04 October 2001 | Robin Parker
Restructuring of supply chains to cope with the impact of the US attacks could set the automotive industry back 10 years, said an industry analyst.
Peter Cooke, professor of automotive industry management at Nottingham Business School, said global manufacturers' movement towards single sourcing could be reversed.
"Manufacturers based in the US could become more insular," he warned. "The European operations could be forced to use suppliers only within the euro-zone and extra security could lengthen delivery times."
Cooke said the nature of the European automotive supply chain posed a problem. "Components are often distributed from east to west," he said. "We're going to see increasing numbers of people trying to escape to the west and thus extra security."
Ford closed its US headquarters and production plants for several days last month because of parts shortages, and cut its production forecast for the quarter by 110,000 vehicles.
Ford said European business was continuing, but orders for Ford Explorer engines have been cut significantly after the US plant was temporarily closed.