If auto manufacturing unit investments had been hobbled in 2020 by COVID-19-related fears and international enterprise uncertainties, 2021 might be referred to as the 12 months when automakers made up for misplaced time. The auto trade got here out of its pandemic doldrums, spending cash with a vengeance to create new manufacturing capability and jockeying for place in electrical merchandise.
The previous few months have witnessed manufacturing tasks on a daring scale, together with the most important U.S. funding in electrical autos at one time by Ford Motor Co.
“Electrification is driving a brand new wave of auto manufacturing unit funding,” mentioned Terni Fiorelli, assistant director of the Automotive Communities Partnership on the Heart for Automotive Analysis, a company in Ann Arbor, Mich., that tracks trade funding by way of its Guide of Offers.
“Final 12 months, half of the ten greatest automaker tasks in North America had been associated to electrical autos,” she mentioned. “This 12 months, all 10 of the highest 10 had been. And what you are seeing more and more are the established automakers stepping into it, whereas earlier than, a whole lot of EV investments had been coming from new firms.”
Automaking investments have all the time been costly. However there’s a new value issue at this time: Automakers aren’t merely including extra of what they had been producing — extra automobiles, extra engines, extra transmissions.
They’re as a substitute having to create an all-new product spectrum — new EV platforms, with new applied sciences to energy them and new elements to assemble them.
In the intervening time, battery crops are the tail wagging the canine in North American plant funding. Nearly each new meeting line for an EV now requires the development of recent battery capability. And that is not low cost. Battery-cell factories have been coming with value tags of greater than $1 billion.
Automakers are assured in spending at a better degree now as a result of the market is asking for it, mentioned Tom Stringer, managing director of the true property consulting agency and web site search advisory BDO Worldwide.
“That is all market-driven,” Stringer informed Automotive Information final week as he toured the newly accomplished Nikola Corp. electrical truck plant in Coolidge, Ariz., a venture on which he consulted. “Some huge cash is being spent on capability proper now as a result of that is what shoppers are saying they need. The time is true. The financial system is robust and the capital is offered to make it occur.”
Listed here are the ten largest automaker tasks introduced for North America throughout 2021, by greenback quantity, in response to the Heart for Automotive Analysis’s Guide of Offers.