In late December of 2011, Supply Chain Matters raised awareness to Japan based automotive OEM’s, specifically Honda, with plans to shift a major portion of export production capability from North America instead of from Japan. We have since updated readers on this strategy to include other automotive OEM’s. We did so because for our readers, it provides a valid example of a globally-balanced and flexible global manufacturing sourcing strategy along with proactive supply chain risk mitigation.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal featured a report on 2014 U.S. auto exports, one that confirms rather active evidence that North America auto production continues to be viewed for both domestic as well as global consumption.
The report indicates that U.S. auto exports in 2014 recoded a record for the third consecutive year. In 2014, approximately 2.1 million new cars and trucks were exported to other global regions, an 8 percent increase over that in 2013, according to the U.S. International Trade Association. According to the WSJ, about half of these exports are destined to Canada and Mexico with other countries of mention being China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Exported vehicles include brands such as BMW, Fiat-Chrysler, Daimler, Jeep, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. One cited example was the Jeep brand which shipped upwards of 316,000 of that maker’s Wrangler and Cherokee vehicles to export markets. A 50 percent increase from 2012 levels. BMW has plans to boost U.S. production of its X3 and other SUV line-up by 50 percent over the next two years.
The article further points out that while the U.S. dollar is currently strong, these exports efforts began when the dollar was weaker, and momentum has continued.
As we originally observed, the implication in these shifting manufacturing export trends is that U.S. automotive supply chains now cater to the product-unique needs and product demand strategies of certain export markets and there lies the importance of global product platform development strategies. There is the added need to dynamically plan and respond to constantly changing and different geographic market scenarios. The U.S. automotive supply chain ecosystem therefore benefits and has the continued potential to be globally competitive in margins and consumer fulfillment. The U.S. automotive supply chain further serves as a backup strategy to any major supply chain disruption that might occur in another region.
Whether the growing export trend continues in 2015 is obviously dependent on shifting and highly changing currency trends. However, the strategy and capabilities invested upwards of five years ago appear to be paying off.