Outlook 07

7 For '07: Phil LeBeau, Autos

By cnbc.com staff

Phil LeBeau, Autos

Dieter Zetsche may be the Manchurian candidate: as the DaimlerChrysler CEO nears a deal to sell small Chinese-made cars under the Chrysler brand, LeBeau predicts it won't be long before those cars are available in the U.S.

Auto Industry Outlook '07

In CNBC's "7 For '07" series, our auto-industry blogger and beat reporter also predicts that General Motors, which is finally back in the black, may find rough going – again – as Toyota Motor churns out SUVs from its new Texas plant and the posh Lexus strengthens its luxury-model position.  He says Toyota will pass Ford Motor in global sales, and Ford – with its bread-and-butter truck lines losing market share – may seek an alliance, maybe even a merger. A possible partner: Chrysler. LeBeau notes industry scuttlebutt that Zetsche may seek a spinoff or sale of the U.S. arm.

Four To Watch In '07