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Hot Off the Press


Japan’s Impact on Automotive OEMs:
Ford OK, GM Not so Much

Friday, March 25, 2011
We spotted a couple of articles on the Internet offering different perspectives—short- and long-term--on how the crisis in Japan is impacting the automotive industry. Looking short-term, Ford is identified as the U.S. vehicle manufacturer that would see the least impact of any quake-related supply disruptions. Toyota, Nissan and Honda all “sustained heavy damage to their car and parts manufacturing plants,” the article says, adding that “General Motors expects supply-channel disruptions and that Toyota has warned that all 13 of its North American plants may soon run short of critical parts.”
Long-term, because Chinese factories operated by Honda, Nissan and Toyota all source 30 to 40 percent of their parts from suppliers in Japan, those companies are rethinking their sourcing strategies. A second article says that while those companies “were not motivated to localize production of key components in China,…the quake may change that if they face rising difficulties in supplying their China assemblers.” The article notes that the Japanese big three account for 23 percent of the Chinese market, and each has announced expansion strategies. Nissan, for one, aims to double capacity in China in 2012 and boost market share from 6 to 10 percent. And, Toyota expects to open a new auto plant in China by year-end.

Online Tool Helps Manufacturers
Manage Energy Use

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, WI, has developed a free online tool allowing manufacturers to analyze their consumption of water, air, gas, electricity and steam, benchmark energy consumption against other manufacturers and identify opportunities to improve. The tool employs a 20-min. online assessment to generate a report outlining a facility’s energy-management baseline. This allows companies to set improvement goals and implement strategic changes to their operations. Check it out at

Website Streamlines
Steel-Solutions Technology Transfer

Thursday, March 24, 2011
The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), Detroit, MI, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, has launched a new website designed to provide information about the North American steel industry’s market applications, research and reports on new-product advancements. Highlights of the new site, at, include research updates on applications for advanced high-strength steel in the automotive market; access to training opportunities in the construction market; and an expanded focus on steel’s environmental and sustainable advantages.


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