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Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #323
April 14 - 20, 2023 by Elm Analytics
Change In Management
Stellantis has appointed Natalie Knight, formerly CFO of Dutch food retailer Ahold Delhaize, to succeed Richard Palmer as the company's CFO.
A cyberattack on Germany's Rheinmetall primarily affected its automotive customers last week.
A worker died at Michelin's Lexington, South Carolina plant. Co-workers found him pinned between machinery.
Toyota is investing $337M to manufacture a new hybrid, flex-fuel compact car in Brazil that runs on gasoline, ethanol, and electricity.
Sumitomo will invest $213M in its tire factory in Fazenda Rio Grande, Brazil.
Tire cord fabric maker Kordsa is investing $50M into expanding nylon production at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The expansion will add 200 jobs at the plant.
A panel at this week's SAE World Congress highlighted the growing importance of software-defined vehicles. One key takeaway was the shift to cross-supply chain partnerships and collaborations. Non-linear automotive supply chain "triangles" are formed, with direct contact happening between automakers and tech companies, automakers and suppliers, and suppliers and tech companies.
Ford's flagship European EV factory in Cologne, Germany, is testing new AI-powered tech enabling EVs to drive themselves off the assembly line.
The US Supreme Court this week declined to hear a bid by GM to revive its racketeering lawsuit against Stellantis over bribery allegations involving the UAW. GM says it will continue pressing its case against Stellantis in Michigan state court.
Canadian auto parts maker Magna says that a $400M class-action lawsuit against them alleging human trafficking is "without merit." The suit, filed in February, alleges that Magna illegally recruited and hired foreign workers and violated Ontario's Employment Standards Act.
The California Civil Rights Dept. alleges that Tesla refuses to comply with a subpoena in a probe relating to alleged racism at its plant in Fremont, California. A suit filed against the automaker in February 2022 alleges that the automaker was running a "racially segregated workplace" in Fremont.
Mergers, Ventures, Acquisitions
European Union negotiators finalized a plan this week to invest $47.2B into the production of semiconductors. The EU aims to manufacture 20% of the world's semiconductors by 2030.
The South Korean government and the country's top battery companies plan to jointly invest $15.1B through 2030 into new advanced battery technologies. The industry ministry added, "The joint investment will allow South Korea to start commercial production of solid state batteries ahead of others."
China's CATL will begin constructing its 100GWh battery factory in Debrecen, Hungary, this summer, making it the largest in Europe.
Rivian is changing its R1T to use internally developed drive motors as its units from Bosch require scarce chips.
Lordstown Motors resumed production and deliveries of its Endurance electric pickup truck after a pause in February to address quality issues.
Raw Material Disruption
S&P Global: Chile and Peru's copper for energy transition
Stellantis recalled over 177K Jeep and Ram vehicles due to an issue with the powertrain control module software. The "...software may cause an incorrect fuel mixture condition in the engine and result in an engine stall."
The UAW has warned of more aggressive negotiations with the Detroit 3 in late 2023, which could result in a work stoppage. A strike could cause significant problems for suppliers already grappling with supply chain problems, rising material costs, higher interest rates, and a tight labor market. The 40-day GM strike in 2019 impacted suppliers' profits, leading to thousands of layoffs. However, the immediate impact of the pandemic prevented suppliers from recouping their losses. Suppliers are already vulnerable, making the impact of another work stoppage more significant. Analysts advise Suppliers to focus on long-term opportunities in electrification and automation and take a closer look at their finances. Building up inventory may not be enough to mitigate the impact of a strike, as there is limited slack in the industry.
A new report out of England from the British Parking Association warns that EVs might need to be lighter for older parking garages to handle.