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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #98 - December 21 - 27, 2018

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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest

December 28 · Issue #98 · View online
Weekly highlights of the events that impact supply chain risk within the automotive industry.

INDUSTRY DIRECTIONS
Gaming platform company Unity Technologies has a new 3D platform called Salesdrive that allows a salesperson at a dealership to create a virtual, one-on-one consulting experience for potential buyers. The software allows them to customize elements of a vehicle in virtual reality based on a potential customer’s interests.
LABOR DISPUTE
In a bid to reverse their decision to end production at four U.S. plants in 2019, the UAW hand-delivered more than 4,000 community letters addressed to General Motors leadership late last week. 
LITIGATION
Ford is recalling 874,000 pickup trucks in North America over an engine block heater problem that could cause a fire. Some 2015-2019 F-150s are affected, along with the 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks.
Just after a Tokyo court ruled to not extend his sentence, ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was re-arrested on fresh, more serious financial misconduct charges. The new accusations allege that Ghosn inflicted financial damage to Nissan from his own unprofitable investments.
The latest misoconduct allegations against ex-Nissan head Carlos Ghosn say that Ghosn used company funds to pay a Saudi businessman who helped him out of financial difficulties.
BMW is facing criminal charges in South Korea after investigators concluded that the automaker concealed fire hazards and delayed recalls
Volkswagen says that continued cleanup for its diesel scandal will cost $2.3b in 2019. Since 2015, the automaker has paid more than $30b to settle lawsuits and pay regulatory fines related to the scandal.
Former Nissan exec Greg Kelly was released from jail in Tokyo on Christmas day. He had spent more than a month in detention along with ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Autonomous vehicle startup Zoox has become the first company to receive approval to operate a ride service for the public in the state of California. Despite the approval, Zoox will not yet be allowed to charge passengers and backup test drivers will be required to be in the driver’s seat to take over if necessary.
Denso has announced plans for a corporate makeover in 2019 designed to help them boost their competitiveness in electrification and automated driving technology. Part of the makeover include a new R&D division focusing solely on the technology of mobility systems.
PLANT EXPANSION
Aluminum parts supplier Kobelco is investing $42m to expand its plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Construction on the expansion will start in January 2019 and production will start in the first half of 2020.
PRODUCTION INCREASE
South Korean EV battery supplier SK Innovation is planning to boost their production capacity more than tenfold by 2022. The company is betting on large increases in global demand for EV batteries.
REGULATION
A delegation for the U.S. government will meet with Chinese officials in Beijing during the week of January 7 to hold trade talks. The meeting will be the first face-to-face discussion since President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a 90 day truce in Argentina earlier this month.
The White House has laid out objectives for trade talks with Japan starting as early as January 20, 2019. The U.S. is looking to secure duty-free market access for U.S. industrial products and to reduce or eliminate tariffs for U.S. agricultural goods.
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