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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #53 - February 9 - 15, 2018

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

February 16 · Issue #53 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

BANKRUPTCY
The US Bankruptcy Court has approved the sale of GST AutoLeather and its subsidiaries to GST Lender Acquisition Corp., an entity formed by the company’s Senior Secured Lenders. GST says they will continue “to deliver our high-quality products to our customers.”
EARNING DIP
In the wake of an 18% year-over-year sales dip in China, Ford has announced plans to overhaul its operations in China. They plan to move some workers back to the US and hire Chinese citizens that speak Mandarin and firmly grasp the culture and market.
HUMAN CAPITAL
Alabama is facing a skilled labor shortage.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Google released their 2018 Auto Trends report based on search queries. But “dog” and “pet” related auto trends?
The results of the annual JD Power vehicle dependability survey are in and they show that car and truck dependability is “…at its best level ever” having shot up 10% to reach a record high.
LABOR DISPUTE
Workers at a Dana Corporation plant in Toledo, Ohio held a strike for 8 ½ hours this week demanding union representation for better pay and better hours. The workers will now be represented by the UAW and a contract will be negotiated as soon as possible.
LITIGATION
As part of the ever expanding Takata airbag recall, Ford and Mazda have added another 35,000 pickups to the Do-Not-Drive list. The companies found that the affected trucks had inflators that ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings.
In a rare move, Honda has filed suit against China’s Great Wall Motors alleging patent infringement. They have asserted two patents against the Chinese automaker and are seeking around $32m in damages. 
As part of a settlement, 13 automakers will contribute up to $130m to compensate those injured by faulty Takata airbag inflators. This will help pave the way for Takata to exit Chapter 11 and move forward with a reorganization plan.
Honda is recalling roughly 350,000 cars in China due to a cold-climate engine issue where an unusual amount of un-combusted gas collects in the engine lubricant’s oil pan. The response was spurred by a barrage of customer complaints over the past month.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Commercial vehicle systems supplier Knorr-Bremse has signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Chinese commercial vehicle maker FAW Jiefang Automotive Company. The companies will collaborate on braking systems, AMT products, chassis components, steering systems and more.
PLANT CLOSING
As a part of its Asia business restructuring, GM is shutting down its plant in Gunsan, South Korea. The automaker says they will decide the fate of their three other South Korean plants within the next few weeks. 
PLANT EXPANSION
Stamping part supplier Topre America is investing $80m into expanding its Cullman, Alabama plant. The expansion will create 98 new jobs.
ElringKlinger plans to expand their Fort Wayne, Indiana facility by adding equipment. The $23m expansion will bring a new 60,000sf building to the plant. 
PLANT OPENING
Geely is investing more than $5B into a new plant in China’s Zhejiang province for building new energy vehicles. The plant will consist of an assembly plant, gear box factory, and an industrial park for auto parts.
Motherson Sumi systems will open three new plants in India by the first quarter of 2020. Two plants making wiring and wiring harnesses will be built in Pithampur, while a third plant making rearview mirrors will be built in Chennai.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Despite a 10% decline at BMW’s Spartanburg, SC plant, BMW was still the largest vehicle exporter of 2017.
REGULATION
The 6th round of NAFTA talks had a “less negative and more constructive tone than previous negotiation rounds despite failure to resolve critical issues.”
45% of current federal regulations are blocking the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
US safety regulators have closed their investigation into leaky gas tank flanges made by Continental, determining that recalls by VW, Porsche and Audi sufficiently took car of the problem.
According to Democratic senator Tom Carper, President Trump endorsed a 25 cent/gallon hike in the gas tax to pay for infrastructure spending in a meeting with lawmakers this week.
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