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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #32 - September 16 - 21, 2017

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

September 22 · Issue #32 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

LABOR DISPUTE
Workers at GM’s CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario are on strike over disagreement on plant operations, economic issues, and especially job security. They are pushing to be designated the lead producer of the new Chevy Equinox to ensure jobs aren’t shifted to Mexico.
HUMAN CAPITAL
The effects of the labor strike at GM’s CAMI plant in Ontario are also being felt by suppliers across the region. Over 3,200 workers will be out of work as suppliers idle plants and layoff employees due to stalled production at CAMI.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
At the Frankfurt auto show, Continental’s CEO of Intelligent Transportation Systems revealed that they are “in the process of equipping 1,000 rental cars for a proof-of-concept” trial of the keyless car.
With different laws in different places, autonomous vehicles face many regulatory hurdles. Manufacturers brave enough to release today have to charge premiums that limit adoption. We are in an autonomous grey area between the past and the future.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Looking to trim costs, Ford is partnering with India’s Mahindra & Mahindra. Regulatory issues and lack of infrastructure have made it tough for foreign automakers to “go it alone” in the past.
Delphi has announced a partnership with Blackberry. Blackberry will bring it’s QNX operating system to Delphi’s CSLP turnkey self-driving system. CSLP will be released in 2019 with Intel’s Mobileye and Renovo.
Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen will not submit a new bid for Swedish brake-systems maker Haldex after Knorr-Bremse dropped its $693m bid. ZF is still the largest shareholder in Haldex.
ZF did sign an agreement with China’s BAIC subsidiary BHAP to jointly produce drivetrain components for electric vehicles in China.
Chinese search engine Baidu will create a $1.5b autonomous driving fund. The fund will invest in 100 autonomous driving projects over three years. It is part of a wider plan to speed up its technical development and compete with US rivals.
Another mashup of Chinese consumer web tech and automotive, this week: Tencent and Guangzhou will partner on connected cars, automotive AI and e-commerce. Guangzhou tapped Tencent for experience in social networking, big data and cloud services.
Plastic Omnium is looking for a buyer for its environmental division in order to focus exclusively on the growth of its automotive operations.
Bosch has partnered with Nikola Motor to create a hydrogen-electric truck powertrain.
Tesla is reportedly building a new AI chip on AMD spinoff GlobalFoundaries’ IP and fabrication. Tesla initially used Mobileye’s technology. It is currently using Nvidia GPUs for autonomous processing.
PLANT EXPANSION
As Detroit focuses on SUVs, Honda is investing heavily in sedans as it expands it’s Marysville, Ohio plant. The new lines and equipment will allow production of 440,000 Honda and Acura sedans per year.
BorgWarner will spend $72m expand its Seneca, South Carolina plant after acquiring new business. The facility makes transfer cases for all-wheel drive vehicles.
France’s ActuaPlast has added new plastic injection and finishing machinery to its facility in Livonia, Michigan. It is also considering an expansion in Mexico.
Metalsa Structural Products is expanding its Owensboro, Kentucky facility. The $36m investment will add new robotics, infrastructure and building expansions for a new production line. The facility produces frames, stamped and welded components.
Volvo is now investing $1b in its first US auto plant. The Port of Charleston, South Carolina factory will add a second production line.
PLANT OPENING
Daimler is building a new facility near in Tuscaloosa, AL to produce batteries for EVs in 2018. They will also expand their Tuscaloosa Mercedes assembly plant and build a new global logistics center and NA sales hub. The investment will total $1B and create more than 600 jobs.
Norwegian aluminum component supplier Sapa is reopening a Wales factory they closed in 2014 to produce parts for new electric taxis being built by Geely’s The London Electric Vehicle Company. The plant will employ 130.
Britain’s Laird is opening a new facility in Grand Blanc Township in Michigan. The antenna and connected vehicles system manufacturer will house it’s engineering and R&D centers there.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
In order to reduce inventories, Ford is idling five of its North American plants for 10 weeks. Three of the plants are located in Mexico, and two are in the US.
RAW MATERIAL COSTS
Crude oil prices are pushing toward a five-month high.
REGULATION
The shutdown of an “illegal” Shanghai wiredrawing plant by environmental officials has caused Schaeffler’s Shanghai manufacturing unit to face a severe shortage of needle bearings. It could affect production of more than 200 car models, though Schaeffler has said that it will draw on its global resources to make up for the disruption.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications systems are essential for Level 5 autonomous travel. However, the V2V market has stalled under the Trump administration. Without a mandate, automakers are waiting to deploy the systems. V2V is not effective until most vehicles have it.
RISK ANALYTICS
Despite injuries, fatalities, and widespread damage, the Mexican auto industry appears to have emerged relatively unscathed from Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake. 
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