Auto thought leader on need to build Tier 2 and 3 suppliers as local content falls

The South African automotive industry is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the details of government’s new support programme, the Automotive Masterplan, which is set to guide the industry’s investment activities from 2020 to 2035.

in Engineering News, by Irma Venter, 24-08-2018

The masterplan will perhaps be South Africa’s most challenging yet to be conceived, as it would have to cement the domestic industry’s position in a rapidly changing and ever-more competitive global environment.

It is expected that the automotive landscape will change significantly during the next 20 years through the introduction of alternative drivetrains, such as in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen vehicles, the continued shrinking of the internal combustion engine and the anticipated launch of the self-driving vehicle.

The automotive industry is South Africa’s biggest manufacturing sector. The broader industry contributed 6.9% to South Africa’s gross domestic product in 2017.

The lead consultant on the development of the masterplan and associated policy recommendations is B&M Analysts chairperson Dr Justin Barnes.

He was also responsible for the development of the current support programme, the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), along with the University of Cape Town’s Professor Anthony Black, while also participating in various reviews of the Motor Industry Development Programme, the programme prior to the APDP.

Two of the biggest challenges the masterplan would have to address are the depressed demand for new vehicles in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the diminishing levels of local parts content of vehicles made in South Africa and exported to markets abroad, Barnes tells Engineering News.

He also emphasises that the masterplan does not replace the APDP, but instead is the new strategic plan for the long-term development of the South African automotive industry.

The APDP operates within the framework of the masterplan, as do interventions in a number of other focus areas, he explains. Barnes says the policy framework post-2020, when the APDP is set to come to an end, is presently being finalised, with the masterplan framing the policy direction to be taken.

The South African auto industry was the twenty-second-biggest vehicle manufacturing hub in the world in 2017, producing 601 000 units, and exporting 338 000.

Capital expenditure by vehicle and components manufacturers reached R12.2-billion in 2017.

Local Content
Barnes’ research indicates that local content on made-in-South Africa vehicles declined from 46.6% in 2012 to 38.7% in 2016.

This means that, on average, more than 60% of all the parts on vehicles built in and exported from South Africa were imported into the country, and not made here.

The target set in the masterplan by the South African motor industry is 60% local content.

Local content below a certain threshold increases the local industry’s reliance on imported parts, which is affected by exchange rate fluctuations and, subsequently, cost variations. A large volume of imported parts also leaves the industry at the mercy of the sometimes fickle global supply chains.

There are also a number of things imported parts do not do: they don’t create the jobs required by a multibillion-rand government incentive programme, and neither do they increase global competitiveness, facilitate technology transfer or deepen industrialisation.

The calculation of local content is simple, explains Barnes.

It is the selling price of all vehicles produced in South Africa (for domestic and export consumption), minus the cost of all the imported content used in these vehicles.

“The figure is, therefore, true local content and does not exclude any components or subsystems.

“We presently sit on about 38% local content in South African assembled vehicles, while our leading developing economy competitors, such as Thailand and Turkey, are [at] around the 60% mark – hence, the 60% aspirational target of the masterplan.

“The local automotive industry has the potential to make up 1% of global production by 2035 (up from the 0.6% presently),” says Barnes.

“In aggregate terms, this would equate to 1.4-million units of production by 2035.

“If we get to 60% local content (from the 38% base), then we could double employment over the period, even after factoring in substantial annual productivity improvements from improved scale economies being realised.”

However, this may be easier said than done.

The South African automotive industry supply chain faces the problem that it is concentrated around the vehicle manufacturers (original-equipment manufacturers, or OEMs) and Tier 1 components suppliers.

Tier 1 components suppliers are, typically, large multinational companies supplying subassemblies, consisting of many parts, to the vehicle manufacturer’s assembly line.

The South African automotive industry currently suffers from the significant underdevelopment of the smaller Tier 2 and 3 components suppliers that supply Tier 1 suppliers, says Barnes.

Many of the increased localisation and job creation opportunities lie within Tier 2 and 3 suppliers, he explains.

In a normal global vehicle supply chain, the OEM would be responsible for 20% of value addition, with Tier 1 suppliers at 30% and the remaining tiers at 50%.

In South Africa, however, the OEM is responsible for 40% of the value addition, with Tier 1 suppliers also at 40%, and the remaining tiers at 20%.

In addition to this, the components industry also faces the challenge that local ownership in the South African automotive industry has been declining.

Also, there are a number of technical barriers to the localisation of parts currently imported, such as low production volumes, which means there are limited economies of scale and local technological capabilities.

Supply does follow demand, says Barnes, but competitive supply creates more demand opportunities.

“The challenge to building the tiers of the South African automotive value chain is twofold. Firstly, we need to resolve the binding constraint that limits many value chain opportunities, which is the limited scale of operation in most South African production segments – we need more volume.

“Secondly, we need to further advance production and product capabilities within the value chain.”

Barnes adds that there are a host of programmes working to support the development of lower-tier suppliers.

“These need to be bolstered so that base capabilities are advanced.”

Barnes believes there is space for black economic empowerment in the local automotive supply chain, as is increasingly being punted by government.

“The automotive value chain at Tier 2 and 3 level still has space for South African capital, with small pockets at the Tier 1 level as well, although multinational dominance is likely to consolidate, especially if major growth occurs regionally.

“This is potentially positive for black economic empowerment, given the enhanced potential for skills transfer, technology spillovers, and the expansion of Tier 2 and Tier 3 activities as local content deepens.”

In short, Barnes believes that there is “huge potential” for further localisation and supply chain development in South Africa, but he also acknowledges the significant challenges.

He adds, however, that the long-term success of the local automotive industry depends on more than local content and industrial policy. It also requires a domestic and regional economy with a much larger appetite for vehicles built in South Africa.

Healthier SA, Regional Market Required
Unlike competitor economies that have stronger domestic markets and large regional markets, South Africa has suffered from difficult market conditions, notes Barnes.

“We have a small, poorly performing domestic market and a massively under- developed sub-Saharan African market.”

“Until we have more substantial domestic and broader regional demand, we are unlikely to establish ourselves as a more prominent global automotive production base.

“Good industrial policy is a necessary, but insufficient, condition for this to happen.”

Barnes says one of the core themes of the masterplan is to stimulate both demand and supply-side capabilities.

