Most people I know don't have the slightest idea what's going on with the U.S. stock market, and that includes a lot of experts. Still, many seem to think the market will settle down after a bumpy ride for a few weeks.
Something similar is being predicted for the U.S. auto industry — maybe a bumpy ride this year, but things will settle down.
The predictions for 2018 vary widely, but give or take a million vehicles the number will be around 17 million cars and trucks this year.
Eye-popping incentives will play a big role. We're going to see the factories throw billions of dollars at consumers. But AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said recently that when you get up to several thousands of dollars in incentives for a vehicle, adding another thousand simply doesn't have any impact. It's just the crumbs.
Where is Joe Garagiola and the old "buy a car, get a check" come-on? Back then, when Garagiola was selling Chryslers in commercials, the hundred bucks or so he was touting had an impact.
Today, the best advice is simply to watch every nickel. If it turns out to be a good year, then the guy who has been frugal will have an even better year. If it is not the best year, then everyone will have appreciated a little belt tightening.
Maybe when the year is half over, we'll all have a better idea what is really going on with the stock market and the car market.
Here's one thing for sure right now: The factories are going to have to switch to crossovers and SUVs as quickly as possible. Heck, even Rolls-Royce has an SUV ready to go, obviously not willing to let Bentley have too big a head start.
There is a great deal of uncertainty out there and it seems prudent to be conservative. Still, when the car business is bad, I am told, it is still pretty good.