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CAR | Center for Automotive Research CEO Discusses This Week's Hot Topics

Michigan Business Network
November 20, 2020 6:00 PM

carsThis week featured international headlines regarding the future of EV’s and clean energy while we grapple with the surge in COVID–19 cases in the U.S. and worldwide. We are also tracking changes in leadership in automotive and new automated vehicle partnerships. There is much to cover in this week’s email.

Before we discuss fossil fuel passenger vehicle bans and other hot topics today, I'd like to remind you that we would love to hear from you and welcome your questions. If you're interested in sharing your thoughts with us on hot topics, or if you would like to ask us a research question, please reach out to Katie Ramsburgh. If you missed last week's Hot Topics email, you may read it here.

As CAR will be observing the Thanksgiving holiday, I will be taking a brief break from Hot Topics next week. If you are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday next week, I hope that you and your families stay safe and well.

Hot Topics of 11/16/2020 - 11/20/2020:

Fossil Fuel Passenger Vehicle Bans and EV Incentives

My thoughts:

There are always two ways to manage human behavior changes and drive change: 1) carrot; 2) stick. We are seeing both applied in several of these initiatives. In general, incentives are the better way to go, and using the stick minus the incentives can backfire (not applicable to EV’s though). To achieve the sustainability initiatives of the Paris accords, these changes to ban ICE’s are needed.  However, the actual implementation of these overall goals is not so easy. First, technical hurdles need to be overcome, EV cost, and range. Significant progress has been made, and it will accelerate over the next few years before these edicts come into play. Second, infrastructure is much needed, and these charging stations need to be powered by clean energy sources to avoid shifting our carbon footprint. Third, we need to secure jobs in the powertrain development and manufacturing sectors in addition to the clean energy infrastructure. Training and reskilling are vital and must be part of the plan.
Overall, these are great initiatives for our planet.  The devil is in the details…more to come as we watch this unfold and research what is working well (and maybe what is not working well.)

COVID-19 Surge and Recovery

My thoughts:

There is excellent news here. The automotive industry has rebounded and has been able to stabilize production facilities with PPE, social distancing, and cleaning procedures. Yet, if the pandemic continues to grow in round 2, there will be more dealers and plants facing a shutdown. The critical point for employees and the general public is that we must wear a mask and keep our social distance, which is hard, as we humans like interaction. However, for the long run, we must keep our private and work lives in sync.

The biggest concern at the moment is our Mexico supply chain. The pandemic is hitting certain states there very hard, and we’ve already seen some disruption at GM plants as a result. Each company needs to take a hard look at their supply chain and determine, in the long term, what components should be double sourced, brought onshore, etc. I know companies are looking at this daily, and it’s a big challenge to determine these plans in this time of uncertainty.

AV Partnerships

My thoughts:

As was stated so very well by Carlos Tavares this week, there will be more partnerships. There are limited development dollars for all the technology that the customer is expecting.  Core competencies need to be shared. Components, which are indeed commodities, should be shared. Each company needs to think deeply about their brand identity, its human capital situation, and decide where and how to invest. It’s going to be fun to watch these partnerships evolve.

New Industry Leadership

My thoughts:

COVID is really making an impact on leaders and CEOs. Many people are seriously thinking about their lifestyle and that maybe there is a better way to spend their remaining years. COVID has also highlighted those companies that may not be in the strongest financial position, and people are shifting to those with a better balance sheet. Further, as companies slim down as a result of this pandemic – realizing that some of their budget items are not necessary, there will be consolidation within companies and CEO’s taking more scope.

Then, and rightly so, diversity and inclusion are being acted upon. I fully expect to see more diverse names emerge as company leaders and not just in the short term but also long-lasting. This move to greater diversity at the top will impact the bottom line of all companies who adopt this strategy and guarantee sustainability.

Bailo-2Best Regards,

Carla Bailo
President and CEO
Center for Automotive Research

Upcoming Webinars at CAR

Auto Industry X Series: Technology and Data

Friday, December 4, 2020  |  9:30 AM - 10:30 AM EST

Data drives Industry X, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the co-pilot. Manufacturing operations are creating far more data than is ever used. The underlying technologies that create, process, transmit, and store data have continued to advance at seemingly exponential rates while business processes have remained basically the same. Technologies and processes that capture, transmit, store, and analyze data are being implemented now. Making decisions based on that data is the next frontier. This session will explore how manufacturing companies are using data to make a difference.


Auto Industry X Series: Process

Friday, December 11, 2020  |  10 AM - 11:00 AM EST

Change is hard. Disruptive change is harder. Successful digital transformation requires more than a good strategy and adequate funding. It takes focus on process. Change Agents and Change Managers often drive successful Industry X implementations. This webinar will identify key characteristics for successful Industry X implantation.



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