He says South Africa has latent demand for about 2.2-million new vehicles a year, assuming developed economy levels of per capita income and improved wealth distribution.

“This means we have a massively underperforming domestic market. If the domestic economy improves at a reasonable rate through to 2035, there is no reason why we should not be consuming (buying) 1.2-million new vehicles a year domestically by 2035,” he explains.

“Remember, we consumed over 700 000 vehicles in 2006. We have had a lost decade since then, but there is still considerable demand potential in the domestic market.”

The sub-Saharan Africa opportunity is even more significant, with latent demand for a few million units a year, adds Barnes.

As an example, India, with a similar sized economy and wealth profile to the region, sells more than four-million vehicles a year.

“The challenge in sub-Saharan Africa is that vehicle demand is being met through the large-scale importing of preowned vehicles at sub-economic – in other words, dumped – values,” says Barnes.

“This is an unrecognised environmental and economic disaster for the subcontinent. As in Asia or South America, there are major regional market and production opportunities if regional markets and value chains can be better coordinated.

“A serious opportunity exists for the creation of a regional automotive production hub and market dynamic that are good for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. All the evidence points in this direction.”

The Future Is Large Scale, and Worth It
The future of the automotive industry in South Africa is large-scale vehicle production with high levels of local content and significant employment multipliers, summarises Barnes.

“It requires the types of vehicle assembly operations we mainly have in the country, with each plant employing many thousands of South Africans within their operations and through their value chains. This type of assembly represents the real value of an automotive industry to an economy; hence, the importance of the South African automotive industry to South Africa.”

Barnes believes South Africa receives much more from the automotive industry than the costs associated with the government support it receives.

“The automotive industry’s direct value addition impact on the South African economy is multiple times the level of support it receives from government, most of which is paid in the form of duty rebates, rather than direct fiscal costs.

“That is the first order of economic impact. Once you factor in second- and third-order economic effects, the industry’s economic contribution massively outweighs the support received.

“The APDP is clearly one of South Africa’s better industrial policies. It has ensured the industry continues to employ over 110 000 South Africans, many in highly skilled jobs, that our vehicles are competitively priced, and that foreign direct investment [continues] to flow into the industry, despite weak demand conditions.”



ECS Capital vende Inapal aos japoneses da Teijin

A tecnológica nipónica Teijin finalizou no início de Agosto a compra da Inapal, fabricante portuguesa de componentes para automóveis. Tanto a Teijin como a ECS Capital, responsável pela gestão do Fundo Recuperação que em 2010 adquiriu a fabricante lusa de componentes automóveis, confirmaram a operação.

in Negócios, 22-08-2018

A empresa japonesa Teijin Limited e a ECS Capital anunciaram esta quarta-feira, 22 de Agosto, que no início do presente mês chegaram a acordo para adquirir a Inapal Plásticos, uma fabricante portuguesa de componentes automóveis que tem em Portugal duas unidades de produção, uma em Leça do Balio e outra em Palmela, junto ao parque industrial onde está a Autoeuropa. A ECS Capital era até aqui responsável pela gestão do Fundo de Recuperação que em 2010 adquiriu a Inapal Plásticos.

Em comunicado publicado na respectiva página oficial, a Teijin explica que a compra da empresa portuguesa foi realizada através da sua filial sediada na Holanda, a Teijin Holdings Netherlands, tendo a operação ficado concluída já depois de obtida a necessária aprovação dos reguladores. Já em nota enviada às redacções, a ECS Capital revela que as duas empresas “acordaram a transacção da Inapal Plásticos”.

“Com a operação, a Inapal Plásticos irá desempenhar um papel essencial na estratégia de transformação da Teijin para expandir o seu negócio na Europa e tornar-se um fornecedor multi-materiais de componentes. A Teijin vai continuar a desenvolver e potenciar as operações da Inapal Plásticos, investindo no crescimento da empresa e procurando criar valor para todos os stakeholders, nomeadamente colaboradores, parceiros de negócio e clientes”, revela o comunicado da ECS Capital.

Entre os principais clientes da empresa portuguesa contam-se marcas como a Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Bentley, Volkswagen e Jaguar, espalhados por países como Portugal, Alemanha, França, Espanha, Itália ou Brasil. Em 2017, Inapal registou vendas no valor de 31,9 milhões de euros.

“A compra da Inapal permite-nos cumprir o nosso compromisso para com os accionistas de expandir a nossa tecnologia numa lógica global, incluindo na Europa”, explicou em comunicado Jun Suzuki, CEO da Teijin, realçando que vai procurar sinergias com outras duas empresas europeias detidas pela cotada nipónica e que operam no sector dos componentes automóveis, a Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) e a Ziegler. O objectivo da Teijin é que as operações relacionadas com componentes automóveis atinjam vendas de 1,7 mil milhões de euros até 2030.

O grupo Teijin detém 170 empresas em todo o mundo e um total de cerca de 19 mil trabalhadores em 20 países para um total de activos avaliados em torno de 9 mil milhões de dólares no ano fiscal findo a 31 de Março de 2018.

Em 2017, a Inapal venceu um prémio atribuído em parceria pela EDP Energia Eléctrica e Ambiente e pelo Negócios na categoria indústria, premiando a eficiência energética.


Empresas obrigadas a identificar até abril de 2019 os verdadeiros donos

Nos primeiros meses do próximo ano, todas as sociedades, fundações e associações têm de preencher um formulário a identificar quem são os seus beneficiários efetivos. Calendário tem dois prazos

in Expresso, por Elisabete Ferreira, 21-08-2018

Sociedades por quotas, sociedades anónimas, fundações, cooperativas, ‘trusts’ registados na zona Franca da Madeira: entre janeiro e abril ou, no máximo, junho do próximo ano, todos serão obrigados a comunicar à Justiça os seus beneficiários efetivos, isto é, quem são as pessoas singulares que, no topo da cadeia de participações, são donos do capital ou exercem verdadeiramente o controlo da entidade.

A comunicação faz-se através do preenchimento de um formulário eletrónico a disponibilizar pelo Instituto de Registos e Notariado, que gere todo o processo, e alimentará o Registo Central do Beneficiário Efetivo (RCBE), uma base de dados que é a pedra angular das novas regras de prevenção do branqueamento de capitais.

