicles move out of operation.

Tesla was the disruptor for electric cars. Will Google’s Waymo be the disruptor for autonomous vehicles?

Autonomous vehicles – IHS Markit

IHS Markit says that more than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold globally in 2040, which is a substantial increase from the 51,000 units forecasted for 2021.

Total U.S. volumes of autonomous vehicles are expected to reach 7.4 million units per year in 2040 while in China the industry is expected to reach 14.5 million autonomous vehicle sales in 2040.

“The first autonomous vehicle volumes — beyond retrofit test vehicles — will arrive in 2019 through driverless mobility services,” said Egil Juliussen, Ph.D., and director of automotive technology research at IHS Markit. “Volumes will surpass 51,000 units in 2021 when personally owned autonomous cars reach individual buyers for the first time, and IHS Markit forecasts estimate nearly 1 million units will be sold in 2025 across shared fleets and individually owned cars.”

What is Level 3?
Level 3 allows the driver and vehicle to share the responsibility of controlling the car for the first time. The driver needs to be in a position to take over driving within a reasonable amount of time (a few seconds) when prompted to by the system.

What is Level 4?
Level 4 represents the evolutionary progression from level 3. The driver will only have to take over the driving. Either in extremely complex situations or when extreme weather conditions are expected ahead.

What is Level 5?
The critical difference between level 4 and level 5 is that although the driver may take over the driving if they wish at level 5, they will never be obliged to do so. A driving license is not required for autonomous driving, dispensing with the need for a steering wheel and pedals. The vehicle takes over all the driving functions.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and the Concept Car of the Year, and former member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year #NACTOY. She is a guest contributor for Via Corsa magazine and Vicarious magazine.

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