Manufacturers have become so good at making millions of highly reliable vehicles that the world is awash in them. And this was true before the recent financial melt down, and is still before China begins producing and exporting decent vehicles (only a matter of time).
Not only are there way too many new cars coming on the market, but since cars a few years old are still incredibly useful, new cars must compete with these used cars too.
With so many manufacturers, in so many places, competing for so few buyers armed with so much information, we are approaching infinite automotive competition.
What does this mean? Great deals for consumers. Brutal business conditions for auto makers with no end EVER in sight. Vehicles are truly a commodity, with a vast over-supply. Only the strong will survive.
Manufacturers will have to clearly focus on one or at most two of the following: product, price, or service. No one can win in all three for any given brand.
A good time to be a consumer. A very bad time to be in the auto business.