A criação deste RCBE estava previsto desde setembro de 2017 (foi criado pela lei 89/2017) mas os atrasos na sua regulamentação acabaram por ditar sucessivas derrapagens nos prazos que as empresas e outras entidades têm para cumprir as suas obrigações.

À luz do calendário publicado esta terça-feira em Diário da República, o processo de comunicação inicia-se em janeiro de 2019 e prevê duas fases: as entidades sujeitas a registo comercial (a generalidade das sociedades ou as cooperativas) têm de concluí-la até abril de 2019, e as outras entidades têm até junho de 2019 (estão em causa por exemplo associações ou fundações).

Na prática, estas obrigações vêm exigir que as entidades olhem para a sua cadeia de participações e vão até ao fim para conseguirem dar um rosto ao capitalista ou capitalistas que estão no topo, e controlam verdadeiramente as empresas.

O exercício pode ser simples em estruturas empresariais mais pequenas, mas pode revelar-se um quebra cabeças noutros casos (pense-se por exemplo na sociedade A que é detida pela sociedade B, que por sua vez é detida pela C num território estrangeiro e por aí adiante).

O conceito de beneficiário efetivo também encerra alguma ambiguidade, já que é beneficiário efetivo quem controla direta ou indiretamente pelo menos 25% de uma estrutura, mas também toda aquela pessoa que efetivamente domina a empresa ou a entidade, o que não tem necessariamente uma tradução quantitativa.

A lei prevê sanções pesadas para quem se mantiver à margem do processo e não preencher a declaração inicial nem subsequentemente faça uma validação anual da informação.

As empresas enfrentam multas, ficam impedidas de distribuir dividendos, não podem manter negócios com o Estado ou beneficiar de fundos europeus. Os sócios também poderão ser diretamente responsabilizados, prevendo-se “amortização das respetivas participações sociais”, que na prática se traduz na possibilidade de a sociedade ficar com a participação do sócio, pagando-lhe o valor de balanço, que pode ser muito inferior ao valor de mercado.

Uma vez constituído, o RBCE português passará a estar ligado em rede às outras bases de dados europeias, podendo ser consultado pelas entidades que têm deveres especiais de vigiar indícios de lavagem de dinheiro (bancos, notários, imobiliário) e até por cidadãos (embora com um nível de acesso mais limitado).

Será igualmente uma importante ferramenta para a Autoridade Tributária e o Ministério Público, que passarão a poder cruzar informação e mais facilmente seguir o rasto ao dinheiro e cruzar informações para detetarem indícios de ocultação de património.



Electric cars: the race to replace cobalt

Manufacturers want batteries that are not dependent on metals from unstable parts of the world

in Financial Times, by Henry Sanderson in Boston, 20-08-2018

In a laboratory on an industrial park an hour’s drive outside Boston, Tufts professor Michael Zimmerman is hoping a material he invented in his basement can help solve a crisis facing the electric car industry — which has inadvertently tied its fortunes to one of the poorest and least stable countries in the world.

In between his teaching, Mr Zimmerman runs start-up Ionic Materials, whose battery material could mark the future for the car industry as it races to go electric after a century of producing petrol cars. His hope is that his homegrown prototype could pave the way for a new generation of batteries that does not use cobalt, a silver-grey metal, more than 60 per cent of which is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Backed by highly respected computer scientist and investor Bill Joy, who spent years searching for the perfect battery, Ionic counts the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi carmaker alliance, Hyundai and French oil company Total among its shareholders.

“The world wants to electrify vehicles,” Mr Zimmerman says in his office across the car park from a shopping mall. “I’ve never seen such a massive industry say [it wants] to completely switch technologies. Every single company, government and country — they all want to do it worldwide.” The list of Ionic’s backers reflects increasing concerns among carmakers over current battery technology and its reliance on the DRC. Cobalt supply is dominated by a handful of mining companies, including Switzerland-based Glencore, or mined by hand and sold to Chinese traders in the country. Child labour is common, according to human rights groups.

In other words, the product that is the shining hope of the new economy is — for the time being — highly dependent on some of the most-criticised practices of the old industrial economy. For many experts, the battery will reign supreme in this century — just as oil did in the last.

Batteries power our everyday digital lives, from our iPhones to our laptops. But they are also key for electric cars to replace petrol-powered vehicles and for some types of renewable energy. Without them, it will be much harder for the world to end its addiction to fossil fuels and limit the impact of climate change. But batteries are complicated to produce and contain a delicate mix of chemistries that have to meet a demanding list of performance requirements. Customers expect fast charging, a long battery life and safety — and in conditions ranging from the cold winters to the heat of the Arizona desert.

Without a big shift in battery technology, cobalt demand is set to more than double during the next decade — with the share from the DRC set to rise to more than 70 per cent. Gleb Yushin, a professor at the School of Materials and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, puts it more bluntly: the potential growth of electric cars will not materialise, he says, unless there is a battery breakthrough.

“There will be no EV industry without DRC cobalt,” says Caspar Rawles, who tracks the market for London-based consultancy Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. “Without the DRC, this ramp-up in EVs won’t happen.”

Mr Zimmerman began thinking about batteries five or six years ago, just as electric vehicles were starting to gain traction and the first Teslas were becoming popular. Back then, cobalt was a niche metal mainly used in jet engines and smartphones.

Since then sales of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid versions have grown from about 6,000 cars in 2010 to 1m cars sold last year, or about 1 per cent of annual sales. There will be a further 340m electric vehicles (including passenger cars, trucks and buses) produced between now and 2030, according to analysts at McKinsey.

That has led to an increase of battery factories. The number of “gigafactories” under construction, named for the gigawatt hours of batteries they can produce each year, has increased tenfold over the past eight years to 41, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Simon Moores, the founder of the company, says the battery is destined to become the “oil barrel of the 21st century”.

Discovered by 96-year-old American professor John Goodenough while he was at Oxford university in 1980, the lithium-ion battery has proved pivotal for 20th century science and technology, paving the way for portable electronic devices from camcorders to smartphones. It has also become the standard choice for electric cars, which use hundreds of battery cells placed together in packs that resemble metal briefcases, and weigh up to 600kg.

But since Sony commercialised lithium-ion technology in 1991 there have been few substantial improvements in the technology, Mr Zimmerman says. He believes the battery that powers our world may have reached its limit.

