Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #159 - February 21 - 27, 2020
CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT
Aston Martin CFO Mark Wilson is leaving the company following a rough 2019 in which the automaker's losses ballooned in the wake of decreased sales. The automaker says that Wilson will step down no later than April 30.
GM's Cruise has received a permit in California for its autonomous vehicles to carry passengers. It allows the AVs to carry passengers as long as a safety driver is present, and there is no monetary compensation from the passengers.
Volkswagen will face its first US jury trial over its diesel emissions scandal next week in San Francisco, California. The lawsuit, set to start on Monday, will focus on claims by ten car owners and will help lawyers on both sides gauge the strength of other cases.
The National Labor Relations Board has opened an investigation into Fuyao Glass America in Moraine, OH, over sequences in a documentary where company officials appear to discuss firing workers for trying to unionize. The footage appeared in the Academy Award-winning documentary "American Factory."
Ford recalled 166k 2018-2020 F-150 trucks with LED headlamps over an issue with the daytime running lamps. Also, the automaker issued recalls for select 2015-16 F-150s related to a problem with the engine block heater cable and select 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty and 2021 Ford E-Series vehicles over a lacking amount of axle lubricant.
Kia recalled 193k cars and minivans over fuel leaks that can cause engine fires. The recall covers 142k 2013 and 2014 Optima midsize cars and 51k 2011 and 2012 Sedona minivans.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
Toyota is investing $400m into Silicon Valley/Guangzhou self-driving startup Pony.ai. Toyota has been working with Pony.ai since 2019 on public autonomous vehicle testing.
Honda is closing its plant in Santa Rosa City, Philippines next month. The closure will affect 387 employees at the plant.
Subaru is investing $158m into building a new transmission plant and service parts facility at its existing assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana. The automaker expects to add 350 jobs with the investment, bringing total plant employment up to 6.5k.
Canadian EV startup ElectraMeccanica has announced plans to build an assembly plant and technical center in the US. The automaker has not decided where it will build the facility but has narrowed its choices to seven potential states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Toyota's Chengdu, China plant restarted this week after delays due to coronavirus. Its joint venture plants in Tianjin and the provinces of Jilin and Guangdong came back online last week.
The Chinese government has issued directives to keep operations at Hubei firms shut down until March 11. Nissan confirmed its plants in Xianyang, Hubei Province, and Zhengzhou, Henan Province will remain closed. Honda plants in Wuhan will also remain suspended.
In addition, Renault and PSA Group are extending their Chinese plant shutdowns into March due to the effect of the coronavirus outbreak. Renault's factory in Wuhan will be closed until March 10, while PSA's plant there is scheduled to reopen on March 12.
FCA was able to retrieve crucial parts from MTA Advanced Automotive Solutions. The supplier is located in a coronavirus locked down area in Codogno, Italy. After receiving a waiver from the Italian government, FCA was allowed to send a truck. MTA supplies FCA's plants in Mirafiori, Cassino, and Melfi as well as its Sevel joint venture with PSA. Other customers include Renault, BMW, PSA Group, and Jaguar Land Rover. MTA produces electrical components like fuse boxes for FCA; however, MTA noted the parts are single-sourced.
Turin, Italy based Italdesign-Giugiaro closed its two facilities after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
Electronics maker Jabil says that the coronavirus has slowed its factories in the affected part of China to 65-70% of normal output.
FCA will move from three shifts to two at its Windsor, Ontario minivan plant in June 2020. The move, announced in 2018, has been pushed out multiple times. The dropped shift will affect 1.5k employees.
NHTSA suspended passenger operations for 16 of France's EasyMile autonomous shuttles in Columbus, Ohio. Last week a passenger fell from a seat while the shuttle made an emergency stop while traveling 7mph. The autonomous shuttles began public use earlier this month.
Self-driving car companies such as GM's Cruise and startup Aurora are criticizing the state of California's reporting requirements on test data, saying that it can be misleading in regards to their technical progress. They argue that the disengagement metric is not an accurate or relevant way to measure their technological progress, even though it is widely used to do just that.
Foley & Lardner in National Law Review:
FCA is restricting access to its European plants following an outbreak of coronavirus cases in Italy.
Hyundai Australia is facing lengthy delays in delivering new vehicles to dealers due to parts shortages caused by coronavirus-related factory shutdowns in China. A bulletin from the automaker to its dealers warned that half of the models expected in the next few months could be delayed and that dealers should notify customers of a potentially long wait.