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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #35 - October 6 - 12, 2017

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

October 13 · Issue #35 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
The GST Autoleather bankruptcy could be an early warning as the automotive industry slows.
NVIDIA has unveiled its first computer chips for developing fully autonomous vehicles. NVIDIA says that 25 of their customers will be using the chip in a new class of driverless cars, taxis, and long-haul trucks.
The US Postal Service is working on creating autonomous mail delivery vehicles with the University of Michigan. Germany’s Deutsche Post also announced it was working on creating a fleet. And not to be left out, DHL is working with NVIDIA to test new self-driving delivery trucks.
Connected cars create data. Lots of it. Despite privacy and security issues, companies are positioning themselves to make money off the 4,000 GB/day that an autonomous vehicle will generate.
LITIGATION
Japan’s Kobe Steel has admitted that thousands of tons of its aluminum and copper strips did not meet quality specifications that were agreed upon with their customers. The strips were used in car doors and hoods. Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Subaru are among the automakers affected.
The Kobe Steel scandal is growing as it has also been revealed that data on the quality of their iron powder was also falsified.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Panasonic is developing an autonomous driving system for commercial vehicles, launching in 2022. It is pushing hard in the automotive market to better compete with Bosch and Continental.
BMW may be eyeing a joint venture with China’s Great Wall Motor. An unnamed BMW exec. said that they are considering opening a new assembly plant in Changshu, China.
Magna International has joined a self-driving car consortium with BMW and Intel that will develop a self-driving vehicle platform by 2020. The consortium also includes Mobileye, FCA, Delphi, and Continental.
The new CEO at Honeywell is shaking things up and plans to spin off the company’s automotive turbocharger business into a separate company. CEO Darius Adamczyk says that as a result “…we’re going to be very active in the M&A arena”. 
Valeo has joined the ISELED, an open alliance creating an in-vehicle LED lighting system. Other ISELED members include: Inova Semiconductors, Dominant Opto Technologies, Lucie Labs, NXP, TE Connectivity and Pforzheim University.
South Korea’s Hanon Systems announced a joint venture with China South Industries Group Corporation. The Chongqing, China facility will manufacture automotive variable compressors and heat pump systems.
The EU is moving forward with their Battery Alliance to compete with North America and Asia.
Chinese auto automation company, Jiangsu Hagong Intelligent Robot Co, may bid on Germany’s FFT. New German regulations have gotten in the way of other takeovers when critical technology was going abroad. Chinese interest in FFT comes in to boost locally-made products as part of a broad “Made in China 2025” plan.
PLANT CLOSING
Bridgestone is closing a plant in Woodstock, ON citing “…increasing global competition and difficult market conditions.”. The plant will fully close in the second half of 2018 and put 170 out of work.
PLANT DISASTER
Toyota shut its manufacturing plant in Durban, South Africa. A massive storm hit the region resulting in “unprecedented flooding”. There was “significant damage” to the buildings, equipment and vehicles on the line.
PLANT EXPANSION
Denso will invest $1B and add over 1,000 jobs to its Maryville, Tennessee plant. The investment will make the plant Denso’s primary manufacturer in North America for electrification and safety systems.
PLANT OPENING
South Korea’s LG Chem will open the largest lithium-ion battery factory in Europe in 2018. It will provide a big-cell alternative to batteries produced in China and South Korea. The plant will be located near Wroclaw, Poland.
France’s DELFINGEN will open a new facility in Leon, Nicaragua. The facility will manufacture automotive wire harness protection solutions.
HELLA is expanding its footprint in India with a new electronics plant near Mehsana and a recently opened development center in Coimbatore. The plant near Mehsana is expected to open in 2019 and will employ 100.
PRODUCTION INCREASE
General Motors and its suppliers will invest $500 million in Argentina to produce a new Chevrolet model in 2020.
REGULATION
NAFTA negotiations this week increased the existing tension over its impact on the Auto Industry.
President Trump says he would be open to a bilateral trade deal with Canada but not Mexico if NAFTA negotiations end up falling apart.
SUPPLY CHAIN
A new study published in scientific journal Joule suggests that supply chains are not yet ready to support the skyrocketing demand for lithium-ion batteries. 
This weekend’s long reads:
  • Living in interesting times
    This year’s summit debated the unanswered questions around Brexit and its impact on the automotive supply chain, whilst executives showed a desire to improve productivity and increase connectivity

  • A supplier renaissance
    Tier one suppliers are more profitable – and more powerful – than they have been for years. But can they maintain the momentum?
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