“Everyone wants their smartphone to last longer and their car battery to not blow up,” he says. “My belief is that lithium-ion batteries are at a dead-end right now; there’s really no further improvement that can be made with the current technology.”

Battery cells rely on four main parts: a positive and negative electrode, a separator and a liquid electrolyte. The positive electrode, or cathode, is coated in a carefully processed metal oxide slurry that in most cars includes lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese. When the battery is discharged, lithium ions flow to the cathode generating a flow of electrons and electricity. When the battery is recharged they flow back to the anode, the negative electrode, which is normally made of graphite.

Cobalt is essential for stopping the battery from overheating and the stability it brings to the battery materials also allows users to charge and discharge their car over many years. But it is also the most expensive of the metals used — hindering the ability of carmakers to lower the cost of electric cars to compete against their petrol counterparts.

Analysts at Liberum, the London-based brokerage and investment bank, estimate that the cost of cobalt in a kilogramme of battery cathode material is about $12, compared with $8 for lithium and $5 for nickel. Metals account for about 25 per cent of the battery cost, they estimate. While new sources of cobalt are being developed in Idaho, Alaska and Australia, they are not due to produce metal until after 2020.

Mr Zimmerman, a materials scientist, started to look at a relatively unexplored area of research — the electrolyte, which is generally what catches fire in batteries. If a solid material instead of a liquid were used, so the theory goes, the batteries could be safer and lighter. It could also allow carmakers to reduce the amount of cobalt in the cathode or even, he says, eliminate it entirely.

The first electrically conductive solid electrolyte was discovered in the 1830s by British scientist Michael Faraday but it had never worked in a battery at room temperature. Working in his basement Mr Zimmerman created a polymer material that could do just that.

“It was a really ugly piece of plastic in a roll with little pinholes in it everywhere, but you had to say ‘wow’,” recalls Mr Joy, who was searching for a solid state battery technology while at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. “This is just amazing that it demonstrated feasibility of a property that had been sought for so long.”

Carmakers from Toyota to Mercedes-Benz and the British engineering group Dyson are working on so-called solid state batteries like Mr Zimmerman’s and there were about $400m of investments in the technology in the first half of the year, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie. They forecast that such batteries will make up the majority of electric car technology by 2030 but will not enter the market until 2025.

“There are still a number of challenging problems in order for an all solid state battery to be a commercially viable proposition,” says Peter Bruce, a professor in the department of materials at Oxford university. “But they are now being addressed.”

Ionic is one of a number of start-ups hoping to commercialise the next battery breakthrough. It is a field that has seen its fair share of failures, such as the bankruptcy of Pittsburgh-based saltwater battery company Aquion Energy, which raised money from Bill Gates and Kleiner Perkins, in March last year.

In the meantime, battery companies are racing to reduce the amount of cobalt they use with conventional technology. Yoshio Ito, the head of Panasonic’s automotive business, which supplies Tesla, told reporters in Tokyo last month that it aims to decrease the use of cobalt in Tesla’s EVs in two to three years. Tesla has said the company was “aiming to achieve close to zero usage of cobalt in the near future”.

Most carmakers are moving towards batteries that use more nickel and as much as 75 per cent less cobalt. These products are expected to pick up market share over the next few years.

Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, says cobalt can be reduced using liquid electrolyte chemistries. “Ionic Materials is one pathway to making low cobalt cathodes but a liquid electrolyte pathway is also something that many battery makers are working on and have feasible solutions,” he says.

Yet, even with a shift to lower cobalt batteries, demand for the metal is still expected to more than double by 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie. “Zero cobalt is hard, low is possible, [but] zero is very tricky at this point,” Mr Viswanathan says.

For his part, Mr Zimmerman says the low-cobalt batteries still come with a considerable fire risk that will require expensive monitoring technology.

In his small study he plays videos on his laptop of nails going into the latest low-cobalt cathodes with liquid electrolytes, which he calls the “nail penetration test”. There’s smoke, fire and “bad things about to happen”, he says, as we watch the cells catch fire in a metal chamber. In such fires toxic gases are produced that require fire crews to wear specialist clothes. “It’s just fundamentally unsafe,” he says.

“The cobalt is expensive — and it gets mined from unethical sources in the Congo, so people want to put less cobalt in,” Mr Zimmerman adds. “When you put less cobalt in, the voltage of the cathode goes up and the current liquid electrolytes can’t work at that higher voltage. But our polymer can.”

Ionic says it has tested its polymer material with cathodes that have either little cobalt or none at all and is working with companies to commercialise the technology. If successful, it says it could find its way into batteries within a few years and into electric cars after that.

Mr Joy, who co-founded Sun Microsystems and wrote some of the founding code of the internet, says such technologies are critical to addressing climate change. The current mix of materials has been “stretched to the limit”, he says.

“What happened with Sony inventing the lithium-ion . . . well, we ended up with things that get rechargeability,” he says. “But they gave up . . . not only safety and cost but also abundance because there isn’t physically enough cobalt to electrify the world.”

Captive market: Risks rise for mining groups in the DRC

Despite its abundant resources, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world, where more than 80 per cent of the population does not have access to electricity. “It’s a curse rather than an opportunity,” says Jean-Claude Maswana, associate professor of economics at the Graduate School of Business Sciences in Japan of the country’s metal deposits. “If history is a guide I don’t see any evidence that might point to the rising price of cobalt being a blessing.”

Carmakers and battery producers have been caught off guard by the need to source from the DRC, according to one executive. “They don’t have a strategy,” he says. “All of the OEMs — the whole supply chain is looking at security of supply. With very few exceptions nobody has set a definite strategy, everybody has been looking at the problem but nobody is solving it.”

Risks may also be rising in the country. Last month Glencore revealed it faces a wide-ranging US government investigation into bribery and corruption after federal prosecutors demanded details of its business dealings in the DRC, Nigeria and Venezuela. In June, the company said it would continue to pay its former business partner in the DRC, Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, in euros after he was sanctioned by the US government for “his opaque and corrupt mining deals in the DRC”.

In addition long-delayed elections are due in the country in December. President Joseph Kabila, a close friend of Mr Gertler’s, who came to power in 2001 after his father was assassinated, agreed this month not to stand. But his choice of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as his successor has raised concerns about his continuing influence in the country.

“I give a 1 per cent chance that the election can be fair or free, it’s impossible,” adds Mr Maswana.



