Toyota is investing $391 million at its San Antonio truck assembly plant in an effort to better serve customers. The announcement comes as part of a broader commitment from Toyota to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over five years through 2021. The investment will make the plant more competitive in the long-term and more efficient while remaining flexible with multi-vehicle production capabilities by introducing various advanced manufacturing technologies. Separately, Aisin AW, a supplier to Toyota Texas and other automakers, will invest $400 million and bring 900 new jobs to a future facility in nearby Cibolo, Texas.
Fives received an order from Baosteel, the largest automotive steel producer in China, to supply the complete thermal portion for a continuous annealing line (CAL) with a production capacity of 630,000 tons per year. The CAL, which aims to produce both standard steel grades and advanced high-strength steels, includes a Stein Digiflex furnace and Celes induction heaters. The first coil is scheduled to be produced by the end of 2021.
Several topics seem to describe the state of the automotive industry at the moment: technology (AI), autonomous, electric and additive manufacturing. Let’s look at what’s happening in each of these areas.
Nucor Corp. acquired certain assets from Century Tube LLC. Based in Madison, Ind., Century Tube supplies carbon steel tubing for automotive and other mechanical and structural applications. The company offers round, square, rectangular, oval and other special welded shapes of mechanical steel tubing. Century Tube, which also supplies induction heat-treated tubes for automotive applications, operates from a 280,000-square-foot facility located on 33 acres.
It is widely known that graphite is used in the automobile and steel industries. Besides the classical markets, there are new and ever-growing markets, such as lithium-ion batteries, being driven by the megatrends of digitalization and the Internet of Things. Of global graphite production, 70% is being accumulated by China.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) plans to invest $4.5 billion in five of its existing Michigan plants and build a new assembly plant in Detroit. The proposed projects would create nearly 6,500 new jobs. The investment will increase capacity to meet growing demand for the company’s Jeep and Ram brands, including production of two new Jeep-branded white-space products as well as electrified models.
Ford Motor Company is investing $1 billion in its Chicago Assembly and Stamping Plants and adding 500 new jobs as it prepares to launch three new SUVs that go on sale later this year. The project, which will begin in March, will expand capacity for the production of the all-new Ford Explorer (including the Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid), the all-new Police Interceptor Utility and the all-new Lincoln Aviator.
General Motors suspended operations at 13 manufacturing facilities after a request by Consumers Energy in Michigan to allow the utility to manage supply issues brought on by the extreme temperatures and equipment issues. GM operations are suspended at the following Michigan manufacturing locations: Bay City Powertrain, Orion Assembly, Pontiac Stamping, Flint Assembly, Flint Stamping, Flint Engine, Flint Tool & Die, Lansing Delta Township Assembly, Lansing Grand River Assembly, Lansing Regional Stamping, Lansing Grand River Stamping, Saginaw Metal Casting Operations and Warren Transmission.