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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #54 - February 16 - 22, 2018

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

February 23 · Issue #54 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Ford has ousted its North American president, Raj Nair, over admissions of “inappropriate behavior”. Nair was an 18-year veteran of the company and had only been in his current position since June 2017.
INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
A new study from the Ann Arbor, Michigan based Center for Automotive Research suggests that despite ever increasing investment in vehicle electrification and autonomy, the technology won’t gain widespread adoption for decades.
Dyson, of vacuum cleaner fame, is considering China as a production site for three electric vehicles it plans on making. The company is exploring solid-state batteries and will start production for the 2021 model year.
LITIGATION
A German court has delayed a ruling on whether major cities can ban heavily polluting diesel cars until February 27, 2018.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
LyondellBasell is buying polymer company A. Schulman, Inc. in a $2.25b cash deal. The acquisition will create a $4.6b combined business.
Groupe PSA and Qualcomm Technologies are working together on testing Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything communication technology. The technology allows vehicles to exchange info with other vehicles and pedestrian devices.
PLANT CLOSING
NVH and sealing supplier Unique Fabricating is closing its Fort Smith, Arkansas manufacturing facility this June. CEO John Weinhardt says consolidating the facility will help “streamline our…operations and better position us to grow profitably”.
PLANT EXPANSION
General Motors is investing $265m into its Kansas City, Kansas assembly plant. The investment will retain about 500 jobs and support production of a new Cadillac XT4 crossover SUV.
PLANT OPENING
Faurecia is building a new $60m, 250,000sf door and instrument panel plant in Blue Springs, Missouri. The plant will employ 300 people.
Mercedes-Benz has broken ground for a new assembly plant on its Sindelfingen, Germany campus. The plant will open in 2020 and build a variety of vehicles including autonomous taxis.
GAC Motor Co. will produce the Trumpchi GS4 crossover at its newly opened assembly plant in Urumqi, China. 
Nexteer is building a new plant in Kenitra, Moroco. The plant, opening in 2019, will initially make electric power steering systems, but will expand to driveline products in the future.
Isuzu Motors has opened a new plant in Struandale, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The plant was formerly General Motors SA.
Plastic Injection mold and parts supplier International Mold and Production is relocating its operations and headquarters from Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The company has already begun the relocation and plans to invest $1.5m into the new facility.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
GM is planning to close its Flint, MI truck plant for the entire month of July. The plant will undergo a series of improvements during the shutdown.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Thanks to a sharp decrease in North American car sales, General Motors is planning to extend its cutback of car production at its Oshawa, Ontario plant until May 28.
PRODUCTION INCREASE
Imperium3 NY is advancing schedules at its new Endicott, New York facility to produce Li-ion batteries. The company has purchased almost-new equipment from the bankrupt Alevo battery plant in Concord, North Carolina.
RAW MATERIALS
Automotive companies are finding themselves in a race with tech companies to secure cobalt supplies. Apple announced that it was in talks to buy cobalt directly from miners. BMW and Volkswagen are also trying to complete multiyear contracts to ensure supplies for EV production.
Two different anti-dumping duties are wreaking havoc on tire manufacturing in India, shutting down over 1000 plants. The result is a shortage of carbon black, a key raw material used in reinforcing automotive tires.
REGULATION
The EU handed out a total of $673.49m in fines this week to car shipping groups and parts suppliers for anti-competitive behavior. Four shipping groups were fined for forming a cartel while parts suppliers NGK, Bosch, and Continental were fined for sharing pricing and sales information. 
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