GM Increases Production in Uzbekistan

General Motors’ Asaka plant employs about 8,000 workers and has capacity to produce about 250,000 vehicles a year. In addition to the Tracker, GM plans to launch a new generation of the Cobalt, perhaps by the end of this year.

in WardsAuto, by Eugene Gerden, 20-08-2018

GM Uzbekistan, a joint venture of General Motors with local auto companies in Uzbekistan – a doubly landlocked sovereign state in Central Asia – announces its intention to produce the Chevrolet Tracker model this year, the company says.

The new model will be assembled on a semi-knocked down basis at facilities in the city of Tashkent, while next year full-scale series assembly will be launched at the Asaka automobile plant, according to an official representative of Uzavtosanoat, an Uzbek auto producer and a partner of GM.

Planned production volumes have not been revealed but will depend on market demand for the new utility vehicle. Financial details of the project are not disclosed.

Uzbek automakers tested the Chevrolet Tracker in 2016 in difficult conditions. The SUV made its way to the Aral Sea and back to the plant, traveling thousands of kilometers through deserts and mountainous terrain in scorching heat. The new Tracker is planned to be equipped with a 1.8L 4-cyl. engine rated at 140 hp.

Production at the Asaka plant will include stamping, welding, painting and final assembly. Localization will exceed 50%.

Today, GM Uzbekistan produces 10 models: four sedans (Nexia, Cobalt, Gentra and Malibu), two subcompacts (Matiz and Spark) and the Captiva SUV, Orlando minivan, Damas minibus and Labo microvan.

Inside Uzbekistan, GM vehicles are marketed under the Chevrolet brand, but in foreign markets they are sold under the Ravon brand.

GM’s Asaka plant currently employs about 8,000 workers. Measuring 178 acres (72 ha), the plant has capacity to produce about 250,000 vehicles a year. In addition to the Tracker, GM plans to launch a new generation of the Cobalt, perhaps by the end of this year.

GM Uzbekistan, a joint venture of General Motors with local auto companies in Uzbekistan – a doubly landlocked sovereign state in Central Asia – announces its intention to produce the Chevrolet Tracker model this year, the company says.

The new model will be assembled on a semi-knocked down basis at facilities in the city of Tashkent, while next year full-scale series assembly will be launched at the Asaka automobile plant, according to an official representative of Uzavtosanoat, an Uzbek auto producer and a partner of GM.

Planned production volumes have not been revealed but will depend on market demand for the new utility vehicle. Financial details of the project are not disclosed.

Uzbek automakers tested the Chevrolet Tracker in 2016 in difficult conditions. The SUV made its way to the Aral Sea and back to the plant, traveling thousands of kilometers through deserts and mountainous terrain in scorching heat. The new Tracker is planned to be equipped with a 1.8L 4-cyl. engine rated at 140 hp.

Production at the Asaka plant will include stamping, welding, painting and final assembly. Localization will exceed 50%.

Today, GM Uzbekistan produces 10 models: four sedans (Nexia, Cobalt, Gentra and Malibu), two subcompacts (Matiz and Spark) and the Captiva SUV, Orlando minivan, Damas minibus and Labo microvan.

Inside Uzbekistan, GM vehicles are marketed under the Chevrolet brand, but in foreign markets they are sold under the Ravon brand.

GM’s Asaka plant currently employs about 8,000 workers. Measuring 178 acres (72 ha), the plant has capacity to produce about 250,000 vehicles a year. In addition to the Tracker, GM plans to launch a new generation of the Cobalt, perhaps by the end of this year.

De Portugal para o mundo: Bosch investe em soluções de mobilidade

Um dos maiores empregadores especializados do país, o grupo alemão está a testar soluções de comunicação entre carros e condução autónoma.

in Dinheiro Vivo, por Ana Rita , 19-08-2018

Os investigadores da Bosch em Braga estão a testar soluções de comunicação entre carros para o futuro mercado dos carros autónomos. Carlos Ribas, o representante da empresa alemã em Portugal, explicou ao Dinheiro Vivo que estes testes têm em vista a aplicação global das tecnologias que vierem a ser desenvolvidas e testadas com sucesso. “A Bosch adquiriu, inclusive, uma viatura de testes para instalar as soluções que está a desenvolver em Braga.” Embora as infraestruturas tenham de ser preparadas para incorporarem este tipo de soluções de conectividade e sensores, Carlos Ribas refere que “vários stakeholders estão recetivos a investir e contribuir para o futuro da mobilidade autónoma”. A unidade de Braga tem mais de 300 engenheiros e é uma das três instalações de Investigação & Desenvolvimento que a Bosch opera em Portugal.


