How will 2015 look in the rearview mirror? Pretty good, because, let's be honest, strong auto sales numbers outweigh everything else. And we have a shot at the all-time high for U.S. light-vehicle sales.
It's been a busy year and mostly positive.
The UAW and Detroit 3 negotiating four-year labor contracts had the potential to end badly. But I'm encouraged by the outcome. Both sides squarely faced fundamental issues. Automakers kept labor costs competitive while workers shared fat profits without ratcheting up long-term costs -- thank you profit sharing and signing bonuses -- and both found an escape from inequitable two-tier pay scales.
I am enthused by the surge of technology entering the showroom and more advanced tech in labs working toward autonomous vehicles.
Stir in a batch of savvy newcomers. Suddenly a once-staid sector transforms into a challenging but bracing environment. What a great time to be in the auto industry.
But before the party starts rocking, look closer at 2015. It wasn't all happy.
We have long-term strategic problems to address. And some stuff we just should scrape off our boots.
Look at just three big 2015 messes.
General Motors settled federal criminal charges over its deadly ignition switches and agreed to pay nearly $600 million to victims.