With so much constantly changing in the auto industry, it's tough to keep a pulse on things these days. A simple drive to your local shopping center will give you a good census of the latest trends. Yes, mostly gone are the days of tight parking due to the trendy urban assault vehicles (aka SUV's). Notably the masses have shifted interest to more practical sized vehicles, a reaction to gas prices and alike on recent years.
Those of us close to the industry saw the crash coming, It caught my attention in the early 2000's when the roads were flooded with Explorer's, Tahoe's and everything in between. It was just a matter of time that people grow tired of the gas guzzling, and higher maintenance fees...not to mention those small parking spots at Target!
Today is the time of crossovers and CUV's (compact utility vehicles). These vehicles still have a the luxury and space of many SUV's (sport utility vehicle), yet boast a more compact overall footprint. They also help the future MPG Cafe laws bestowed upon manufacturers. The thought of 20-40% increase in MPG is a marketing campaign in itself, and don't forget lower insurance premiums!
So what manufacturers are hot? One word, four letters; Audi. Audi's movement into the automotive spotlight a few years back with the then all-new R8. It has since turned heads with the new Q7 and gorgeous S5. See Audi's 2010 L.A. Auto Show booth and video of the A3 here:2010 L.A. Auto Show- Audi's A3 TDI
This shift in popularity couldn't have been more evident than at the 2010 L.A. Auto Show.To add insult to injury, the Audi booth and all it glory sat right next to it's tried-and-true German nemesis; BMW. These two have always had a love-hate relationship.
What's next? One may not know until it's here, but the anticipation is what makes it so fun! I say keep an eye out for Nissan's Leaf, the "Dodge" Fiat 500, and the next generation of "Bangle-free" BMW's. CUV's and crossovers are here for the long-haul.