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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #59 - March 23 - 29, 2018

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

March 30 · Issue #59 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Audi’s new plant in Brussels, Belgium has become the first high-volume plant to be certified as a “CO2-neutral site”. The plant will begin producing the first all electric Audi vehicles before the end of the year.
A new survey from J.D. Power and a Detroit law firm says that around 46% of people would “definitely” or “probably” not ride in a self-driving vehicle. The survey also found that many respondents would pursue legal action against automakers over accidents resulting from self-driving vehicles.
A group of 16 automakers are launching a new campaign called “Drive Change. Drive Electric.” to push consumers towards buying electric vehicles. The campaign will center around a website and also produce ads, social media campaigns, and events.
LABOR DISPUTE
GM South Korea is threatening to file for bankruptcy if its labor union can’t agree on a restructuring plan. The restructuring plan has an April 20 deadline for submission, but GM wants a tentative agreement with unions well before that.
LITIGATION
BMW is the latest automaker to be sued by US diesel drivers over alleged emissions test cheating. The lawsuit alleges that the X5 and 335D cars from model years 2009-2011 are polluting at up to 27 times the legal limit.
Following Toyota, Nvidia has announced that they will also suspend their self-driving tests in the wake of last week’s Uber fatality. They test globally including places such as New Jersey, Santa Clara, Japan, and Germany.
Three former Takata employees that alerted authorities to the risk of faulty airbag inflators will share an award of $1.7m. They will be paid by Takata from a reserve fund created during its bankruptcy proceeding.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Renesas is outsourcing production of automotive microcontrollers to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. They are seeking to cut manufacturing costs and focus more on the development of software and semiconductors. 
Chipmaker Nvidia has unveiled a simulator that uses cloud computing technology to virtually test autonomous vehicles. They say that some 300,000 miles can be driven in five hours using the simulation, which is essentially every paved road in the US simulated in two days.
BMW and Daimler have reached an agreement to combine their mobility services in the areas of Car Sharing, Ride Hailing, Park, Charging and Multimodality. The venture will be 50-50 and the automakers will remain competitors in their respective core businesses.
Faurecia has won a contract to supply BMW Group with seating for 6 million vehicles. It is their largest contract ever in terms of volume.
GKN shareholders accepted a hostile takeover bid by Melrose Industries, a UK turnaround firm. The success of the bid nullifies a deal to merge its auto division with Dana.
Renault and Nissan may be looking to solidify their two-decade-old alliance by merging together as one corporation.
PLANT DISASTER
An accidental death at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant is being investigated. The private contractor was working on equipment in the paint shop.
PLANT OPENING
Magna celebrated the grand opening of a new facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina this week from where they will supply seats to BMW for the first time ever. They also announced plans to expand the plant, adding 25,000sf and 130 more jobs.
A new plant for recycling automotive batteries has been opened in Namie, Japan. 4R Energy Corp., a JV between Nissan and Sumitomo will recycle aging batteries from Nissan Leaf EVs.
Suspension component supplier Yorozu celebrated the grand opening of their new Jasper, Alabama plant this week. Employment reached around 170 by the end of last year and is expected to reach 300 by 2020, when full production capacity is achieved.
PLANT SHUTDOWN
South Korea’s central bank is granting $37m of aid to mid-to-small sized suppliers that have been affected by the recent shutdown of GM’s plant in Gunsan. The bank also said that there “could be more aid if needed”.
PRODUCTION DECREASE
Honda is reducing production of the 2018 Accord as sales dip and stockpiles grow. As of March 1, Accord inventory levels stood at a 104-day supply.
RISK ANALYTICS
Tesla is recalling 123,000 Model S sedans for corroding bolts that could lead to a power-steering failure.
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