Let me start with some light in the gloom of COVID-19 decimated vehicle markets. Hang on to your seats. New vehicle sales in China奇迹彩票官方网站 rose by almost 12% year-on-year to 2.14m units in May, according to preliminary data released by the China奇迹彩票官方网站 Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Yes, that's right: 12% up. This was the second consecutive monthly rise for the Chinese vehicle market as it rebounded from sharp declines in the first quarter due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
A return to growth in the world’s largest vehicle market will boost confidence in the auto industry generally. China奇迹彩票官方网站 was first into the COVID-19 crisis and first out of it, so developments in China奇迹彩票官方网站’s economy are being watched very closely and China奇迹彩票官方网站’s return to growth is a portent of what should happen in other markets later this year as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
CAAM data shows China奇迹彩票官方网站 sales rose 12% in May
The May numbers for some other markets also showed a little promise - still well down of course, but not as bad as April and a little better than we expected.
COMMENT - May market numbers exceed expectations
West European car market down 57.3% in May
There are rumours that Elon Musk is considering a manufacturing (or perhaps more accurately, assembly) site in the UK - which appeared to lose out to Berlin on Gigafactory 4 last year. Well, Tesla's Model 3 was the top seller in the UK's severely depleted May market, so maybe Elon sees a big opportunity ahead in Britain (while also hedging against import tariff and currency risks).
Dealerships have re-opened in much of the country奇迹彩票官网, so it will be very interesting to see how the UK's June market comes in and also where demand eventually settles after an initial pent-up sales surge.
Something else that has caught my eye is the developing collaboration between Daimler and Volvo Group in hydrogen fuel cells for heavy commercial vehicles. When it comes to electrification for heavy duty vehicles traveling long distances, hydrogen offers a big potential weight saving over the batteries used for light battery electric vehicles. We're still a long way and a lot of investment away from results, but the two companies seem very serious about making a start and getting the right people and structures in place.
Daimler Truck establishes new fuel cell company
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Until next time...