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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #109 - March 8 - 14, 2019

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

March 15 · Issue #109 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Current Mazda Europe CEO Jeff Guyton has been named the president of Mazda’s North American operations. Current president and CEO Masahiro Moro will now be chairman and CEO.
Nissan has appointed Jose Valls as its new chairman for North America just three months after promoting him to vice chairman. He is replacing Denis Le Vot, who will return to Renault after only 14 months in the US.
Mitsubishi COO Trevor Mann and head of product Vincent Cobee are both leaving the automaker in April. The departures are the latest in a flurry of departures following ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest.
EARNING DIP
PSA Group’s Chinese JV with Dongfeng lost nearly $552m in 2018 due to falling sales. The loss is eight times larger than the JV’s loss of $69m in 2017.
HUMAN CAPITAL
VW will reduce its workforce by 7,000 in an attempt to raise the operating margin to 6%. The company will rely on early retirement and not filling positions to shrink the workforce.
GM’s self-driving subsidiary Cruise is planning to double its workforce by the end of the year. The company plans to add 1,000 jobs ahead of launching its robotaxi service by the end of 2019.
GM is eliminating about 180 jobs at two facilities in Michigan and Ohio as part of its ongoing reorganization efforts. Pontiac Metal Center in Pontiac, Michigan will cut 80 jobs. A processing center in West Chester, Ohio will close on May 31, cutting an additional 100.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Focusing on carbon emissions, Japan looks to be the first “hydrogen society.” Its dense urban areas without garages or regular parking spaces make fuel cells more convenient than plug-in electric.
LABOR DISPUTE
The UAW met ahead of contract negotiations that will begin this summer. Contracts for over 150k workers at GM, FCA, and Ford expire September 15, 2019.
LITIGATION
Honda and Acura recalled around 1.2m vehicles in North America for the second time to re-replace defective Takata driver’s side airbags. The recall covers 1.1m cars in the US with another 100,000 recalled in Canada, Mexico, and Central America.
FCA recalled nearly 965,000 older vehicles that do not meet US and Canadian emissions standards. The EPA says it will continue investigating other FCA vehicles for potential non-compliance.
FCA recalled 60,000 Alfa Romeo cars and SUVs worldwide over a problem with the adaptive cruise control system. The automaker says a software error can cause the cruise control to keep working even if the driver taps the brakes.
Amidst struggling sales in Europe and China, Jaguar Land Rover is facing the recall of tens of thousands of vehicles in Europe due to high CO2 emissions. The recall involves diesel vehicles made between 2014 and 2018.
Elon Musk is being sued by Tesla investors once again over his “repeated misstatements” on Twitter. The lawsuit filed in Delaware is seeking to permanently block Musk from the “…use of Twitter to make inaccurate statements about the company”. 
PLANT DISASTER
A man died in an industrial accident at Powertech America in West Point, Georgia. The plant, owned by Hyundai Powertech, supplies transmissions to the nearby Kia Motors Manufacturing.
PLANT EXPANSION
Toyota is investing $749m into the expansion of five U.S. plants. The development will add 586 jobs, increase engine production and support the creation of new hybrid models.
Schaeffler will expand its Wooster, Ohio transmission plant. The plant will transition from combustion to electric vehicle transmissions.
PLANT OPENING
Tariffs and an increase in automotive steel consumption are driving investments in steel mills.
RAW MATERIALS
FCA’s catalytic converter recall could exacerbate existing shortages in palladium.
REGULATION
U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer says that the U.S. is working to lift tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum imports while still preserving the gains that domestic producers have received so far. 
SUPPLY CHAIN
China’s customs authority lifted the suspension on imports of Tesla’s Model 3 after the automaker made the required rectifications. Customs had stopped clearing Model 3’s last week, saying that they did not have the necessary Chinese language warning signs and nameplate labels.
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