Jaguar Land Rover expands UK plant
Jaguar Land Rover has announced this week that it will expand its workforce by 1,100 at its Castle Bromwich plant in the UK Midlands to work on output of a range of new products going into production this year, including the 2013 model year XF and XJ ranges.  The XF range will also see the addition of the XF Sportbrake derivative.
“The launch of our latest Jaguar models, including the new XF Sportbrake later this year, means it is a very exciting time for Jaguar,” said CEO Dr Ralph Speth. “These new models will attract new customers to the brand as we look to expand our global reach and further enhance our position in the market.”
The announcement has been welcomed by the UK’s Forum of Private Business which said it would benefit the whole West Midland’s supply chain.
However, Robert Downes, policy advisor at the Forum, warned that the supply chain would have to start planning now to meet the new demand and ensure the bulk of the parts manufacturing was delivered here in the UK.
"The resurgence in the UK car manufacturing industry means the auto supply chain is already near capacity, so further growth must come from new investment in this crucial sector,” he said.
"Manufacturers like being near suppliers, with high logistics costs only increasing end consumer prices. So improving supply chain finance is not only sensible but vital for the sector to continue growing and creating jobs."
Nissan to outsource production at Renault’s Korean plant
Japanese carmaker Nissan has announced it will use Renault’s joint venture plant with Samsung in Busan, South Korea, to meet increased demand for its vehicles led by the next-generation Rogue crossover, which will be made there from 2014. The Alliance is investing $160m in the plant to accelerate growth and meet annual capacity targets of around 80,000 units.
This year the plant aims to build about 180,000 vehicles for sale in Korea and 60 other countries.
Nissan's exports in January-June increased 19.4% year-on-year to 333,078 units with exports to North America up 29.7% year-on-year to 206,435 units, due to a rebound after the impact of the earthquake in Japan last year as well as increased demand for Rogue and Murano.
Exports to Europe decreased 8.6% year-on-year to 37,186 units.
For its part, Renault is expected to sell more than 50% of its vehicles outside of Western Europe in 2013, from 43% in 2011 and 37% in 2010.
The Busan plant builds Nissan-badged vehicles including the Sunny midsize and Almera compact models for markets in Russia and the Middle East. Its own brand vehicles are exported from South Korea for China and Europe amongst other markets.
FMCSA reviews crash score ratings
The US Department of Transport’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to address one of the sticking points in its 2010 Comprehensive Safety Analysis rules that are designed to improve truck driver performance.
As Dan Osterburg, senior vice president, Safety, Security and Driver Training at Schneider National, pointed out to Automotive Logistics News last year, the regulations risked giving an unfair assessment in the crash score ratings.
Crash reports do not include a determination of whether the motor carrier is responsible for causing the crash. So, currently a commercial driver and the carrier he or she works for can sustain points against them irrespective of whether the driver was to blame for a crash. Osterberg outlined an example then of someone who had decided to commit suicide by jumping in front of a truck. While the FMCSA was lenient in not publishing the point accrued by the incident, it remains what Osterberg described as “fundamentally unfair” that there is no distinction between culpability.
The FMCSA has now announced a focused initiative to analyze a process for updating the 100,000 annual State-reported crash records to include a determination of a motor carrier’s role in a crash.
The agency said that it recognised that additional crash data “might further sharpen the ability of the SMS to identify carriers that pose the highest risk”. Therefore, it is conducting a comprehensive analysis as part of what it is calling a Crash Weighting Research Plan.
The study will look at national performance and accountability reports (PARs) to determine their reliability for determining the carriers role in a given crash and what other information should be sued to supplement the PARs to improve this reliability.
The FMCSA will also conduct analysis to determine if the carrier’s role in a given crash is a better indicator of future crash risk. If so, the analysis will determine the impact of weighting crashes differently in the Safety Measurement System used to quantify motor carrier on-road safety performance.
In addition, the FMCSA said that  throughout the analysis, research will also be reviewed from similar programmes in other countries, including Canada, to understand their analysis, processes and applicability to SMS.
The executive summary of FMCSA’s Crash Weighting Research Plan is posted on the CSA website (
The results of this study will be available in the summer of 2013.
SAIC USA centre to handle purchasing and logistics
The US division of Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industries Corporation (SAIC USA) has opened its new North American Operations Center in Birmingham, Michigan.
 The 30,000 square foot, three story, which will eventually house nearly 100 people, will focus on three main areas of SAIC USA's automotive business. In the area of purchasing SAIC will focus on the sourcing of parts, materials and components from around 150 North American suppliers while its logistics focus will be on the export and import of parts between North  America and global suppliers.
The new business will also handle technology and engineering including design and quality control for development and production of vehicle parts and components.
A ceremony to mark the opening was attended by  senior executives from General Motors, SAIC Motor in Shanghai, major automotive suppliers and partners from the US and China, as well as the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder and Oakland country executive, L. Brooks Patterson.
Yusen Logistics seeks talent in UK
The UK division of Yusen Logistics has launched a  two year apprenticeship programme to provide a vocational grounding in the logistics industry covering planning, warehouse operation, transport and customer service.
The company said it is now looking for school leavers to join the apprenticeship scheme which will be based at its flagship Grange Park campus and which houses the UK logistics operations for many leading household names.
Full-time permanent positions will be available for candidates who successfully complete the programme.
“We’re a growing company and we’re committed to developing talent within our business,” commented regional general manager, Rob Shaw. “The UK logistics industry is worth over £96 billion ($148 billion) every year, and 1 in 12 jobs are now in the supply chain. It’s an area which offers great and varied career opportunities for young people with the ambition to succeed.”