Europe’s automakers scramble to replace Ukrainian auto parts
BMW also said it is in “intensive talks” with suppliers to find alternative sources for parts, while Stellantis said it has already shifted its sourcing from Ukraine to elsewhere in Europe, declining to say where.
Nick Klein, a vice president at global logistics firm OEC Group, said automakers who have relied on Ukraine will need to move fast.
“You will need to order way ahead of time, because you will face delays, and carmakers will be competing against each other for the same sources,” said Klein, who specializes in automotive logistics.
Western Ukraine, with its low-cost, highly skilled workforce and proximity to Europe’s car factories and a wealth of raw materials, has grown into a major production hub for wire harnesses, with Japan’s Fujikura and France’s Nexans among those producing there.
Some manufacturers, such as Fujikura, have suspended Ukrainian production altogether since the invasion, while others are operating at reduced capacity. Neither Fujikura nor Nexans replied to requests for comment on their plans.
Moving production to plants in other low-cost markets with a vibrant wire harness industry, like Romania, Serbia or Tunisia, involves buying new equipment to boost capacity, which could take months to install.
According to industry sources, suppliers and automakers are discussing who will pay the bill. Automakers interviewed for this story would not name their suppliers.