Novas tecnologias de comunicação entre carros, cujos primeiros testes públicos foram para a estrada neste ano na autoestrada da Baviera, Alemanha, permitirão perceber quais as necessidades das infraestruturas inteligentes que irão auxiliar os carros autónomos. “O que preocupa a Bosch e o que queremos trabalhar é a possibilidade de tornar a utilização dos veículos 100% segura e autónoma (nível 5)”, explica. “Para que isso aconteça não é necessário apostar apenas nos automóveis. É necessário trabalhar no sentido de dotar esses automóveis de uma capacidade de aprendizagem, que comuniquem entre si e que comuniquem com a infraestrutura onde estão inseridos.”
Sendo um projeto-piloto pioneiro, a ideia dos testes na Baviera é demonstrar a importância e eficácia da tecnologia veicule to infrastructure e da importância de ter veículos e infraestruturas interligados. De acordo com a consultora Gartner, as soluções V2V (veículo a veículo) e V2I (veículo a infraestrutura) serão o segmento de mais rápido crescimento no que toca a investimentos em Internet das Coisas até 2022, com um salto anual de 29%.
Os resultados dos projetos-piloto servirão também para auxiliar os projetos que estão a ser feitos em Braga, visto que a mobilidade é um dos principais focos da empresa neste momento. “A Bosch em Braga é uma das unidades de referência no desenvolvimento de soluções para a área da mobilidade conectada e autónoma”, garante Carlos Ribas. Está a desenvolver sistemas multimédia conectados e sensores destinados a este segmento, que nos últimos anos se tornou uma das prioridades para construtoras automóveis e empresas de tecnologia. A importância da unidade de Braga reflete-se na parceria com a Universidade do Minho e está a ser concretizada através do projeto Innovative Car HMI.
Em julho, as duas entidades apresentaram os resultados da segunda fase da parceria, que totalizou um investimento total de 54,7 milhões de euros. É um programa conjunto em que estão a ser investigadas e desenvolvidas soluções para a mobilidade autónoma do futuro. No ano passado, a Brisa deu luz verde à empresa para a utilização de dois carros (BMW e Renault) para testar condução autónoma em troços da autoestrada encerrados ao público. O Innovative Car HMI, que tem apoio financeiro da União Europeia, envolve cerca de 30 projetos e 400 pessoas. Vai agora para a terceira fase, com um investimento previsto de cerca de cem milhões de euros. Num contexto mais alargado de cidades inteligentes e Internet das Coisas, a empresa concebeu algumas soluções para ligar os veículos às casas e às infraestruturas. É o caso do sistema que permite ao carro abrir a garagem, ligar o aquecimento e preaquecer o forno.
Estão também a ser trabalhadas soluções de conectividade com e-bikes, máquinas de vending para bilhetes de transportes públicos, parques de estacionamento e comboios. Visão Zero É o que a Bosch chama à sua estratégia para o futuro da mobilidade – “zero acidentes, zero emissões, zero stress”. A Visão Zero está a ser implementada também em Portugal, onde a empresa tem em curso 14 projetos para as cidades inteligentes. De acordo com Carlos Ribas, metade destes projetos incluem soluções de mobilidade urbana: estacionamento e condução autónoma, gestão de frotas, transporte multimodal e mobilidade elétrica. “Conseguimos rentabilizar a capacidade das autoestradas, reduzindo o espaço de circulação entre veículos, referindo-se especificamente à condução autónoma. E sublinha que, sendo o trânsito e a sinistralidade rodoviária problemas significativos em Portugal, a intenção é “reduzir drasticamente estas situações” através de tecnologia que reduza o envolvimento humano.
É um propósito global, enunciado em todas as iniciativas ligadas a estas soluções, mas que ainda carece de confiança do público. Os recentes acidentes com carros Tesla em piloto automático e com o carro autónomo da Uber, que fez uma vítima mortal, não ajudaram a melhorar a perceção sobre estes sistemas. Carlos Ribas tem noção de que este é um processo que vai demorar algum tempo “e também passa pela mudança de consciência de todos.”

E porque não trabalhar na fundição?

Na vanguarda da economia circular e da indústria 4.0, as fundições uniram-se contra o preconceito que tem afastado os jovens

in Expresso, por Joana Nunes Mateus, 19-08-2018

Não somos uma indústria do passado, poluente, mas uma indústria do futuro, amiga do ambiente, pioneira na indústria 4.0 e exemplo da economia circular já que reciclamos totalmente o metal. Temos uma escola boa e empresas onde se pode ter uma carreira de sucesso. Somos uma indústria moderna, onde dá gosto trabalhar”. Quem o diz é Luís Filipe Villas-Boas, o presidente da Associação Portuguesa de Fundição (APF) e do Comité das Associações Europeias de Fundição (CAEF), interessado em cativar mais jovens para este “processo fascinante” que lida com o fogo para criar as mais complexas e sofisticadas peças em metal.

Captar profissionais qualificados e, em especial, os jovens para a arte da fundição é o principal desafio deste sector que está a crescer através da abertura de novas fábricas e da entrada de novas empresas de capital maioritariamente estrangeiro. Em causa estão quatro dezenas de empresas que já empregam quatro mil trabalhadores e procuram mais mão de obra para acompanhar o dinamismo das vendas, sobretudo ao exterior.

Mas não está a ser fácil o recrutamento de novos trabalhadores. Além de não ter a popularidade dos serviços, a fundição é penalizada face a outras indústrias pela “reminiscência dickensiana” daquelas fábricas do século XIX que ainda prevalece no imaginário popular.

“Não vale a pena ignorar a evidência: a indústria em geral, e a fundição em particular, debatem-se hoje com uma enorme dificuldade em atrair os jovens, em especial para as ocupações menos qualificadas e consequentemente associadas às remunerações mais baixas. Como alguém dizia, entre um emprego numa loja num centro comercial e um emprego na indústria, mesmo que este pague algo mais, garanta um horário mais regular e maior estabilidade contratual, a generalidade dos jovens prefere os primeiros. No imaginário da juventude, a indústria representa o passado e os serviços o hoje e o amanhã, pouco importando que as condições e horários de trabalho sejam objetivamente mais penosos”, lê-se no diagnóstico feito pela equipa do Centro de Estudos de Gestão e Economia Aplicada da Católica do Porto (CEGEA), liderada pelo professor Alberto Castro.


Helena Oliveira, diretora do Centro de Formação Profissional da Indústria de Fundição (CINFU), diz que os chamados jovens NEET, que não estão a trabalhar nem a estudar, podem vir a receber um salário acima da média se optarem por esta profissão. “Dependendo da função, já tenho tido formandos que vão ganhar €900 e €1000 logo à partida. Esta é uma indústria com boas condições de trabalho e os empregos não são precários! É um trabalho qualificado, não repetitivo, criativo, que incorpora uma diversidade enorme de competências, de inovação e de tecnologia”.
Embora a fundição tenha dificuldade em recrutar, a verdade é que não tem dificuldade em manter os trabalhadores que contrata porque a rotatividade de trabalhadores é baixa. Citando Pessoa, “primeiro estranha-se e depois entranha-se”, diz a diretora do CINFU que pretende trabalhar junto das escolas e do público em geral para combater a “imagem distorcida” que os portugueses têm da fundição e atrair mais formandos para o sector.

“As fundições já não têm nada a ver com aquela imagem do passado. Hoje são empresas de engenharia. Investimos nas pessoas e na digitalização dos processos. Chegamos a fazer peças únicas que têm de sair bem logo à primeira”, diz Élio Maia, o administrador da Fundição do Alto do Lixa.

Este empresário chama a atenção para o pleno emprego que existe neste sector de atividade, que já paga acima da média, mas que pode vir a gerar ainda mais valor e empregos qualificados à economia portuguesa. “Havendo as competências necessárias, um país como Portugal pode oferecer soluções integradas em certos nichos de mercado, liderar projetos, e sair do campeonato do preço onde o cliente pergunta quanto custa a peça por quilo”.


