OK, you probably can’t decipher that. The news – this headline from Yomiuri – is the latest in the supplier antitrust cases that ring the world, from Japan and Korea through the US to Germany. Even China has gotten into the act, slapping fines on firms that charge “excessive” prices for OEM aftermarket parts, though that is a reflection of price discrimination (selling for what the market will bear) rather than collusion.
Back in the heyday of import tuner magazines, there was an ever-reliable advertisement for some kind of “electric turbocharger”, generally the kind seen above. Much like the “10x pheromones”, one couldn’t help but wonder who was buying enough of them that buying ad space was worthwhile.
Bosch is set to follow German OEMs like Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen and set up manufacturing facilities in Mexico. The investment, said to be worth as much as $544 million, will be good for 3,000 jobs, according to Reuters.
Battery firm Ener1/EnerDel, which recently brought the EV firm Th!ink back from bankruptcy, has lost the battery contract for Fisker’s Karma luxury EV. According to Schaeffersresearch, Ener1 “decided it would be better pursuing higher-volume battery supply deals when larger automakers begin rolling out their versions of electric cars.” Says Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer, “we have some capacity constraints on our side. We’re interested in high volume programs in the future.” The public story is that due to Ener1’s Th!nk tie-up, Fisker’s October sales roll-out was too much, too soon. The real story illustrates the complicated relationships emerging between EV firms and battery suppliers.
The Freep reports that creditors in Visteon’s bankruptcy are investigating Ford’s relationship with its spun-off supplier, implying that the Blue Oval could be responsible for its financial downfall. The creditors have requested the release of documents relating to Ford’s 2000 spin-off of its parts maker, and financial transactions between the two firms since then. They’re hoping to show that Ford forced losses onto the supplier, possibly securing better claims for creditors. The creditor committee motion explains:
Since the spin-off transaction, there has been no semblance of arm’s length bargaining between Visteon and Ford. Ford appears to have utilized its insider status to control Visteon to Visteon’s detriment.
Well, the “what makes an American car American” debate just got a little more interesting (and a lot more interesting than the “who ‘won’ the CTS-V Challenge” rigmarole). Automotive News [sub] reports that Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant and GM’s Delta Township plant have ceased production of Flex, Edge, MKX, MKT, Acadia, Traverse and Enclave as supplier Rico Automotive is unable to supply key transmission components. The reason for the parts stoppage: labor violence… in India. Turmoil at Rico’s plant in Gurgaron (30 miles from New Delhi) came to a head on the 18th, when clashes between temporary workers and factory staff left an employee dead. Now GM stands to lose 7,200 units of production, while Ford admits “several thousand” units won’t be built over the next week. This striking illustration of how globalized the auto industry is, is causing some analysts to question the wisdom of using Indian suppliers. They argue that labor unrest like this is common in the subcontinent, compounding already-challenging logistical and shipping-cost issues. But GM and Ford aren’t exactly about to stop investing in Indian firms and production capacity either, since that market shows more growth potential than the US. One thing is for sure: there’s no such thing as an “American car,” let alone an “American car company” anymore. Government ownership notwithstanding.