When it comes to urban mobility, the stand-on electric scooter is vying to be a part of the picture, via an asset-sharing business model. I remember the push powered ones as a kid; quite a fun way to complete short distances, perhaps. Will they have staying power and translate to urban environments beyond places like California? Clearly, some operating environments are more scooter friendly than others, but maybe a market niche will be created that is sustainable in some places. The choices for first- and last-mile mobility continue to grow and car companies realise that they can't ignore changes to the way we move around urban areas - even if, perhaps especially if, the motor vehicle's part or share in the whole picture is impacted.
Ford has dived in to purchase scooter company Spin.
We have also just published analysis of Ford's product strategy - vehicles that is, not scooters or bicycles. While Ford is getting out of conventional cars in the US - and piling into SUVs and trucks - that's definitely not the picture around the world. Horses for courses. For all the talk of a global market for consumer goods, including cars, there are still big differences between what consumers buy in London, Detroit, Shanghai and Tokyo. Car markets may have got closer, but they are far from identical in terms of segmentation and road vehicle operating conditions. I like the new Ford Focus, but I can see why it's not exactly a priority to offer it in a US market that continues to shift towards trucks. That said, there is still money to be made for some in the traditional car segments...
Future plans show Ford isn't exiting cars
ANALYSIS - Future Ford SUVs and pick-ups
We have had some more market numbers to pore over this week, including the US light vehicle market
, Western Europe's car market
and the ASEAN
. There are still encouraging numbers for the industry in some places. Today we learnt that the Chinese market is continuing to show decline - something that will be of concern to many in the industry who have become dependent on growing sales in the world's largest vehicle market.
China vehicle sales fall 12% in October
If we're looking a long way out to the future, Africa is a continent with plenty of demand potential. Nissan is an OEM notable for its strategy to explore opportunities in what might be termed 'next wave' emerging markets (definitely jam tomorrow, not today, in places like Myanmar
). And now, there is an opportunity being explored in Ghana
Nearer to home, Brexit continues to be high up in the news bulletins. A deal between the UK government and the EU is still not done and time is running out to get everything in place for an 'orderly' UK exit in March of next year. Company investment plans are being put on hold or changed as risk assessments and risk mitigation strategies are adjusted and the calendar shows time running out. German components supplier Schaeffler admitted that Brexit was a factor in its decision to close two UK plants
Schaeffler hints at Brexit as two UK sites due to close
Jaguar Land Rover is among the UK companies that have warned of the potentially highly adverse consequences of a so-called 'no-deal' Brexit. It also has a manufacturing facility coming on stream in Slovakia which will be making all Land Rover Discoverys from next year. Intriguing then, to see that it is stepping up efforts to develop supply lines in Eastern Europe.
Jaguar opening supplier liaison office in Hungary
Last week also brought news of Michelin shutting a tyre plant in Scotland
, Renault LCV investments in France
and a very big investment by Bosch
in a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Dresden.
Until next time...
Brexit concerns persist for the auto sector
The UK is leaving the EU in March 2019. Negotiations on the terms of the UK's exit from the bloc have yet to reach a conclusion. Automotive manufacturers are keen to maintain frictionless trading arrangements.