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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #215 - March 19 - 25, 2021

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

March 26 · Issue #215 · View online

Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.


We’re excited to share two articles that Elm’s Tor Hough contributed to featured in Rubber & Plastics News this week:
Both articles highlight the looming natural rubber crisis.
For a quick overview, we put together a quick-sketch explainer:
Natural Rubber Crisis
HUMAN CAPITAL
Although production is scheduled to begin in July, Tesla is still looking for a plant manager at its Giga Berlin factory in Grünheide, Germany.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Ford has started recycling its 3D printer waste powder to produce fuel line clips for F-250 trucks. The automaker says the recycled clips have better chemical and moisture resistance than the version they buy from suppliers, weigh 7% less and cost 10% less.
Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstaetter says that he doesn’t “…expect a completely new (combustion) engine family to be launched again.” The automaker will further develop engines currently in use and prep them for new emissions standards.
LITIGATION
VW’s change in battery technology announced last week came as a shock to its existing suppliers. Sources say the move may be prompted by a legal dispute between LG and SK.
GM recalled around 95K vehicles over an issue with misrouted seatbelts that could become damaged.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Toyota is partnering with Isuzu to develop connected vehicles and fuel cell technologies. The automakers dissolved a previous partnership in 2018.
Eaton has acquired Switzerland-based Green Motion, a manufacturer of EV charging systems.
China Dynamics and Dubai’s W Motors formed a JV to produce EVs under the name LOKI.
Volvo is partnering with Chinese tech company ECARX to develop a new, scalable infotainment platform. Volvo brands Polestar and Geely will share the system in addition to third parties.
PLANT DISASTER
Renesas Semiconductor says their 300mm wafer line in Hitachinaka, Japan, will be shut down for at least a month after a fire near the cleanroom late last week.
PLANT OPENING
Finland’s Valmet announced a new battery assembly plant in Kirchardt, Germany.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
GM is halting production at its assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, for two weeks, starting on Monday. The closure is a direct result of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage.
Honda is extending production shutdowns at most of its North American plants through next week due to various supply chain issues. The automaker cited “impact from COVID-19, congestion at various ports, the microchip shortage, and severe winter weather”.
Nissan has reduced or halted production across many of its North American assembly plants due to ongoing supply chain disruptions.
Volkswagen is suspending production at its four plants in Brazil due to a surge in coronavirus infections there. The plants have shut down until April 4.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Czech Republic stopped production at its car plant in Kolin until April 5. The semiconductor shortage that’s halted production is due to poor weather conditions in North America.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Stellantis may shutter production lines at its plant in Melfi, Italy. Executives have said that Italy’s production costs are up to four times more than costs at their factories in France and Spain. Cost sensitivity has even affected the number of toilets available.
REGULATION
The “Securing America’s Clean Fuels Infrastructure Act” was introduced in the US Senate. If enacted, the bill would expand tax credits for building charging and refueling stations.
SUPPLY CHAIN
Hyundai is reportedly expecting production disruptions starting in April as a result of the semiconductor shortage. The automaker has been able to avoid a hit so far due to its stockpiling of chips.
The Suez Canal may be blocked for days or weeks by the Ever Given, a cargo ship lodged in the banks. The vessel is preventing $400M worth of global trade per hour.
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