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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #141 - October 18 - 24, 2019

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

October 25 · Issue #141 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Hyundai America’s marketing chief, Dean Evans, is stepping down from the automaker to pursue a new opportunity. Hyundai America has named Angela Zepeda from the Innocean agency as Evans’ successor.
EARNING DIP
Mexican auto supplier Nemak says that the UAW-GM strike has cut their production of engine blocks by about 400k units and may cost the company $8m-$12m. Nemak suspended production and shipments to GM from the start of the strike on Sept 16.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Honda announced this week that it would only sell electric and hybrid vehicles in Europe starting in 2022. Honda senior VP Tom Gardner said that the “…change in regulation, the market, and consumer behavior in Europe means that the shift towards electrification is happening faster here than anywhere else”.
Penske launched its new car-sharing service, Penske Dash, this week in Washington, DC, and Arlington, Virginia.
LITIGATION
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against Tesla in Florida is alleging that futuristic door handles on the Model S led to a man dying in a vehicle fire after a crash. The suit alleges that a police officer couldn’t open the vehicle’s doors because the handles were retracted.
Lawyers for embattled former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn are petitioning a Tokyo court to dismiss his charges, arguing that he is innocent and that prosecutors violated his rights by collecting evidence illegally and conspiring with Nissan. They also say that prosecutors engaged in unfair bias by charging Ghosn, who is non-Japanese, while ignoring admitted wrongdoing by other Japanese Nissan executives.
Subaru will recall over 400k cars in the US over problems with engine computers and debris that can fill into the motors. The recall covers some 2017 Imprezas and some 2018 and 2019 Crosstreks.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Chinese automaker Zotye says it’s signed dealers in 100 US markets so far and is ahead of schedule with its US launch plans. The company is hoping to find dealers in 250 markets by launch.
Bloomberg reports that Nissan is looking to sell factories in the UK and Spain.
PLANT CLOSING
Electronic component maker Molex is closing its factory in Shannon, Ireland, by the end of next year. The closure will result in a loss of 500 jobs at the facility.
PLANT DISASTER
Workers evacuated a chemical plant operated by Zschimmer & Schwarz in Milledgeville, Georgia, after a fire broke out earlier this week. Zschimmer & Schwarz manufactures chemical auxiliaries and specialties for cosmetics, clothing, construction, paints, and varnishes and automotive products.
PLANT EXPANSION
Germany’s IFA will expand its Charleston, South Carolina facility to 487k sf. It will consolidate the Ladson, South Carolina location into the larger space.
Sekisui Chemical is adding a new production line to produce interlayer films at its facility in Roermond, the Netherlands. An additional plant for thermal management materials will break ground next year.
PLANT OPENING
Magna International has launched the production of electric drive systems at its new plant in Shanghai, China. The 710k sf plant will produce drive systems for Volkswagen’s next-gen EVs built in Europe and China.
Fiat Chrysler is investing $56m into a new battery assembly complex in its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. The investment is part of the automaker’s plan to spend $5.5b in Italy between 2019-2021 to launch its EV and hybrid models.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
Subaru suspended operation at its Gunma factory due to parts shortage. Typhoon Hagibis flooded many of Subaru’s suppliers in the region. The company aims to resume production on Oct 25.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Amid a continuing decline in its new-vehicle market, auto production capacity utilization in China has slipped by 3.5% from a year earlier to 71.6% in the third quarter. For the first nine months of the year, capacity utilization dropped 3.8% from a previous year to 76.8%.
RAW MATERIALS
Rio Tinto Group has started pilot production of lithium in California and will consider an expansion to become the top domestic supplier in the US for the material. The lithium is being produced from reprocessed waste piles and doesn’t require further mining.
REGULATION
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said this week that the agency’s new CO2 emissions guidelines might be more restrictive than Obama-era regulations in that they will eliminate “off-ramps” that make it easier for automakers to comply. He added that the final proposal would differ from the one announced last August, but declined to offer more details.
The deadline for passing the USMCA this year is approaching quickly. ForeignPolicy.com covers the latest.
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