Industry leaders predictions for '08; Lutz angrier than ever

Between top X lists and hastily written end-of-the-year musings, the final day of 2007 is looking a lot like last year's run of retrospectives. Although some of the stories are different, many of the players have remained the same, so Tom Walsh from the Freep shot out a dozen emails to some of the leaders in his home state to get their predictions and hopes for the New Year.
The General's CEO, Rick Wagoner, echoes the sentiments of many in the auto industry, with hopes that the housing crisis is resolved post haste, while Ford's Mark Fields wishes that "we don't continually talk ourselves into a recession in 2008." Fields either wants to see or is predicting that "cars and crossovers will outsell trucks and SUVs for the first time in many years" and with gas prices holding steady at their current rates, that's a distinct possibility.

Both execs hope that comprehensive reform of the United States' energy policy takes effect, but the every quotable Bob Lutz takes the curmudgeon cake, saying, "Now that we have the 35 miles-per-gallon fuel economy mandate by 2020, I am hoping that in 2008 'Professor Doktor' David Friedman (research director, clean vehicles program, Union of Concerned Scientists) and his 'highly-qualified' band of allegedly concerned, self-proclaimed scientists will turn their energy toward showing the world's automotive industry exactly how those numbers, using existing technology and 'costs of a few hundred dollars at the most' can be attained with a vehicle selection that even remotely resembles the cars and trucks Americans want to buy today."

While on the cusp of another year, it's nice to know that some things will never change.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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