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Elm Analytics - Automotive Supply Chain Risk Digest #165 - April 3 - 9, 2020
New car registrations in Britain dropped by 44% in March over coronavirus-related showroom closures. It is Britain's weakest March since the late 90s.
Honda and Nissan will temporarily stop paying all staff at their idled US plants, while Toyota will stop paying its workers employed by temp agencies in the region. The decisions will affect around 32k workers in the US.
Volkswagen will temporarily furlough all production and maintenance workers at its assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee starting on April 11. Employees will remain VW employees during the leave and, upon their return, will retain accrued paid time off and receive their first quarter and March bonuses.
ArcelorMittal will lay off workers at its Indiana Harbor steel mill in East Chicago, Indiana. The steelmaker will idle the mill's #3, #4, and #6 blast furnaces, leaving only four remaining blast furnaces in operation.
Driverless delivery vehicle startup Nuro received a permit in California this week to begin testing its vehicles on certain roadways. Nuro is only the second company in the state to be granted testing rights for cars without a human safety driver aboard.
The Beijing Auto Show, which was supposed to take place this month, has been postponed until late September due to the coronavirus.
A British court has ruled in favor of over 90k Volkswagen owners in a "dieselgate" class action lawsuit. The court found that emissions-cheating devices present in around 1.2m vehicles in Britain were a "fundamental subversion" of EU tests, and will decide later on compensation for the owners.
FCA recalled 365k vehicles mainly in North America over an issue that can cause the rearview camera image to stay illuminated longer than allowed.
MERGERS, VENTURES, ACQUISITIONS
BMW will start producing face masks in Germany to help protect its staff and the public from the spread of coronavirus. CEO Oliver Zipse said that they would soon be able to produce several hundred thousand masks per day.
GM secured a $489m contract from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services to build ventilators for the federal stockpile. The agreement calls for the automaker to supply 30k of the devices.
Japan declared a month-long state of emergency this week as the number of coronavirus infections continues to climb. Unlike many other countries, Japan is only issuing a stay-at-home request as opposed to an order, and violators will not be penalized.
Multiple US aluminum rolling mills and extrusion facilities have suspended operations due to the coronavirus, including Aleris, Arconic, Norsk Hydro, Novelis, and Constellium.
Electric truck startup Rivian is pushing back the launch of its inaugural vehicles to 2021 as the coronavirus halted retooling at its plant in Normal, Illinois. The automaker planned to release its first vehicles, a truck and an SUV, this year.
Brazil steelmaker Gerdau is making production cuts and temporarily shutting down one of its blast furnaces due to decreased demand as a result of coronavirus. Analysts say that turning blast furnaces "back on and managing them until they reach optimal production levels can take weeks, if not months."
March auto production and exports in Mexico fell by 25% and 12%, respectively. Sales of new vehicles also dropped by 25% compared to March 2019.
Mexico is asking the US and Canada to grant its auto industry more time to adapt its supply chains to the rules of the new USMCA trade deal. The deal could take effect on July 1, but Mexico is hoping to push the date back to January 2021.
The UK has delayed rolling out Clean Air Zones to allow the government to focus on COVID-19. The legislation limits the number of polluting vehicles during specific periods.
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