In the beginning, there were the Big Three automakers-General Motors, Ford and Chrysler-igniting trends, energizing economies, influencing policy. They were later downgraded to the Detroit Three, after GM and Chrysler accepted billions in federal bailout money in 2009 and Chrysler sold the bulk of its assets to Italian automaker Fiat SpA. As car companies become increasingly globalized in a new era dubbed the Medium Six, with Toyota, Honda and Nissan joining the mix, will another trio of industrial titans emerge from the wreckage? Absolutely, according to Jagdish Sheth, a chaired professor of marketing at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. Sheth, an auto industry consultant and international marketing authority, co-authored The Rule of Three: Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets, which observes that in any mature industry three big companies will dominate, with others serving as niche players or effectively sidelined.

In this podcast installment, Sheth discusses with Knowledge@Emory the long-term viability of the Detroit Three as automakers shift operations to Asia, plot the next generation of hybrid vehicles, and encourage more Internet-based and national auto dealers. Sheth predicts that one day soon, buying a car may be as quick and painless as ordering an iPod.

To hear the entire interview, please click here.

(Be sure to click on audio tab and select no. 7)