Good news for car enthusiasts and the wider US economy – auto manufacturing has had its big rebound. Statistics reported by Reuters highlight a jump of 0.9% in total auto productivity earlier this year, and those small increments have continued to stack up into the end of August. One pertinent issue highlighted by Reuters that lies behind the automotive industry downturn is problems with the supply chain – but new events show that there’s going to be a little more resilience in the supply chain, much to the benefit of manufacturers.
One of the most important parts of most cars is titanium metal sheet plating. Used in everything from the engine block, to the panels, to the catalytic converter, there have been serious questions over the sustainability of the titanium supply chain due to the conflict in Ukraine. As Forbes highlights, most of the world’s titanium supply comes via Russia, whether at the source or through processing. However, with new options opening from China, Kazakhstan and Japan, there looks to be some sustainability in the market.
Building in cobalt
Another element crucial in carmaking, and especially in producing electric vehicles, is cobalt. There is a lack of reliable and easily accessed cobalt supplies worldwide, in addition to ethical questions over the extraction of the ore in countries such as Russia, meaning that suppliers have had to look to alternatives. These are finally being presented now, according to S&P Global, with analysts predicting a surge in cobalt availability worldwide.
Another aspect of the supply chain that needs attention, but is not material but personnel related, is digital transformation. As the MIT Technology Review highlights, there are significant demands in the automotive industry to embark on another series of modernisations. In order to achieve this, the industry needs a greater density of high-skilled workers. Finding these professionals, and putting them into the right positions, is the challenge that the industry faces – and one that must be completed alongside ongoing work in promoting the material supply chain.
The supply chain has challenged the ability of the automotive industry to be productive. With good news all over the horizon, that’s finally set to change. Enthusiasts and industry insiders alike will be pleased, and excited, to see this news, with the number of cars rolling off the lines set to increase again.