Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #331
June 9 - 15, 2023 by Elm Analytics
Change In Management
Nissan has shared that its Chief Operating Officer, Ashwani Gupta, will depart at the end of June to pursue other professional opportunities. Since joining the company's leadership team in 2019, Gupta has led Nissan's turnaround plan. Despite being considered for the CEO position, he was not ultimately selected. Nissan plans to introduce its new executive team on June 27.
The Advanced Vehicle Assemblies plant in Pinconning, Michigan, is shutting down on July 31, resulting in 65 job losses. The 225k sq ft plant makes charge-air-cooler assemblies, frame components, transmission hubs, steering shafts, and welded assemblies. The closure is part of a corporate reorganization, and operations at the plant are expected to cease permanently. Other plants operated by the company in Roseville, Milan, and Monterrey, Mexico, have not announced any job cuts.
US auto safety regulators have instructed major automakers not to comply with a Massachusetts vehicle telematics law, citing significant safety concerns. NHTSA stated that the federal vehicle safety law takes precedence over the state law, which requires open remote access to vehicle data, as they believe malicious actors could exploit the open access to manipulate vehicle systems and pose safety risks. NHTSA's guidance comes in response to a 2020 Massachusetts law aiming to expand access to vehicle repair data for independent repair shops.
Tesla's expansion plans in China are being delayed as the government is cautious about approving new electric vehicle production due to concerns about overcapacity and a price war. Tesla's reliance on China for cost advantages and exports faces challenges as the government sees the market as oversupplied.
According to reports, Tesla has rented a new building in Fremont, California, to increase its production of 4680 battery cells. This new facility spans 210k sq ft and is close to its pilot production plant for these cells. The aim is to enhance the company's battery technology production, which will be used in the upcoming Cybertruck vehicle.
VW aims to increase earnings by $10.8B by 2026. They plan to streamline their lineup, focusing on volume models and reducing costs.
After being on strike since May 8, union workers at Clarios' battery plant in Holland, Ohio, have reached a tentative labor agreement. The UAW-represented workers will vote on the contract today.
A six-year tentative labor agreement has been reached between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), effectively settling the West Coast port labor dispute. Pending ratification, this agreement should end any disruptions in port operations and prevent potential cargo shifts away from West Coast ports.
Mergers, Ventures, Acquisitions
Gotion Inc.'s $2.4B EV battery facility in Michigan has received clearance to proceed after the US Department of Treasury determined it does not pose national security risks. The project, criticized due to its Chinese ownership, will move forward while opponents call for transparency regarding the documents submitted for federal review.
Several Chinese car manufacturers, such as BYD, are vying for Ford's German factory amidst growing concerns over Chinese investments in Europe. The factory, which currently employs 4.6k people and produces Ford Focus compact cars, is set to stop car production in 2025. BYD sees the acquisition of the factory as an opportunity to enter Europe's highly competitive EV market and is also exploring other factory sites in France and Spain.
GM is partnering with Samsung SDI for a new $3B battery cell plant in St. Joseph County, Indiana. The plant will create 1.7k jobs and begin production in 2026.
Japan will provide Toyota around $854M to invest in domestic EV battery production. The subsidy is part of the automaker's sweeping plan for new technology and a radical redesign of factories.
Ford has inaugurated the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center in Germany at a cost of $2B to achieve its goal of shifting to all-electric vehicles in the European Union by 2030. The center will manufacture the fully-electric Ford Explorer and offer seven electric models in the EU by 2024. Ford aims to exceed the EU's target by switching to all-electric models before 2030 but faces tough competition from VW, Tesla, and Chinese producers.
South Korean automotive supplier Dayou AutoParts has completed the construction of a steering wheel factory in Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The factory aims to produce 1.2M steering wheels annually for North American automotive companies.
BASF Española has opened a new Technology Center in Marchamalo, Spain. The center focuses on researching and replicating the vehicle painting process.
This week, ZF broke ground on its new $142M E-mobility plant in Shenyang, China. The plant will produce parts such as electric axle drives and is expected to start phase one of production in March 2025.
Tesla is making changes at its Berlin plant, hiring fewer temporary workers and eliminating Saturday shifts, but it remains confident in meeting its production targets of 6k cars per week. The company has been reducing prices and offering incentives to boost demand.
Stellantis recalled over 331k Jeep Grand Cherokees over an issue with improperly installed rear coil springs.
President Biden vetoed a bill to reverse his administration's strict emissions limits for heavy-duty trucks, supporting EPA rules that aim to improve air quality and prevent premature deaths. The standards, 80% more stringent than current ones, cover various heavy vehicles and offer health and economic benefits. Republicans opposed the rules, citing implementation challenges and increased costs for small businesses.
French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Elon Musk to discuss the possibility of a Tesla factory in France. France is competing with other European countries to attract Tesla and is offering subsidies to become a hub for the EV industry.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, MEMA, and the Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Council are urging the FTC to enforce a new law that will prevent the sale of counterfeit auto parts online. The law, known as the INFORM Consumers Act, requires online marketplaces to gather and reveal information about their high-volume third-party sellers and allows consumers to report suspicious activity. These groups stress that counterfeit parts impede investments and advancements in vehicle safety.