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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #116 - April 19 - May 2, 2019

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

May 3 · Issue #116 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Cian O'Brien, the former COO, will become interim president of Audi of America replacing Mark Del Rosso, effective immediately.
Amid a 39% drop in sales, FCA has named Massimiliano Trantini as its new president of sales at their joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile. He is replacing Daphne Zheng, who left FCA after serving in the position since 2015.
EARNING DIP
Daimler has reported an earnings dip of 37% for Q1 2019 as a result of a 7% drop in Mercedes-Benz vehicle sales worldwide. 
Seating and electronics supplier Lear has reported a 35% drop in net income for Q1 2019 compared to last year. Lear says that reduced earnings are due to production declines and downtime at their customers’ vehicle assembly plants.
Chinese automaker SAIC’s net profit dropped 15% for Q1 2019 compared to last year. The decline is attributed to lower sales at SAIC’s JVs with GM and Volkswagen.
HUMAN CAPITAL
Following its closure of several plants in North America, GM has reaffirmed its commitment to finding jobs for the 2,800 hourly workers who were laid off.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
IHS Markit expects China to step up commercialization of fuel-cell vehicles. Increased targets will lead to faster investment in infrastructure.
Jaguar Land Rover is developing “smart wallet” technology for its cars that would reward drivers with IOTA cryptocurrency coins for providing vehicle data or participating in ride-sharing programs. The automaker is currently testing the tech in Ireland and does not yet have an estimate for when it could be commercially available.
LITIGATION
LG Chem has sued SK Innovation for allegedly stealing trade secrets. LG employees hired away by SK may have helped SK develop automotive pouch-style batteries.
The US Justice Dept. has opened a criminal investigation into Ford’s emissions certification process. The automaker says it will fully comply and is conducting its internal review.
A class-action lawsuit filed in California accuses Honda of knowingly selling 2018-19 Odyssey minivan and 2019 Pilot crossovers with defective infotainment systems. Affected owners say that the infotainment systems frequently freeze or crash and that the automaker refuses to fix the problem.
It has all the makings of a movie: lost contracts, disgruntled employees, stolen Lamborghini casting molds, and plant closures.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
FCA has completed the sale of its Magneti Marelli parts unit to Calsonic Kansei for $6.5b. 
Germany and France have sent letters of intent asking the European Union to approve state subsidies for a new cross-border battery cell consortium. Companies involved are PSA Group, Opel, and Total’s Saft.
Bosch has partnered with Powercell Sweden to develop polymer-electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
FCA is partnering with Google and Samsung to develop new connected car technology that will be in all of its vehicles by 2022. The system will be based on Google’s Android OS and will allow FCA to offer a universal system worldwide.
PLANT EXPANSION
GM is reportedly in talks for a significant expansion at its Wentzville Assembly Center.
PLANT OPENING
Electrical power and signal distribution components supplier Royal Power Solutions has opened a new plant in Queretaro, Mexico. The plant started production in February and is making automotive battery terminal systems, molded plastic covers and studded eyelets.
REGULATION
SUPPLY CHAIN
The US is lagging behind China in terms of its production of raw materials used in EV batteries. A meeting between government officials, automakers, mining companies and consultants this week aims to discuss the need for streamlining the US permit process for new projects.
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