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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #181 - July 24 - 30, 2020

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

August 1 · Issue #181 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Tata Motors has named former Renault CEO Thierry Bollore as the new CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. Bollore will take over the role from current CEO Ralf Speth on September 10.
Peugeot has named Matthias Hossann as its new design director. Hossann will replace 10-year veteran Gilles Vidal.
EARNING DIP
Volkswagen reported a loss of $940m for the first half of 2020. The report follows a 27% drop in vehicle deliveries due to coronavirus.
HUMAN CAPITAL
GM has reversed its plan to cut the third shift at its pickup plant in Wentzville, Missouri. Instead of cuts, the automaker may transfer laid-off workers from other states to the plant instead.
Honda has sent some of its office workers to the production line at its Marysville, Ohio, plant to fill in for quarantining workers after getting coronavirus.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Toyota battery business manager Keiji Kaita says that the automaker is still on track for the limited production of solid-state batteries by 2025. The packs have significant advantages over current technology, such as being less vulnerable to extreme temperatures, having two to three times more energy density, and significantly reducing charging time.
LITIGATION
A new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute accuses GM, BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, along with several other global companies, of using forced Uyghur labor in China. The report estimates that over 80k Uyghurs were transferred to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019.
South Korea is investigating suspected safety issues related to braking and steering systems in Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles sold there. The transport ministry would not elaborate further, only adding that the probe could take anywhere from six months to a year.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Spain’s Grupo Antolin announced a partnership with Germany’s AED Engineering. The venture is expected to improve its ability to develop electronic systems for automotive interiors.
Britishvolt and Pininfarina are collaborating to build the UK’s first gigaplant. The battery cells will be produced at the former RAF base in Bro Tathan, Wales.
Renault has announced that developing its new electric vehicle platform with alliance partner Nissan has led to “…a 30 percent reduction on the platform cost, we have reduced the battery cost by 30 percent and the e-motor by 20 percent.”
PLANT CLOSING
Mitsubishi announced this week that it would close its plant in Gifu, Japan, as part of its effort to rebuild its business amid the coronavirus crisis. The announcement came the same day the automaker reported its first Q1 net loss in four years.
BorgWarner announced this week that it would close its plant in Tralee, Ireland, due to a decline in demand for its air heaters. The closure will result in the loss of 210 jobs.
Marelli is closing its automotive lighting plant in Clarkston, Michigan, by January 2021 due to “a number of prolonged challenges.” The closure will result in the loss of 263 jobs.
PLANT EXPANSION
Analysts speculate that GM may shift some production of electric vehicles to retooled plants in Mexico.
Bridgewater Interiors will expand its Detroit and Delta Township plants in Michigan. The company received a $2m grant from the Michigan Business Development Program.
Mahle will expand its plant in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by adding a 144,000sf addition and 300 new jobs.
PLANT OPENING
German supplier GEDIA Automotive is building a new $85m plant near Dalton, Georgia, to supply Mercedes and potentially Volkswagen. The 180,000sf plant will create around 200 jobs.
Construction at GM and LG’s joint venture began in earnest this week. Ultium Cells, located in Lordstown, Ohio, will be the second US-based automotive battery cell manufacturer.
BMW will open a new pilot battery cell plant near Munich, Germany. The company received a $71m grant from the German government for battery research.
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