Autocar - 21 September 2011

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Up front jim.holder@autocar.co.uk twitter.com/jim_holder

To keep your eye on the prize, look to the future

CAR COMPANIES DON’T tend to dwell on the here and now for too long. They prefer instead to look five to 10 years ahead.

So while the majority were focusing on growing fears of another imminent financial meltdown, the Frankfurt motor show was awash with brilliant production and concept cars created by an industry predicting a buoyant, booming future. This optimism is grounded in focused long-term planning. Today, there are 700 million cars on the roads worldwide, but conservative estimates suggest the emergence of new markets such as China and India will boost that to a billion cars by 2020. What’s more, in markets that are more established, there are growing signs that car owners who have held off buying new vehicles are increasingly ready to do so. In the US, for instance, there are 270 million car owners. At the moment, just 10 million a year are replacing them, but time and wear and tear mean that number will inevitably rise. The incentive is clear: a car company that is strong today and is well planned for the future stands to profit. The Frankfurt show gave the best indication yet of which companies those are. Our report starts on p8.

JIM HOLDER EDITOR

THIS WEEK

Issue 5964 | Volume 269 | No 12

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See who does what on p114

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