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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #166 - April 10 - 16, 2020

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

April 17 · Issue #166 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING PLANT CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN
THE AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING PLANT CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN
CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Jim Farley, Ford’s COO, is reorganizing the organizations’ leadership.
Jaguar Land Rover’s North American VP of marketing, Kim McCullough, stepped down from the automaker late last week. JLR CEO Joe Eberhardt will assume her duties for now.
EARNING DIP
Auto sales in China fell 43% in March according to data released late last week. The drop was still less steep than February, which saw a 79% drop due to coronavirus.
Ford’s Q1 sales in China fell by 34.9% compared to Q1 2019. The automaker said that all of its dealers in China had resumed operations.
HUMAN CAPITAL
Honda will furlough several thousand salaried employees and support staff in the US for two weeks. Honda has also furloughed much of its hourly production staff to cut costs.
A dozen Ford workers at a plant in Plymouth, Michigan, are testing social-distancing wristbands that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each other. The wristbands could be used as a tool to fight the spread of coronavirus if the automaker resumes operations as planned next month.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla’s fleet of robotaxis could be ready to hit roads by the end of the year. Musk added that “Regulatory approval is the big unknown.”
LITIGATION
A California court ruled that Tesla must face an investor lawsuit over CEO Elon Musk’s infamous 2018 tweet about taking the EV maker private. Judge Edward Chen said that shareholders had made a strong enough case that Musk made false statements or “…was, at minimum, deliberately reckless when making such public disclosures”.
US self-driving startup Zoox has agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by Tesla that alleged they stole trade secrets. Zoox admitted that four former Tesla employees that it hired were in possession of certain Tesla documents when they joined the company.
FCA recalled over 425k vehicles due to an issue with the windshield wiper arms that causes them to loosen and stop functioning correctly. The affected vehicles are the 2019-20 Jeep Compass and 2019-20 Ram 1500.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
SsangYong is looking for a possible investor to bail it out. The controlling shareholder, Mahindra & Mahindra, stated it would no longer be injecting money into the ailing company, retracting plans announced in January.
Renault is pulling out of its Chinese JV with Dongfeng Motor. The JV only sold 663 vehicles in the first three months of 2020.
Nissan is licensing an advanced technology to APB Corporation that will allow them to mass-produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. APB is planning to set up a plant in Japan to produce the all-polymer cells.
PLANT DISASTER
A contract worker was killed after a tornado struck BorgWarner’s plant in Seneca, South Carolina, early this week. The plant, which supplies transfer cases for AWD and 4WD vehicles, sustained severe damage from the tornado.
RAW MATERIALS
The co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, John Goodenough, has filed a patent for a new battery that uses glass as a critical component. Researchers claim that the new battery tech provides almost three times the energy storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries.
REGULATION
Safety groups are voicing their concern over autonomous vehicle legislation added to the coronavirus response.
RISK ANALYTICS
Cash and consistency. Dry coffers and discipline. These issues are just the tip of the iceberg automotive manufacturers are facing.
Wall Street investment banker and former Ford executive John Casesa says that the coronavirus crisis could do more harm to the auto industry the Great Recession did a decade ago. Casesa: “I think the reality is companies will be faced with very hard decisions with limited resources.”
Fitch Solutions warns a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak could drop global vehicle sales by 25% in 2020, and an additional 10% in 2021. Only a 9.9% decline is expected from a single outbreak.
SUPPLY CHAIN
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