Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #133 - August 23 - 29, 2019
As part of a compliance crackdown in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, VW has fired 204 employees for breaching company rules in the first quarter of 2019. Half of the terminations involved work-time violations such as unexcused absences, property offenses, and discrimination.
Researchers in India have developed the world's first iron-ion battery. The new type of battery offers up the promise of a low-cost, stable alternative to lithium-ion batteries, but still has to undergo further testing and optimization.
Ford workers in Louisville, Kentucky have voted to authorize a strike in the even that labor contract negotiations end up deadlocked. The tactic is relatively standard and does not necessarily indicate an imminent strike.
Hyundai Motor and its South Korean workers' union have reached a tentative agreement. The union staged a strike to get a better wage deal from the company.
Federal prosecutors charged former Google Waymo executive Anthony Scott Levandowski with stealing 14k documents.
VW is recalling 679k cars in the US over a potential rollaway problem. The recall covers some 2011-2018 Jettas; 2015-2019 GTIs; 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 Golfs; 2012-2019 Beetles and Beetle Convertibles; and 2017-2019 Golf Sportwagens.
The FBI has raided the homes of UAW leaders in four states, including the home of UAW President Gary Jones, as part of its widening probe into UAW corruption. The raids at six locations in MI, CA, WI and MO uncovered evidence including "wads" of cash and files that could bolster federal investigations.
Kia is recalling over 30k Telluride SUVs in the US to replace incorrect seat belt assemblies installed in the vehicles. The recall covers Tellurides made between Jan. 9 and Aug. 5 of this year.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Dana Inc. has acquired electric powertrain maker Nordresa Motors. Dana says the acquisition will help support its transition to full-electric powertrains.
Toyota is teaming up with self-driving tech company Pony.ai to develop self-driving and autonomous car technology in China. The stated goal of the partnership is to provide "Safe mobility services for all."
Additionally, Toyota and Suzuki have announced a new partnership to develop self-driving car technology. As part of the deal, Toyota will take a 4.9% stake in Suzuki and Suzuki will make a $454m investment in Toyota.
Japanese supplier DaikyoNishikawa broke ground on a new $110m plant in Huntsville, Alabama this week. The plant is being built on the campus on the new 3.1m sf Mazda-Toyota assembly plant and will produce plastic parts.
Continental is considering shutting down as many as 9 of its 32 production sites.
A power outage in Denver, Colorado caused Nissan's NNANet to crash. The system is used with dealers for processing cars orders, parts, recalls and warranty claims. The system was down for four days.
The US and Japan have reached a "broad framework" of a trade agreement. The US will reportedly maintain tariffs on Japanese autos while Tokyo will cut tariffs on US beef and pork.
In response to US tariffs, China is moving ahead with $75b in retaliatory tariffs on US imports. Part of the duties are a 25% tariff on cars and a 5% tariff on auto parts starting Dec. 15.
The Chinese government is expected to reinstate credits for purchases of new energy vehicles. The move is an attempt to stoke the economy and offset the effects of US tariffs.
Thailand's government is expected to pass a budget that will boost steel demand. The move should increase low steel plant utilization rates.
BMW, Mercedes, and Ford may have the highest risk exposure as a result of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. China announced last week that it would impose tariffs on $75b worth of US goods by year's end.
The American Logistics Aid Network has set up a web resource for Hurricane Dorian. ALAN is an industry-wide organization that exists to provide supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations (and other non-profits).
Amid a deepening political and economic feud between the two countries, South Korea's LG Chem is pushing to decrease its reliance on battery parts sourced from Japan. Earlier this week, Tokyo dropped South Korea from its "white list" of favored trade partners.