Japanese suppliers in U.S. and Canada: Expansion responses to OEM growth

Activities of Denso, Hitachi, IHI, JTEKT, Panasonic, Kasai Kogyo, H-one, and others

2015/03/24

Summary

米国の年次生産台数 This report summarizes the activities, including the enhancement of production capacities and production of new products, of Japanese parts suppliers in the U.S. and Canada in the eleven months up to mid-February 2015.

 U.S. vehicle sales in 2014 were 16.52 million vehicles (passenger cars and light-duty trucks), up 5.9% year-over-year (y/y). Sales also continued to expand in January and February 2015 and marked an increase of 9.2% y/y to 2.41 million units. 2015 vehicle sales  are forecasted at 17 million units (Please click here for vehicle sales forecast in the U.S. by LMC Automotive.).

 Automobile (passenger car and light-duty truck) production in the U.S. also expanded in 2014 to 11.36 million units, up 5.1% y/y. Production in January 2015 increased by 1.4% y/y to 882,000 units.

 Production volume by Japanese OEMs in 2014 showed a steady growth of 5.1% y/y to 3.82 million units. Each Japanese OEM is aiming to enhance its production capacity in North America to meet growing sales in the U.S. At the same time, European and U.S. automakers are placing more orders to Japanese parts suppliers.


 In line with these movements, Japanese suppliers are also enhancing their production capacities and sales activities. In particular, many suppliers are expanding their production capacities and launching new products that help reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency to comply with tighter fuel efficiency regulations. Meanwhile, some suppliers are starting local production of components that was imported from Japan as well as localization of a pre-process. Others are starting production of components that comply with safety/environmental regulations or for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Fields Type of investment Suppliers Products (* new products)
Weight reduction,
fuel efficiency improvement
Expansion of facilities
and production lines
IHI Turbo chargers
Aisin Chemical Wet friction materials for automatic transmissions (ATs)
H-One, F-Tech, and Topre Ultra-high-tensile materials
G-Tekt Hot stamping parts utilizing a new weight-reduction technology
Ahresty Aluminum die-casting
Kobe Steel Forged aluminum parts
Toyoda Iron Works Insulators using aluminum alloy
Denso Fuel pumps for gasoline direct-injection engines*
Toyota Industries Variable-displacement type compressors for car air-conditioning
NSK Electric power steering (EPS) systems
Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon fiber
Japan Polypropylene and Mitsui Chemicals Polypropylene
New companies/plants Asahi Kasei Resin compounds
Kobe Steel Aluminum panels/heat exchangers
JTEKT and Hitachi Automotive Systems EPS systems
Pacific Industrial Ultra-high-tensile material processing
Univance Continuously variable transmission (CVT) pulleys and all-wheel drive (AWD) transfer cases
Safety/environmental
regulation compliance
New plant Sekisui Plastics Shock absorbers, such as Piocelan
New company Daicel Replacement inflators*
Existing company Nisshinbo Brake Brake pads using non-asbestos organic*
Hybrid/electric vehicles New company Panasonic Lithium-ion battery cells*
Converting joint venture (JV) to subsidiary Ube Industries Electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries*


 Regarding business reinforcement, Kasai Kogyo and TS Tech are enhancing their headquarters functions in North America while MC Systems and Hitachi Metals are acquiring local companies. Other activities include business takeover by Denki Kagaku Kogyo from a U.S. company and consolidation of local subsidiaries by JVC Kenwood and The Yokohama Rubber.

 In the area of research and development (R&D) enhancement, H-One and Nippon Seiki are expanding their development centers, while Bridgestone has started operations at its research center for natural rubber. The Yokohama Rubber is planning to establish a development center in the U.S.


Japanese suppliers Related Reports:

* China (Part 1): Southern, Central and Southwestern regions (Jan. 2015),
  China (Part 2): East/North/Northeast regions and overview (Feb. 2015)
* India (Nov. 2014)
* Mexico: New plants built to satisfy OEM demand (Oct. 2014),
  Mexico and Brazil: Expanding capacity for local demand (Oct. 2014)
* Thailand (Sep. 2014)
* Indonesia (Jun. 2014), Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar (Jun. 2014)
* Europe (Jul. 2014), the U.S. (Apr. 2014)