Sunday 19 January 2020

How it all fits together. But could so-called electric future shorten the supply chain?

Suppliers: the Peugeot graphic
Suppliers: the Peugeot graphic
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

We all know cars are complicated things with thousands of bits and pieces.

It has been estimated by Toyota that one of their cars has about 30,000 parts. That's if you count everything - right down to the smallest of screws.

This graphic, courtesy Syns and Peugeot Ireland, gives an idea of just how many suppliers there can be for a car (in this case the European Car of the Year Peugeot 3008 SUV).

It is stating the obvious, perhaps, but that huge number of suppliers translates into thousands of jobs - all over the place.

While Peugeot obviously make a large number of parts themselves, the graphic gives some idea of how far-flung a network of suppliers there can be.

We shouldn't forget either, that there are numerous Irish and Ireland-based companies in the automotive supply business.

Such reach and impact, of and by, the motor industry can often be overlooked or underplayed, especially at the moment when we are so hotly focused on diesel and the so-called electric future.

Part of that future is going to be how anticipated lower demand for fossil-fuel engines will impact on employment at manufacturing plants all over the world. It doesn't necessarily mean there will be fewer cars made (though some experts say that is necessary to unclog our roads and biospheres) but it could mean fewer parts are needed for them.

We are repeatedly told that cars of the future, especially electric, will require fewer bits and pieces.

Will fewer parts translate into fewer businesses, fewer jobs?

Or will our electric future generate a new, different sort of demand for parts, especially electronic and technological?

These are all issues and challenges that go hand-in-glove with the advancement of transport and a shift away from traditional modes of powering our cars.

So there are real human issues of employment and servicing to be taken into account as we move forward. And we mustn't lose sight of that.

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