This year was lousy at best. During this economic disaster, we have seen car and truck sales plummet. And although sales seem to have bottomed out recently, they are certainly nothing to write home about.
But I have great optimism that next year will be markedly better. Sure, it's tough for anyone who wants to buy a car or truck to postpone it for months, even a year. Americans never have been able to moderate their automotive desires; and a depression, while putting a damper on the economy, doesn't stop car sales. We're still selling more than 10 million cars and trucks in 2009.
But what will really pull buyers back into showrooms are all the products being launched. From a new Mercedes convertible to the hot Ford Taurus SHO, to some new iron from Asia, a renaissance of vehicles is under way.
In spite of the U.S. economy, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as always will be a showplace for new cars and trucks from all over the world.
There is nothing like a good economy to inspire people to buy a new car. But the introduction of new models will bring out the buyers in America who have an almost irresistible desire to buy a car -- especially when it is truly a new car.
Every automaker seems to have product it has just introduced or is about to introduce. That includes everything from high-powered pony cars -- which Detroit seems to have a lock on with the new Camaro fighting the Mustang and Challenger for a spot on the performance charts -- to tamer vehicles.
For those who are into politically correct vehicles, there will be an influx of all sorts of electric vehicles. We might even see a few more diesels. Those folks are praying for $4-a-gallon gasoline, which doesn't seem too likely in a depression.
Once again, the consumer is proving that the product is king.
Let's hope for an economic recovery -- but a whole bunch of new products will pull us out of the recession just as quickly.