Gazing into our crystal balls for predictions for the coming year
Weâ€™ve learned to take predictions with enough salt to bury a salt pan. So here are our foolishly bold predictions for the coming motoring year, with one overriding prediction â€“ some of these will come true, some of them wonâ€™t. But weâ€™re hoping that by the end of the year youâ€™ll have forgotten the ones we got wrongâ€¦
The death of diesel
This is one of those situations where emotion is going to trump logic and those tiresome fact things. Emotion helped along by a government that doesnâ€™t seem to really understand whatâ€™s happening either. Diesels should be part of the mix, particularly as they are perfect for some applications and the latest models are remarkably clean. But tax changes and public sentiment will probably do for the oil burners in 2018.
An SUV will set a lap record at the Nurburgring
This year Lamborghini will unveil its latest SUV, the Urus. Combine this fact with the companyâ€™s habit of setting lap records at the Nurburgring and you have the distinct possibility that the SUV will be tuned and fettled to set a time that, by normal SUV standards, will be insane. Cue other manufacturers queuing up to throw their top-heavy SUVs at the 14 twisting miles of challenging German circuit. BMW X5 M, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk â€“ how will they resist?
Many people will buy vehicles unseen
As buying online has spread to everything from your weekly shop to your preferred sexual activity, expect this to filter through into the tricky market of used cars. Most people donâ€™t want to go and visit some geezer in Deptford whoâ€™s selling privately, nor do they want to watch a used car salesman slither towards them. Instead they want to do it at armâ€™s length, through one of the many car buying services which will find you the exact car you want and deliver it to your door. Thereâ€™s even a guarantee if you donâ€™t like the car within a week or two.
We canâ€™t predict Elon Musk
Thatâ€™s not much of a prediction is it? But we bet that there will be more outrageous claims about Tesla vehicle performance as well as production figures, claims that just wonâ€™t be borne out by reality â€“ the Tesla 3 is certainly not living up to the claimed production rates at the moment. But having said that we do admire Elon Musk as a man who leads from the front, right in front of the media, and who has changed the game for the entire electric car market.
Tesla will be for sale
Following on from what Elon Musk might do, some are predicting that he will have to sell Tesla this year. There are signs mounting that the company has problems in several areas, including quality control and production efficiency while even Teslaâ€™s deep pockets may squeal at the costs of joining the big boys. Some analysts think the company will run out of money this year and may be vulnerable to a takeover â€“ VW Group perhaps, or even Apple?
Bangers are back
With so many people having the 1 per cent money to ponce about in supercars or luxury SUVs, and with so many others buying on PCP to get a shiny new car, the time is right for a banger revolution. Weâ€™ve noticed people smiling adoringly at old and tatty examples of an Austin Montego, a Peugeot 205s with rags instead of seat covers, even a Mk3 Vauxhall Cavalier. This is just the automotive equivalent of it being cool to wear a tatty old ratting coat instead of a brand new squeaky jacket.
Maserati will falter
The Italian brand has always played second best to Ferrari, but it is not doing well at the moment. The old Granturismo needs replacing fast, but the replacement Alfieri has still not appeared, and the Levante, the SUV to solve its problems, has sold so slowly that the factory has halted production for the moment. Can it come back? We hear rumours of a second SUV. Add in a decent saloon and Maserati could be back if it can find the money. Or it may go bang.
Graham â€˜mysticâ€™ Scott