Barring a last-minute reprieve, Carlos Ghosn will be spending the holidays confined to a small cell in the Tokyo Detention Centre, the once high-flying head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance facing a series of financial corruption charges.
While it's hard to imagine many having a rougher end to the year than the Brazilian-born Ghosn, there are more than a few lumps of coal in the stockings for those leading an auto industry facing a potentially rough 2019. Tariffs, rising interest rates, a plunging stock market, layoffs and plant closings are just some of the headaches the industry is facing as 2018 comes to an end.
Not that it's all bad news. Auto sales have actually shown a bit more strength than expected in recent months, raising hopes that a nearly decade-long recovery still has some legs. For the most part, industry earnings also have held strong — even Tesla delivered some surprising black ink during the third quarter. And 2019 could see the industry accelerate the shift into new areas of mobility, including autonomous and electrified vehicles.
Here's a look at how some of the big stories of 2018 could evolve in the new year.