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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #180 - July 17 - 23, 2020

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

July 24 · Issue #180 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Nissan announced a management shuffle late last week: Current corporate VP Toshihiro Hirai is being promoted to Senior VP, VP of Research Kazuhiro Doi will become a new corporate VP, and alliance global director of Connected Car and Service Engineering, Tetsu Sasaki will be a VP. The appointments are effective August 1.
Veteran Volkswagen exec Christian Vollmer has been named the new production head for the VW brand. He will move from his current post as Seat’s production and logistics boss on August 1.
Ford has named Jonathan Jennings as its new VP of global commodity purchasing and supplier technical assistance. The automaker also named John Mellen as its new general counsel.
EARNING DIP
Volvo reported a 117.9% drop in operating income for the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of last year. Net income also fell by 134.5%, while revenue dropped by 14.1%.
HUMAN CAPITAL
Daimler’s plan for even deeper cost cuts than originally announced could put up to 20,000 jobs at risk, according to people familiar with the matter. The automaker declined to comment on the speculation.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Mahle has produced a new type of high performance aluminum piston using 3D printing. The project is part of its partnership with Porsche and could help boost engine horsepower and reduce piston weight by up to 20%.
LITIGATION
Tesla is suing Rivian Automotive over claims that it has been poaching employees and stealing trade secrets. The automaker says that four of its former employees took highly sensitive proprietary information as they left to work for Rivian.
A legal dispute between Korean EV battery makers LG and SK Innovation has got Ford and Volkswagen a bit worried. 
FCA offices were raided by authorities in Germany, Italy and Switzerland over claims that the automaker used “defeat devices” to mask around 200k vehicles’ diesel pollution output. Authorities also raided the offices of truck maker CNH Industrial over similar claims.
Twenty seven workers at an Ohio Jeep plant have filed suit against FCA and the UAW for conspiring to rob them of pay, benefits, and seniority. Workers and union officials say the automaker and the union “engaged in a classic pattern of racketeering, including committing multiple violations of bribery”.
Audi India has refuted an allegation that it installed defeat devices to misrepresent emissions data. In a statement, the automaker said that “…all VW group vehicles in India are compliant with applicable norms…”.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Intel’s driverless vehicle subsidary Mobileye has expanded its partnership with Ford to offer camera-based detection capabilities for the automaker’s advanced driver-assistance systems. While the partnership has been ongoing for years, this is the first time Ford has committed to Mobileye’s tech for the lifecycle of its cars.
FCA is expanding its partnership with self-driving company Waymo, saying this week that they will develop self-driving cars exclusively with Waymo going forward. 
PLANT CLOSING
Mitsubishi Motors has announced plans to close its subsidiary Pajero Manufacturing’s assembly plant in Sakahogi, Japan by 2023. Most of the 900 employees at the plant are likely to be reassigned.
PLANT OPENING
It’s official: Tesla will build its new $1.1B assembly plant in Austin, Texas. The plant will produce the upcoming Cybertruck and employ around 5,000 people.
Chinese battery maker Gotion High-Tech is planning to build a new cathode materials plant in Hefei, China. The plant will have an annual capacity of 30,000 tons and will start test operations in 2023.
British EV battery startup Britishvolt has chosen a site in Wales for its new $1.2B factory. The company hopes to start building the factory in the second quarter of 2021.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
Since March, Volvo has had to shutdown its plant in Ridgeville, South Carolina three times due to coronavirus, a disruption in parts received from Mexico and weak demand for sedans. The plant is scheduled to restart on July 29.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Vehicle production in the Czech Republic fell by 32.6% in the first half of 2020 due to coronavirus production shutdowns. 
REGULATION
The state of New York announced a new $750M investment program to build EV charging stations and other EV infrastructure in the state. The program is aiming to create over 50,000 charging stations.
RISK ANALYTICS
As US coronavirus cases are back on the rise, continued auto production may be threatened once again. Enough employees are missing work that it’s starting to cause issues on production lines in Michigan, Missouri, and Kentucky.
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