Tuesday, December 31, 2019

THE ROAD AHEAD by John Crawford

Okay, no resolutions because I find them hard to keep, but here's some predictions for 2020:

1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA's planned merger will go through, but don't be surprised if a few years from now this doesn't also turn out to be just like the Mercedes-Benz & Chrysler 'Merger of Equals', and the FIAT CHRYSLER names gradually disappear from the corporate mantle. The brand names will survive.

2. Nissan is going to end up exactly where it didn't want to be - the VERY JUNIOR party in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, now that Hiroto Saikawa has been replaced by a Nissan executive who hasn't said 'boo' since he was appointed. Now what was his name again?

3. Carlos Ghosn's 'trial' in Japan will come to nothing. Already, we know he has apparently 'skipped bail' and has arrived back in his birth country, Lebanon. However, given he was wearing a security anklet and was under surveillance, something tells me the authorities have blinked, and he has been 'allowed' to leave Japan.

4. In Australia, Holden will be totally re-invented as a small to medium-sized importer, and GM will sell off the management rights for the distribution of its  SUV/truck range to Inchcape plc. Remember I reported that GM had already offered Holden to Groupe PSA; but PSA may eventually have some input into the new operation, because Inchcape plc is the Groupe PSA distributor in Australia.

5. The transition of the sale of masses of electric cars to the ICE-car-owning community will not happen any time soon. For all the hoo-haa from the industry about how quickly it is moving to electrify its ranges of cars, the re-charging infrastructure on a global scale simply cannot support such a rapid growth of cars. There isn't a single, developed country in the world today which could cope with masses of electric cars. In addition, battery technology (whilst much improved) is still not able to compete with the dense-energy component of petrol/diesel powered engines.

6. To add to that, renewable energy is still, and won't be able for a long time, to generate any more than roughly 5% of a base load. Not only that, and this is aimed squarely at the Greens, the breakup and recycling of old, out-of-use windfarms, plus the recycling of 'dead' solar panels will be an environmental cleanup nightmare.

7. Despite my early objections, I now believe the only solution to large scale energy generation for the future will be from modern nuclear plants.

Regardless of my dire outburst, I hope you have a happy, challenging but satisfying, and healthy New Year.

JOHN CRAWFORD

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