What will happen to the automotive industry in 2018?

At the beginning of the New Year, we asked our resident automotive experts, George Chapman and Andrew Gillingwater, some questions about what they believe will happen to the automotive industry in 2018. Up first is George Chapman's predictions. Read on to see George's thoughts on SUVs, Hypercars and E-Bikes. Check back in a couple of weeks to see what Andrew thinks 2018 has in store for all things automotive...

So George, what are your predictions for the automotive industry in 2018?

  • Overall, I believe there will be a decline in new car sales in the UK, due to Brexit-related uncertainty, a weak pound and rising inflation so it could be a rocky year ahead for automotive brands in 2018.
  • However, I do think 2018 is set to be another bumper year for the crossover/SUV segment as an increasing number of buyers are won over by the need for multi-role versatility and the segment’s impressive range of choice. From jacked-up superminis to full-bore, supercar-baiting monster trucks, I’m confident 2018 will remain within the ‘era of the SUV’. Expect wilder styling, greater personalisation options, improved connectivity and new levels of autonomous driver aids.
  • Despite being cleaner than ever, diesel-powered vehicles will continue to sell in declining numbers and this will largely be due to misguided government legislation. In addition, the petrol engine will enter its last hurrah before the widespread use of hybrid and electric-only options takeover and become more viable in 2019 and into 2020.
  • As a result of the above, the sale of EVs will reach new highs as developments in battery tech and global infrastructure respond to the increasing demand.
  • Finally, I expect car sharing clubs – both private and manufacturer-led – and on-demand, you-drive mobility services to continue to rise as the cost of car ownership in urban areas begins to outway the convenience factor.

What are you most excited about in 2018?

  • 2018 will be the year of the F1-derived hypercar, as we see the AM-RB 001 from Aston Martin (a collaborative project with the Red Bull F1 Team) taking on the Mercedes-AMG Project One. Never before have fee-paying customers had access to roadgoing supercars with such performance capability or visual drama.
  • Being a big fan of two-wheels, I’m pleased to envisage the motorcycle industry continuing to enjoy a period of growth, with an amazing array of bikes due to arrive in 2018. Highlights for me include the hotly-anticipated KTM 790 Duke, Ducati’s V4 Panigale, an affordable range of Royal Enfield twins’ and the brutish Kawasaki  Z900 RS.

What is the most interesting development you’ve seen within the automotive industry recently?

  • The end of 2017 marked the arrival of the ice-cool Alpine A110, a two-seat, mid-engined sports car from the little-known French brand operating under the ownership of Renault. Designed to give the all-conquering Porsche Cayman a run for its money, the lightweight and achingly pretty A110 has received widespread praise from those who have driven it. Keenly priced around £50k and with plans for a one-make race series in the pipeline, Alpine will be a performance brand to watch in the coming years.

Thanks, George! Anything else?

  • Electric-powered bicycles, where a battery-operated motor provides additional forward motion, (also known as E-Bikes) will be massive in the UK in 2018. Offering decent range and affordability, many experts see them as the future of commuting and a viable solution to solving urban congestion. E-Bikes will re-introduce cycling to a whole new audience. I expect London to become E-Bike crazy come the Spring!


Want to read more of George’s opinion on the automotive industry?

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