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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #108 - March 1 - 7, 2019

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

March 8 · Issue #108 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Autoliv has named Magnus Jarlegren as executive vice president operations.
HUMAN CAPITAL
Grupo Antolin has laid off over 100 employees at its plant in Kecskemét, Hungary. The dismissals are due to a decline in orders. The plant supplies Mercedes Benz with carpet, doors and carrier cowlings.
German bearings supplier Schaeffler is planning to cut 900 jobs and shut down plants due to weak demand in Europe and China. CEO Klaus Rosenfeld says that five factories are being considered for closure.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Starting in 2020, Volvo will limit the top speed on all its new vehicles to 112 mph. The automaker says it is taking the step because its researchers have identified speed as a noticeable gap it needs to close to reach its safety target.
Autonomous vehicles will wait for detection systems such as lidar to be mass produced and drop drastically in price. Industry leaders estimate that may “be a five- to 10-year process” for the shakeout and innovation leaps to occur.
LITIGATION
Audi is recalling 75,000 cars and SUVs in the US due to fuel leaks in the engine that could cause fires. Models included in the recall include certain 2016-2018 A6, A7, and Q7 SUVs as well as certain A8 sedans from 2015-2018.
The European Commission is hitting Autoliv and TRW with fines of $212m and $202m, respectively, for setting up an illegal cartel that supplied car safety equipment to VW and BMW in Europe. Japan’s Takata was also part of the conspiracy, but not fined because it was granted immunity for revealing the cartels to the Commission.
Prosecutors in Arizona have decided that Uber cannot be held criminally liable in relation to a March 2018 crash involving one of its self-driving vehicles that killed a pedestrian.
Ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn was released on a $9m bond this week after spending over 100 days in Tokyo’s main jail. Arrested for financial misconduct back in November, Ghosn has emphatically denied the charges.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Tower has sold its European Operations to France’s Financière SNOP Dunois.
Volkswagen has signed the first external partner for its MEB modular platform for EVs. German startup e.GO Mobile will use the automaker’s MEB architecture to build EVs that “complement Volkswagen’s model offering.”
Daimler and BMW are looking to cut costs and set an industry standard by teaming up to develop autonomous driving technology. The automakers hope to set a standard that can help to shape future self-driving car regulations.
PLANT DISASTER
Forbes reports that Tesla’s Fremont, California plant tops the list for safety violation fines.
PLANT OPENING
Mahle will open an engineering, sales and information technology center in Pune, India. The center will develop efficient internal combustion and electric mobility systems.
Visteon has opened a software development center in Timisoara, Romania. The facility will develop systems for driver assistance and autonomous driving.
Germany’s Kassel subsidiary, Hubner Manufacturing will open a plant in Dunlap, Tennessee. The 36k sf plant will produce extruded and molded rubber gaskets and seals.
Penske subsidiary Truck-Lite is moving its headquarters from New York to Southfield, Michigan. Truck-Lite manufactures lighting and visibility systems.
South Korea’s Yongsan is opening its first U.S. facility in Opelika, Alabama. The Hyundai supplier will produce sun visors, and leather trim for seating.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
Citing a slowdown in Chinese demand, Japanese chipmaker Renesas is reportedly planning to halt chip production at six plants in Japan for up to two months this year. 
The last Chevy Cruze rolled off the line this week at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant as the automaker prepares to idle the plant indefinitely. CEO Mary Barra said the fate of the plant would be decided this summer in contract talks with the UAW.
RAW MATERIALS
Starting in 2020, Volkswagen will begin recycling used automotive lithium-ion battery packs at a plant in Salzgitter, Germany. The plant will be able to process about 1,200 tons of spent batteries per year.
REGULATION
In a purported late February conference call, the White House issued a message to automakers: back the administration’s plan to rollback fuel standards or side with California and risk pushback from President Trump.
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