Well, we’ve started the new year, and that on the back of a record year for the motor importers, both new and used. Certainly better than I forecast at the beginning of last year – for which I’m grateful – but perhaps I’m being given a sign that it’s time to put my crystal ball back into the cupboard.
It is hard to work out what the market is going to do this year, with no signs of any abatement in vehicle sales, with the exception of the heavy industry.
This latter segment is normally a good indicator of economic progress, but since it was skewed upwards somewhat by companies buying up to deal with the Christchurch earthquake damage, an easing back is to be both expected and acceptable.
One area where I’m stymied for this year is the growth of pure electric vehicles. There has been some movement in this area, and more importers are bringing the vehicles in, but without some sort of meaningful government incentive growth is likely to be slow as the total cost of ownership figures don’t really make sense even with low running costs, thanks to the high initial purchase price of the vehicles.
However, these will no doubt come down as demand increases, and the good news is that there’s constant growth in the roadside charging infrastructure to assure people they’re going to be able to get to their destination!
Two other things to think about. On autonomous cars: although massive advances have been made, I believe it will be a while before a computer can reliably replicate all the myriad decisions a human makes while driving a car, and the vehicle can be allowed to have complete control.
Global warming? While I believe in climate change, there are too many people, often quite unsavoury characters, jumping on the bandwagon for me to get to grips with it.
Fact is, no-one can predict the future, and computer modelling is only as good as the data that’s being fed in. If you look at dire predictions made 10 to 15 years ago, well, none of them have happened, leading me to believe we need a lot more information before we can work out what MIGHT happen.
And that’s what makes the future look a lot brighter than the doom and gloom merchants would have us believe.
Happy New Year!