Supply Chain

Reuters | |

Rolls-Royce said on Thursday it had extended an exclusive deal to provide engines for the Airbus A350-900 to 2030, cementing its alliance with the European plane maker and deferring a potential challenge from rival General Electric.

Rolls already had a formal exclusive agreement to provide Trent XWB-family engines on the larger A350-1000 wide-body jet, and held what industry sources have described as “de facto” exclusivity on the stronger-selling A350-900 until 2025.

Reuters | |

Panasonic Corp will buy U.S. supply-chain software firm Blue Yonder for 700 billion yen ($6.45 billion), in the Japanese electronics firm’s biggest acquisition since 2011, The Nikkei reported on Monday.

Panasonic, which bought a 20% stake in Blue Yonder for 86 billion yen last year, is in the final stages of acquiring the rest of the stock from shareholders including Blackstone Group Inc, The Nikkei said, without saying where it obtained the information.

Kimberly Redmond | |

General Motors Company is looking to build a second battery factory in the US with South Korean joint-venture partner LG Chem.

According to reports, GM and LG Chem are “in advanced talks” with Tennessee officials to build “a state of the art battery cell manufacturing plant” near the automaker’s existing assembly plant in Spring Hill, one of three sites GM has designated to build electric vehicles.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Samsung Electronics Co is eyeing four sites in the US as possible locations for a new $17 billion cutting-edge semiconductor facility.

The South Korean maker of cell phones, televisions, computers and other technology products is considering one site in Austin, two in Phoenix and one in upstate New York for a chip-making plant and its planned 1,800 new jobs. 

Documents filed Feb. 26 with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts show Samsung is seeking a $1.48...

Reuters | |

General Motors Co said on Friday it would furlough all workers at one of its Brazil plants for 20 days in March for maintenance and updating of factory lines, leading to a suspension in production.

The plant, in Gravatai in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, produces the Chevrolet Onix compact car, which has been Brazil’s best selling car for several years in a row.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk said the electric car maker temporarily halted production at its lone US assembly plant in Fremont, California but has since resumed operations.

“Fremont shut down for two days (parts shortages) & restarted yesterday,” Musk tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Musk did not elaborate on what specific parts caused activity to stop, but supply chain issues involving semiconductors have caused production-line shutdowns for many automakers.

Reuters | |

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday aimed at addressing a global semiconductor chip shortage that has forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production and alarmed the White House and members of Congress, administration officials said.

The scarcity, exacerbated by the pandemic, will be the subject when Biden meets a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

AP News | |

Mike Bowen’s warehouse outside Fort Worth, Texas, was piled high with cases of medical-grade N95 face masks. His company, Prestige Ameritech, can churn out 1 million masks every four days, but he doesn’t have orders for nearly that many. So he recently got approval from the government to export them.

“I’m drowning in these respirators,” Bowen said.

On the same day 1000 miles (1,600 kilometers) north, Mary Turner, a COVID-19 intensive care nurse at a hospital outside Minneapolis, strapped on the one disposable N-95 respirator allotted for her entire shift.

Reuters | |

Asian chipmakers are rushing to expand their production capacity to meet a global shortage that has been acutely felt by carmakers, but the firms warn that the supply gap may take many months to plug as they struggle to keep up with strong demand.

Automakers from General Motors to Stellantis and Honda Motor are shutting assembly lines due to the shortages, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former U.S. administration’s sanctions against Chinese chip factories. Some firms have also furloughed staff.

Reuters | |

Qualcomm Inc shares fell 7.6% in after-hours trading on Wednesday as the company said that semiconductor supply constraints that have roiled the industry were hampering its sales growth.

The results come as chip shortages force automakers such as General Motors Co on Wednesday to cut production at multiple plants. While Qualcomm does not make the chips that are holding up automotive plants, the company works with some of the same chip contract manufacturers that are backed up. Qualcomm executives told Reuters that supplies will remain tight through the first half of 2021 without detailing the supply issue.