We think 750,000 (units) is the best prediction based on today's fuel prices. I think we may maintain our volume at other people's expense, even if the segment shrinks a little bit.
Fuel prices would have to go to European levels for that to happen. If it stays (in the $3 to $4 per gallon range) it will result in some market shift. It has to.
For Toyota, it was a huge, huge, immeasurably valuable PR coup, ... was a mistake from one aspect, and that's public relations and catering to the environmental movement.
It is realistic to assume the segment won't grow.
People are still going to buy full-sized sport-utilities at $3 a gallon. But even at $3 a gallon, it's 750,000 people a year. It's not going to go to a million.
If U.S. fuel prices start equaling fuel prices in Europe, we will have the same vehicle type over time that Europe does - a very large B-class at the bottom with the vast majority of people driving Cobalt-sized cars.
The problem was right there before us all along. It was so easy to see, once we decided to look. It's not rocket science.
There used to be a view expressed: 'Hey, let's just make these cars. Nobody cares about them. Nobody cares whether they are bad or good. It's for the people who can't afford anything better, and price is the only thing that counts.'
I think the American industry has stopped considering (small cars) as commodity vehicles.