The global economic situation is worrying, but the UK is even worse. Whatever the outcome of the Brexit talks, one cannot get away from the fact that investment in car manufacturing in this country has fallen by 80% in the last three years. And while, to balance the argument, it fell by 50% in the two years before that, you could argue it should have gone up again. I’m not sure that this island of ours is being seen as a good place to invest in at present.

Our industry is fairly unique, in that it is one of the very few products that are produced in large numbers and that are counted accurately (even if there are some pre-registrations in there). When output and investment fall as spectacularly as they have done, we should all take notice.

It was announced this week that Go Vauxhall, the wholly owned subsidiary of the manufacturer, was being absorbed into Robins and Day. They are, of course, a wholly owned PSA subsidiary that represents Peugeot and Citroen. A significant move as the French owned group’s three brands align more closely. We wonder whether we will begin to see triple branded showrooms at some stage, and whether this represents the start of an important trend for the group.

Two widely diverging views of China this week. First of all, SoftBank and their $100 billion Vision Fund, (set up to invest in technology companies all over the globe) is set to invest heavily in Guazi, which is one of China’s largest used-car trading sites. The company is only five years old and is already valued at $8.5 billion. With the slowdown in new car sales in the Chinese market, peer-to-peer selling of used cars is seen as the next big thing. And Vision Fund wants to be right at the forefront of this investment.

This contrasts sharply with Ford’s experience this week which has seen its ambitious Chinese joint venture suffering a 54% fall in sales over the past year. Not surprisingly, US products are proving quite difficult to move in China at the moment with the ongoing trade war.

Have a great weekend, don’t forget to pack your Arctic clothing.

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Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then–we elected them.
Lily Tomlin (1939 – )
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Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898)
Success didn’t spoil me, I’ve always been insufferable.
Fran Lebowitz (1950 – )

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