Next year will likely be another banner one for the U.S. auto industry. While SUVs and pickup trucks will likely continue to be the top sellers, automakers are expected to bring more "fun" cars into showrooms in the coming year.
According to MotorWeek's John Davis, "I like the fact that the market is good enough that we're starting to bring convertibles back and starting to have fun again with cars. We were too serious for way too long."
Mercedes Benz, Fiat and Range Rover all launched convertibles at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Fiat will bring the 124 Spider back to U.S. shores next year. The new model has a shared chassis with the Mazda Miata but has an Italian engine. Davis said the two-door convertible may not be a volume leader for Fiat, but it will likely bring the automaker some increased visibility.
The Evoque is Jaguar Land Rover's first foray into building a convertible SUV. With safety top of mind, the Evoque has cross bars that pop up within a tenth of a second if it senses a rollover accident is about to occur. The sleekest convertible is the hardtop 2017 SL Roadster from Mercedes Benz which will likely come with a six-figure price tag.
While convertibles may have stolen the limelight, several automakers, including Cadillac and Infiniti, launched SUVs. Cadillac unveiled the new luxury XT5 and Infiniti brought a racy look to the compact SUV.
Davis said that even cars with lower price points are now packed with technology. "You've got the Honda (HMC - Get Report) Civic coupe, you've got the new Buick Lacrosse, you've got the new Hyundai Elantra, a car that I'm enamored with because they took a bread and butter nice looking compact sedan and made it look a little more mature," he said.
So which automakers will be the winners in 2016 if sales continue at a brisk pace? "I look at full-line manufacturers like Ford (F - Get Report) , GM (GM - Get Report) and Chrysler, all doing very very well," Davis said. "I think Toyota TM is in a prime position to do extremely well, and I think we're going to continue to see this battle between the three Germans, Mercedes, BMW and Audi that keep trying to one-up themselves."