There were 108 projects in the first two quarters of 2009 compared with 196 projects during the same period last year, as lower demand for automotives reduces demand for car components.

However, although overall FDI projects in both the manufacturing and logistics/distribution sectors of the automotive industry have seen a decline, there has been an increase in the project market share for logistics/distribution, which includes supply chain management, rising from 2.5% in the first quarters of 2008 to more than 10% during 2009. The economic crisis has helped drive this increase, with automotive companies focusing more on storage projects for unsold inventory and the restructuring of distribution points.


Railroad operator Kansas City Southern and Norwegian transport company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics have teamed up to exploit this situation, announcing plans to launch a distribution centre in Texas for Nissan vehicles.

Even though the car industry as a whole has taken a hit during the economic crisis, companies have continued to invest in both brownfield and greenfield projects.

Toronto-based company Magna has confirmed that it plans to open a seating systems plant on the property once occupied by Chrysler Corp in Highland Park, Michigan, while Renault-Nissan has announced it will build up to four battery production facilities in Europe.

Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries will be opening a plant in China aiming to produce 50,000 units annually, while General Motors in Brazil (financially independent from the US company) plans to spend $1bn to develop two new car models. The new factory will create more than 1000 jobs.

Ginanne Brownell