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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #75 - July 13 - 19, 2018

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

July 20 · Issue #75 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Hyundai has become the first automaker to launch a digital showroom on Amazon’s Vehicle Research Hub. The site allows customers to compare vehicle models, read reviews, book a test drive, and more.
LABOR DISPUTE
A small union’s planned strike at FCA’s Melfi, Italy plant flopped this week when only five workers showed up to protest. The strike was intended to protest to the large amount of money spent by FCA’s holding company Exor on signing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to its Juventus soccer club.
LITIGATION
A German court has ruled that Robert Bosch must hand over emails in connection to lawsuits brought against Porsche linked to Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. Bosch will await the court’s full written response and then consider how to respond.
Germany’s KBA federal motor vehicle authority has announced an official hearing into the emissions technology used in three car models made by Opel. The group says they have reliable evidence that exhaust gas treatment in the vehicle shuts down during driving, causing emissions to exceed statutory limits more than tenfold.
Ford has recalled around 550,000 Fusion and Escape vehicles due to faulty shifter cable bushings that pose a rollaway risk. The problem can occur with select 2013-16 year Fusion and 2013-14 Escape models.
The German government is demanding that some 800 drivers who received a $4,650 “environmental bonus” after buying a Tesla Model S will have to return the subsidy. Tesla shared the cost of the subsidy with the government and says that they will cover the cost of the bonus until the situation is resolved.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Corning is investing in an existing facility in Hefei, China to produce Corning Gorilla Glass for Automotive Interiors. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2019.
Japanese fabrics supplier Asahi Kasei Corp. is planning to acquire US-based Sage Automotive Interiors Inc. for $1.1b. Sage CEO Dirk Pieper says that the executive management team will remain unchanged following the acquisition.
PLANT EXPANSION
UGN, an acoustic, interior trim supplier, will expand its Monroe facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.
PLANT OPENING
Flex-N-Gate is hiring 300 workers at a new factory in the Hegewisch area of Chicago, Illinois. Its new 288,000sf facility is near Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant. The plant is expected to begin providing just-in-time parts in the first quarter of 2019. 
Hella Behr Plastic Omnium (HBPO) is considering locations for a new just-in-sequence assembly plant in Michigan. The plant would be its second in the state producing front-end modules. In June, Plastics Omnium became the majority owner of HBPO after Mahle sold its shares in the joint venture.
REGULATION
As part of their investigation into whether auto imports affect national security, the US Commerce Department sent out a new 34-page questionnaire to several automakers this month asking for sensitive details regarding company finances, supply chains, and more. The cover page threatens prison time and a $10,000 fine for those that don’t respond.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with President Trump next week to discuss the possibility of reducing car tariffs for several trade partners. The EU is looking to head off a US probe into whether importing cars and car parts damage national security.
Japan and the EU have signed a trade pact that will remove tariffs of 10% on Japanese cars and 3% on most car parts. In return, the EU will gain from the scrapping of Japanese tariffs of 30% on EU cheese and 15% on wines.
A new government audit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the agency’s “delayed action” has hindered the callbacks of vehicles with defective Takata airbags. 
A coalition of auto insurance groups says that raising tariffs could hit consumers in the form of higher repair costs, insurance premiums, and potentially increased car theft for parts. 
SUPPLY CHAIN
The groundbreaking for a new $4b bridge between the US and Canada took place this week in Detroit, signaling the start of an extensive construction project expected to be complete by 2022 or 2023.
Mazda will restart production at two of its plants in Hiroshima following a recent shutdown due to heavy rainfall. The plants will operate at a reduced production volume between July 23 and August 10.
Panasonic has suspended relations with its Canadian cobalt supplier after learning that an undetermined amount was mined in Cuba, which is subject to US sanctions. 
Volvo is shifting production of their XC60 SUV from China to Europe to avoid new US tariffs on Chinese imports. 
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