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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #146 - November 22 - 28, 2019

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

November 29 · Issue #146 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
The Director of UAW Region 5, Vance Pearson, resigned from his post early this week amid the ongoing corruption scandal.
American Center for Mobility COO Mark Chaput is now interim CEO replacing Michael Noblett. Noblett had been brought on in Feb 2019. This is the second abrupt leadership change in two years.
HUMAN CAPITAL
As part of its plan to invest more in electric vehicles, Audi will cut 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025. The move is expected to save the automaker around $6.6B.
Germany’s BMW and labor groups have reached an agreement on cost-saving measures. BMW seeks to cut $13B by 2022.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Automakers expect sales of new energy vehicles in China to rebound in 2020.
LABOR DISPUTE
UAW VP Cindy Estrada reported this week that their talks with FCA have made a lot of progress, but that some difficult issues remain to be solved.
LITIGATION
Grand Rapids, Michigan stamping company, Gill Corp. and Germany’s Benteler Automotive Corp. reached an out-of-court agreement after a breach of contract lawsuit. Gill manufactures parts that Benteler integrates into exhaust system assemblies. The Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Caravan minivans, Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, Ford Mustang and Toyota Corolla, use these assemblies. While Gill is contracted to provide parts until 2038, it also expects to close its Bond Avenue plant in April 2020. Gill is working to transition the work to other suppliers.
Baltimore’s Paice and nonprofit The Abell Foundation have filed suit against BMW. The lawsuit alleges that BMW has infringed on its patents involving hybrid engines.
An antitrust probe in India determined that Tata Steel, SKF, and Schaeffler colluded on the pricing of bearings.
South Korea’s SK Innovation and LG Chem have filled US lawsuits for battery patent infringements. The feuding firms are trying to stop each other from selling batteries in the US. This increases risks to the supply of batteries before an anticipated demand surge.
Ford is recalling over 78K 2019 Ford Rangers in North America due to issues with the taillights. The lights may have misaligned or improperly seated terminals that can cause them to work intermittently or not at all.
FCA is recalling 73K Fiat 500s worldwide due to degraded shift cable bushings on the vehicles. Some bushings can degrade when exposed to heat and humidity and cause the shift cable to separate from the transmission.
Mazda is recalling a series of vehicles with already recalled airbags. The potentially defective replacements are in 117k vehicles in the US.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
FCA and PSA are reportedly set to sign a binding merger agreement in the coming weeks according to internal company communications. If the merger is finalized, it will create the fourth-largest automaker, with a combined value of around $50B.
PLANT OPENING
Hyundai has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the government of Indonesia to build its first manufacturing plant there. The automaker will invest $1.6B into the plant and start production there by the second half of 2021.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
A fire that broke out at Faurecia’s plant in Abrera, Spain, last week affected and halted production at Seat’s vehicle assembly plant in Martorell, Spain. Faurecia supplies dashboards to Seat on a just-in-time basis.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Vehicle production in the United Kingdom fell 4% in October due to weak demand.
REGULATION
China is setting more stringent guidelines to protect patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property. The new guidelines will beef up laws by increasing compensation for infringements, more strictly enforcing existing laws, and lowering the threshold for criminal prosecution of IPR offenses.
Uber has been stripped of its license to operate in London, England, over safety concerns. The organization that oversees the city’s transportation system, Transport for London, said that the ride-sharing company is “not fit and proper” to hold a license as it has not done enough to stop unlicensed and uninsured drivers from transporting riders.
Russia will spend $78M in lending subsidies to counter sluggish car sales.
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