Hoje, a indústria de fundição nacional está maioritariamente ligada ao fornecimento do sector automóvel, exportando sobretudo para o exigente mercado alemão. Da fundição portuguesa saem peças para os Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, mas também para a Mercedes e outros carros mais acessíveis ao grande público: “Não há carro nenhum fabricado na Europa que não tenha peças fundidas em Portugal”, assegura o presidente da APF, Luís Filipe Villas-Boas.

A mobilidade elétrica e a reinvenção da indústria automóvel são um desafio à fundição portuguesa, mas não só de componentes para carros vive este sector que abastece as fileiras da agricultura, indústria, energia, construção e demais serviços, das artes à medicina.

Virgílio Oliveira, diretor-geral da fundição Zollern, elencou ao Expresso dezenas de peças fundidas que estão presentes na vida dos portugueses, “desde as maçanetas das portas, às torneiras, às componentes dos eletrodomésticos ou às peças decorativas que temos em casa. Ao sair de casa, encontramos a fundição em tudo o que é transportes, desde peças dos carros, às turbinas dos aviões, às superligas do aeroespacial. No campo da medicina, está nos aparelhos e no próprio corpo humano, como próteses, implantes e parafusos…”.

Está até no sino da igreja, não fosse a fundição mais antiga do mundo no Vaticano. Hoje o desafio é fazer peças muito mais leves. Recorrendo à investigação e desenvolvimento (I&D) e ao design, estão a criar peças mais finas, com materiais mais sofisticados, para reduzirem a poluição e aumentarem a eficiência energética, não só na fundição, mas nas empresas suas clientes, nos mais variados sectores de atividade.


Colocar a fundição portuguesa no pódio europeu da economia circular no prazo de cinco anos é agora o objetivo das empresas portuguesas de fundição. Além de poder reciclar vezes sem conta o metal, o sector está a investir em alternativas para aplicar os seus próprios resíduos como é o caso do asfalto, do cimento ou do barro vermelho.

“A fundição pode ser vista como um laboratório da indústria do futuro: pouco poluente, muito eficiente e avançada tecnologicamente, propiciando trabalho estável e com perspetiva de carreira. São verdadeiros campeões discretos da economia portuguesa”, resume Alberto Castro, o coordenador da equipa da Universidade Católica do Porto que está a traçar o plano estratégico da indústria portuguesa da fundição.

Prova de que a visão dos contos de Dickens já não tem adesão à realidade, é com a presença do próprio ministro do Ambiente que os fundidores contam para lançarem o seu plano estratégico en outubro.



Revolução tecnológica pode tornar baterias eléctricas obsoletas

De São Francisco a Shenzhen, equipas de cientistas estão a realizar experiências com novos processos químicos para melhorarem a célula tradicional de íons de lítio e encontrarem novas formas de armazenar electricidade para ser usada noutras alturas. Mas os investidores desses projectos começam a ter receio de poderem ter escolhido a tecnologia errada.

in Negócios / Bloomberg, 19-08-2018

Isso está a mudar a lógica do debate sobre os chamados activos encalhados. Até ao momento, o termo tem sido usado para se referir a projectos de combustíveis fósseis que podem deixar de ser rentáveis devido ao endurecimento das regulamentações sobre poluição.


No futuro, uma reviravolta no fabrico dos dispositivos de armazenamento de energia poderá tornar deficitários os investimentos em baterias, embora estejam no cerne da transformação do funcionamento do sistema de energia.


“Se ocorrer uma mudança radical e repentina na tecnologia, que ofereça maior densidade de energia, as pessoas vão querer adoptá-la rapidamente, o que poderá fazer com que tenham que reinvestir novamente em equipamentos de fabrico”, sublinhou James Frith, analista de armazenamento de energia da Bloomberg NEF. “Na pior das hipóteses, talvez seja preciso reformular fábricas inteiras”.


Os investimentos em startups que desenvolvem novos tipos de baterias aumentaram para mais de 1,5 mil milhões de dólares no primeiro semestre do ano, quase o dobro do nível de 2017, segundo dados do Cleantech Group.


Três fabricantes de carros, a Volkswagen, a Hyundai Motor e a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, destinaram fundos a fabricantes de baterias. Uma associação do sector no Japão, a New Energy & Industrial Technology Development Organization, anunciou que investirá 90 milhões de dólares em pesquisa sobre dispositivos de estado sólido com um grupo de universidades e fabricantes.


Nem toda a tecnologia tem probabilidades de sucesso. Milhares de sistemas diferentes estão a ser testados no sector, com a participação de grandes fabricantes, startups e universidades. Até mesmo as células de íons de lítio usadas na maioria dos carros eléctricos e telemóveis têm processos de fabrico diferentes.


“Existem distintos tipos de íons de lítio, com químicos diferentes, e até mesmo dentro desses químicos há variações na composição”, explicou TJ Winter, gestor da Fluence, fornecedora de armazenamento de energia com sede nos EUA. “Passamos bastante tempo apenas a monitorizar os acontecimentos”.


A concorrência está a ficar mais acirrada à medida que as fabricantes de carros electrificam mais modelos e as unidades de armazenamento de energia se tornam mais predominantes em casas e empresas. A procura por capacidade de baterias aumentará de cerca de 100 gigawatts-hora actualmente para 1.784 gigawatts-hora até 2030, segundo projecções da Bloomberg NEF.


“Uma enorme quantidade de largura de banda está a ser criada em todo o mundo para o fabrico de baterias de íons de lítio”, disse Jeff Chamberlain, CEO do Volta Energy Technologies, um fundo de investimento com foco nas tecnologias de armazenamento de vanguarda.


“Muitos dos investidores que vimos estão a apostar em tecnologias que exigirão novos processos de fabrico. Vemos isso como uma falha, por causa da capacidade que está a ser criada actualmente no planeta”, salientou.



(Artigo original: The Battery Boom Could End Up Burning Some Investors)


Industry must prepare for the ‘peak car’ era as alternative mobility options gain ground

For years, Martin Bruesch was a typical car owner. He routinely used his Audi A4 station wagon for the 20-minute trip to the office in Berlin. Now on work days his car usually stays parked outside his apartment in the affluent neighborhood of Charlottenburg and the 32-year-old human resources executive hails a new car-pooling service instead.

in Automotive News Europed, by Stefan Nicola & Elisabeth Behrmann  | Bloomberg, 17-08-2018

“If I’m truly honest with myself, then owning a car is too expensive with all these alternatives around,” Bruesch said as he got into one of CleverShuttle’s battery-powered Nissan Leafs one evening this month.

