A barrage of new models is coming from manufacturers anxious to enter new vehicle segments, expand their lineups, and most of all take advantage of consumers aggressively seeking out new vehicles after years of cutbacks in the wake of Big Recession.
That’s the view of Bank of America Merrill Lynch auto analyst John Murphy in the latest product study, Car Wars 2015-2018. Car companies, notes the report, will launch 192 new models between 2015 and 2018. That’s an average of 48 per year.
“This rate is about 28 per cent above the average number of models launched per year between 1994 and 2014, underscoring that competition is heating up and should support demand,” notes the report. Dealerships will be stuffed with new products, then. On average, a vehicle in your local showroom will have been restyled and re-engineered within the last two years or so. Murphy expects the average showroom age will eventually settle in at around 2.5 years. New products will be everywhere and all around us.
From 2015-2018, each year Ford plans to replace 28 per cent of what’s in the showroom. Honda, too. Kia and Hyundai are on track for a 23 per cent replacement rate, as is Fiat-Chrysler. The industry average lands at 23 per cent.
General Motors and Toyota are projected to remake 21 per cent of the showroom each year during that time, the Europeans as a group are at 20 per cent, while Nissan comes in at 19 per cent. Twenty years ago, in 1994, the industry’s replacement rate came in at 10 per cent; this year, the lull before the storm, the industry is reinventing just 15 per cent of the showroom.
What am I looking forward among this tidal wave of new models? Here are 10 that jump off the page, though with 192 new models coming, this handful barely scratches the surfaces. Look for more new-model updates down the road.
1. 2015 Chevrolet Colorado
This new mid-size pickup is long overdue. Let’s hope GM gets it right.
2. 2015 Ford Mustang
I’m planning on my first test drive in September. Counting the days.
3. 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa plans to have just four dealerships in Canada, to start. This will herd traffic to all of them.
4. 2015 Lexus NX
After neglecting its luxury brand for years, Toyota is loading up the Lexus product pipeline.
5. 2016 Acura NSX
Here we have the halo supercar Acura desperately needs, right down to its Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system which combines a mid-mounted V-6 to power the rear wheels and electric motors providing twist at the fronts. Look out Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 Italia.
6. 2015 Nissan Murano
Here we get a close look at Nissan’s new design language.
7. 2015 Audi TT
Audi goes back to the future with a sports car that is no longer soft and uninteresting.
8. 2015 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai shook up the mid-size car market with the last-generation Sonata. Tough act to follow.
9. 2015 Mazda2
Small cars are critical to Zoom-Zoom. Mazda is taking that old tagline and pushing the brand in the SKYACTIV direction which combines eco-friendly engineering with a passion for driving. (2014 model pictured)
10. 2016 Tesla Model X
Every car maker in the world is watching carefully to see if Tesla can make the shift from boutique start-up to global electric vehicle powerhouse.