(… and it might break our website)
The most highly anticipated car of the century? Probably. If there’s one car that will make our website break, from sheer number of readers, it’s the Defender. Lucky we’ve got a powerful website, then… Jim Holder
Car makers will co-operate more
It wasn’t so long ago that marques that were owned by the same company couldn’t fathom ways to work together (we’re talking about you, Saab), overlooking the potential to save tens of millions in development costs by sharing know-how internally.
Now, though, it’s all the rage for marques that aren’t even owned by the same company to work together, be it PSA and BMW, BMW and Toyota, Renault, Nissan and Mercedes, Mazda and Fiat, Audi and Hyundai, or Ford and Volkswagen.
Expect to see this trend intensify as car makers face up to the challenges (and costs) of developing hybrid, electric and hydrogen powertrains at the same time as investing in connectivity, autonomy and more. Jim Holder
Jaguar Land Rover will make a comeback
Things aren’t brilliant at JLR right now. Which comes as quite a shock. We’re all so used to repeated tales of stellar sales success, especially at Land Rover, that recent news of JLR reverses (sending parent Tata Group’s shares much closer to ‘junk’ status than is comfortable) makes scary, out-of-character reading. But I predict a JLR comeback later in 2019. President Trump seems closer to healing his rift over tariffs with the Chinese that has cost JLR “thousands” of car sales there. The current web of uncertainty over Brexit must surely reach a firmer basis by March – even if there will undoubtedly be lingering problems to solve – and (as Autocar readers will be well aware) both Jaguar and Land Rover are known to have a series of enticing, rule-changing cars to launch this year and next.
Meanwhile, JLR’s full-steam expansion of its Gaydon HQ, which is creating a home for no fewer than 12,000 engineers, continues to speak loudly of long-term company confidence. Most importantly, the people behind the recent explosive expansion of JLR’s business are still on the job (their ranks augmented by others of similar skill), so it’s difficult to see why they won’t build an impressive recovery – and soon. Steve Cropley
We’ll learn more about Ineos and Ford’s Bridgend plant
This year should see the emergence of more detail about ‘Projekt Grenadier’, the rugged 4×4 that British chemical company Ineos plans to sell in 2021 as a spiritual successor to the discontinued Land Rover Defender.