At CarAdvice / Drive, we're in for a massive year - where we'll see the launch of the new Drive.com.au platform and a coming together of our two great mastheads. What's more, we will shortly announce the details of the 2021 Drive Car of the Year program, so make sure you stay tuned for that!
Looking further than our own backyard though, we asked the CarAdvice / Drive team what they see in the tea-leaves for the next 12-months...
Trent Nikolic, Managing Editor
I think we'll start to see more and more electric vehicles taken up by more and more Australians, but that thought simply triggers more questions.
Will we see infrastructure rolled out to cope? And who will pay for that infrastructure?
Will we see a national rationalisation of electric vehicle tariffs, or will the silly, state-based schemes continue?
Which service station network will be the first to actually wake up, and add fast chargers into their forecourts around the country?
Finally, will hydrogen start to catch electric propulsion in terms of development pace?
Rob Margeit, Culture and Lifestyle Editor
New car sales will start to recover, albeit slowly while the used car market will continue its strong COVID-led surge.
In a surprise to no one, dual-cab utes and SUVs of all shapes and sizes will continue to sell in numbers that make lovers of station wagons and sedans wring their hands in despair, mine included.
Susannah Guthrie, Journalist
My key prediction is that we will see more and more high-riding wagon concepts from manufacturers as the novelty of constantly reimagining the pick-up and SUV wears off.
Whacky, statement doors will also make a return, although with a strong safety focus – spearheaded by the return of rear-hinged 'suicide doors' on Mazda's MX-30 (but this time with a five-star Euro NCAP rating).
Just as VW Group is attempting to do with its Mission T to take on Tesla, we will see more manufacturers create break-out, decentralised arms tasked with competing with challenger brands – like mini start-ups within massive conglomerates. Expect even the Germans to get a little bit Silicon Valley with it.
As a hangover from the drudgeries of 2020, bright colours will shift back toward muted, camouflage-like shades such as forest greens, mushroom greys and taupe-y browns.
More of a wishlist request than a prediction – car companies will stop replacing white dudes in leadership positions with more white dudes in leadership positions and get some more fresh, young, hungry and creative talent in executive roles.
Kez Casey, Senior Road Tester
2021 will see the great market split, though it may only mark the beginning of the rift. On one side brands will be putting forward their best last-gasp internal combustion efforts with the GR Yaris already here, and a new Subaru BRZ and Nissan 400Z to hit the roads.
For drivers less keen on outright bravado, but still looking for driving joy, the rear-wheel-drive Mazda 6, powered by a new inline-six, holds plenty of promise.
As much as 2021 will be the year of the driver's car, it could also be the year electric vehicles move from high-priced novelty to full-fledged mainstream. Tesla has made the first move with the Model 3, but Toyota is poised to strike a blow with its first electric SUV. Nothing could be more mainstream.
At the same time, in Australia, Hyundai is preparing to roll out hybrid SUVs, finally offering a challenger where Nissan and Honda have barely made an impact. Electrification, for commuting, and open road thrills for the weekend, here we come.
Sam Purcell, Off-Road Editor
My prediction is: More utes!
While the Isuzu D-Max has certainly stolen the limelight for a big chunk of the last few months, it's going to face up to newer, more advanced competition throughout 2021. And as international travel stays on the nose, buyers will continue to snap up jack-of-all-trades 4X4 utes that can travel, tow and tour their way around the country.
Along with the constant improvements to safety and refinement, future utes will also pack more features and tech for off-roading: suspension, tyres, driving aids and locking differentials as they all compete to be top-dog in the segment.
And they're getting bigger as well: American-sized rigs will increase their market share, and the lines between ute and so-called 'truck' will blur even further. RIP shopping centre carparks.
Ben Zachariah, Journalist
We've already seen the beginnings of it, but the electric revolution will really take hold in 2021.
Diesel-powered passenger cars will be quietly pulled from model line-ups, with even more proclamations by manufacturers about the switch to electric and hydrogen-electric powertrains. Every new and updated premium vehicle will be offered with PM2.5 air filtration and ionisation.
It's also very possible we'll see at least one car manufacturer depart the crowded and highly-competitive Australian market, as the financial pressures of the COVID-19 fallout, coupled with the stringent demands of our local design rules forces cost-cutting.
Australia may also announce a future move to stricter vehicle emissions regulations – though it could be considered an empty gesture, with all of the major car makers already exceeding European laws.
Emma Notafrancesco, Journalist
The beginning of 2021 will continue to show strong sales in the SUV and passenger and cab utes segments.
While people may want to reward themselves after a challenging year, this may not go as far as spending on luxury brands so we might not see much growth in that part of the market.
Despite high demand for some cars, vehicle supply will remain an issue at the beginning of 2021 following factory shutdowns, border closures and lockdowns.
Even though the government is behind in providing incentives or infrastructure, there should be a surge in the EV's with more manufacturers jumping into the segment and some exciting cars due to launch next year.
Simon Halfhide, CFO
With the widescale launch of 5G, I feel that self-driving / autonomous car technology will take a significant step towards a broader consumer reality, with connected safety features the first element of the technology to be released in new cars.
Mat McNay, National Sales Director
Lucy McLennan, Sales Manager
I am forecasting that 2021 is going to smash Australian new car sales records, and there will be 1.2 million new cars sold.
Con Lagos, National Dealer Director
Used car prices will continue to remain strong due to a shortage of new cars being supplied in the market for the first half of the year.
Ryan Golla, Digital Campaign Manager
I think 2021 we will see a lot more electric vehicles in the market, which will become increasingly tech-focused for 2021.
It would be great to see broader take-up of tech features like cameras instead of side/rearview mirrors (like in the Audi e-tron), solar-powered roofs to automatically circulate air in your hot car, or even wiper-free windscreens like McLaren were developing at one stage.
Douglas Ferguson, Digital Campaign Manager
Mazda will once again tease its RX-9/Vision concepts but offer no further news on the development. The launch of the inline-six variant of the Mazda 6 will have fans continued to be disappointed that they're not bringing back the MPS.
Realising the success of the GR Yaris, Toyota will announce the GR Corolla. Only 500 will be made and they will sell out immediately.
The waitlist for the Suzuki Jimny will continue to get longer, and longer, and longer. Used prices will only continue to skyrocket
James Ward, Director of Content
As many others have said, 2021 will bring broader electric vehicle take up, and I think we'll see the first EV at a sub $40k price point.
I also think that sales, particularly in the family SUV and off-road categories, will boom as the great Australian road trip gathers momentum.
However, I do expect that we'll see at least one (perhaps more) brand leave our market.
What are your thoughts on 2021?
Let us know what you think we'll see both here and overseas.