Ford, Volkswagen could shift if EV credits charge up — Panjiva

Supply Chain Research

Ford, Volkswagen could shift if EV credits charge up

Canada 495 China 2976 Cons. Discr. - Autos 1183 Germany 244 Japan 604 Mexico 885 South Korea 580 U.S. 5322 USMCA 456

Canada and Mexico have issued warnings that potential tax credits for electric vehicle (EV) assembly in the U.S. may run afoul of USMCA, according to Inside U.S. Trade. The USMCA sets out rules-of-origin (ROO) requirements for cars to receive tariff reductions, and Canada and Mexico feel that the credits would undermine the commitment to regional content. Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier reportedly said in a letter that the credits should be changed to include incentives for all North American content and assembly.” The rules for automotive production under the agreement have already been a subject of contention, with Mexico and Canada wanting looser interpretations of the regulations. The continued chip shortage also complicates the negotiations, as vehicle production may not be back to pre-pandemic levels.

Imports of EVs to the U.S. have been surging. Panjiva data shows imports of pure electric cars and buses increased by 48.7% year over year in July and August, while imports of hybrids and plug-in hybrids — two other flavors of electrification — increased by 41.8% and 29.8% year over year, respectively, in the same period. These all likely reflect strong consumer demand for automobiles, as noted in Panjiva’s  research of Oct. 6.

Pure EV imports pass plug-in hybrids

Chart shows imports of electric vehicles by type on a monthly and three month average basis. Source: Panjiva

Canada and Mexico may have additional concerns about EVs as they represent a new, fast-growing market that their automotive production bases have an established history with. Defending that production is likely a high priority for the two governments, and the tax credits may represent a long-term threat. Mexico and Canada together represented 36.9% of U.S. pure electric car and bus imports through the first eight months of 2021. Germany was the second-largest importer by value, representing 34.1% of imports, while South Korea and Japan accounted for 9.2% and 3.2% of imports, respectively. Relatively few EVs were imported from China, accounting for only 2.1% of the total. 

Among automakers, Panjiva data shows that Ford has the largest share of seaborne EV imports so far in 2021 with 115 shipments, while Volkswagen has brought in 30 shipments of EVs. Both firms are likely watching the ROO developments closely in order to optimize their supply chains.

USMCA provides biggest EV charge

Chart shows imports of pure electric cars and busses by origin on a monthly basis. Source: Panjiva

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