Forecast: Small Cars Will Lead Demand

John LeBlanc gives his perspective on the immediate future of the automotive industry going into 2010.

Published: 02-Jan-2010

Eventually, historians will write that the past decade was one of the most tumultuous and significant eras in the auto industry.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; the roller-coaster of fuel prices; the public's growing environmental and road safety awareness; the rise of the Chinese automakers; the fall of the Detroit Big Three.

It all culminated in the final year of the last decade with one-time U.S. giants General Motors and Chrysler filing for bankruptcy protection and needing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars just to survive.


Toyota Prius with solar panels on roof that provide 165 watts of power per hour, not enough to propel the car more than a couple miles.

Solar Electric Vehicles sells its version of a plug-in Prius, with a solar panel installed, for $25,000.

Solar Millennium's AnderSol-2 solar thermal project in Egypt.

Retrofitting existing power plants is a low-cost option for solar-thermal projects because the steam turbines that are needed come for free.

Professor David Banister

Travel growth in a car-dependent society must be confronted so that people travel less, not more, writes Oxford Professor of Transportation Studies at Oxford University, David Banister.


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