As young people like Bruesch increasingly ditch driving, they’re also accelerating the shift toward what’s being dubbed “peak car” — a time in the not-too-distant future when sales of private vehicles across the West will plateau before making a swift descent.

This is especially true in big cities where people are becoming more inclined to share rather than own a vehicle that sits idle most of the time. The number of Germans 25 and under getting driving licenses slid 28 percent in the past decade, and it’s a similar story in pretty much every other major economy.

It’s a moment of reckoning for an industry that had been able to count on three things since the automobile was invented in Germany more than a century ago: cars ran on combustion engines and people not only desired to own one, they also drove it exclusively. With the age of car-sharing, battery-powered fleets and self-driving cars upon us, automakers need to reinvent themselves into mobility companies to survive.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that Daimler bought a stake in CleverShuttle after it began operations in 2016. The service uses an Uber-like app to pair individuals searching for a ride with other commuters in the same vicinity. In the five German cities it runs, users have more than doubled since January to 650,000.

Fast forward just five years and such services will eat into automobile sales, leaving automakers vulnerable if they don’t find ways to augment their income, according to Munich-based consultancy Berylls Strategy Advisors. By 2030 in the U.S., where data is most readily available, Berylls predicts that total sales of cars – individually owned and shared – will fall almost 12 percent to 15.1 million vehicles.

“It will be the first-time carmakers ever have to deal with a decline that’s structural, and not down to temporary factors like an economic downturn,” said Arthur Kipferler, a Berylls consultant who, while working for Jaguar Land Rover Automotive, helped close the deal to fill Alphabet’s planned self-driving Waymo taxi service with 20,000 electric I-Pace crossovers.

Problem is, it’s not as simple as replacing car sales with revenue from mobility services. While German heavyweights like Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen Group have invested hundreds of millions of euros in various ride-hailing and car-sharing schemes, they’re nowhere near breaking even on them.

Take the DriveNow car-sharing service BMW started in 2011, which charges users by the minute to rent more than 6,000 BMWs and Minis in 13 European cities. After seven years, it’s still turning a loss, and last year made up just 0.07 percent of the company’s sales. The rest came mostly from selling almost 2.5 million luxury vehicles, such as the BMW 3-series sedan.

Aside from the cost of building a fleet big enough to serve customers across a city, there are numerous ongoing expenses—things like car maintenance, paying drivers and managing and updating software.

Replacing cars

And yet BMW’s own estimates show that in a decade, one car-sharing vehicle will replace at least three privately owned ones, and mobility services, including autonomous cars, will account for a third of all trips. According to New York-based consultancy Oliver Wyman, mobility will be a 200 billion-euro ($227 billion) business by 2040.

“Carmakers are desperate for their mobility divisions to be monetized,” said Michael Dean, a senior automotive analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “They must be involved in future mobility to avoid being left behind by the likes of Uber and Lyft.”

Already, Uber and its Chinese rival DiDi Chuxing are together valued at about $124 billion—just shy of BMW and Daimler’s combined market value, he said.

So much is at stake that BMW merged DriveNow with its long-time arch rival Daimler’s car2go service in March. Their goal: to build a one-stop-shop where people can do everything from call taxis, locate parking spots and find charging stations for their electric cars.

“As pioneers in automotive engineering, we will not leave the task of shaping future urban mobility to others,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche vowed when the partnership was announced.

Competition is already fierce. In Germany, the plethora of options to get from A to B led the nation’s train operator Deutsche Bahn to buy a stake in CleverShuttle which, for some commuters, is a viable alternative to overcrowded trains.

Berliners can jump into street-side rental cars powered by gasoline or batteries that charge by the minute and can be dropped off nearly anywhere. They can use one of thousands of rental bikes for as little as a euro an hour. For 3 euros every 30 minutes, they can even navigate the city center on an electric scooter.

A similar smorgasbord of mobility options is available in most big cities. Car-sharing fleets globally have increased in size by 91 percent in the past year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Hailing services like Uber, Lyft or Grab—all of which automakers have invested in—reached nearly a billion users during the second quarter, it said.

Shuttling with strangers, the latest fad, is also catching on. Aside from CleverShuttle, ViaVan started in London, Amsterdam and Berlin in the spring as a joint venture between Daimler and New York-based Via Transportation. Volkswagen, too, in July launched Moia in Hanover, Germany, using 35 VW-designed electric vans and growing to 250 by 2020.

“We must reduce inner-city traffic,” said Bruno Ginnuth, CleverShuttle’s CEO. “A good way to do that is convincing people they don’t need to own a car anymore.”

CleverShuttle expects to turn a profit in one German city, Leipzig, by year-end and plans to buy another 130 Nissan Leafs and Toyota Mirai hydrogen cars to expand in two more cities.

Commuters are relishing in the choice. Bruesch pays about 8.50 euros for the four-mile journey to Berlin’s central square Potsdamer Platz, half the price of a taxi and less than what garages near his office charge for parking.

“It’s cheap, I don’t need to search for a parking space, and I like the fact that a trip is environmentally friendly,” he said.



Automóvel. Exportações de componentes em recorde absoluto

No primeiro semestre, a exportação de componentes automóveis bateu um novo recorde, com 4300 milhões de euros.

in Expresso, por Abílio Ferreira, 14-08-2018

As exportações de componentes automóveis registaram no primeiro semestre um recorde absoluto, depois de um crescimento homólogo de 8,1%.

A cifra de 4300 milhões de euros compara com o resultado de 3900 milhões do mesmo período de 2017 e de 2500 milhões do ano de 2010.

De acordo com a AFIA – Associação de Fabricantes para a Indústria Automóvel, a indústria de componentes representa 15% das exportações portuguesas de bens. O desempenho no primeiro semestre da indústria compara com a subida de 6,6% da exportação de bens, superando os resultados da média da restante indústria transformadora..


Esmiuçando os dados do Instituto Nacional de Estatística, a AFIA concluiu que Espanha e Alemanha reforçam a sua posição como principais destinos de exportação, secundados pelos mercados de França e Reino Unido. A União Europeia representa 91% das vendas.

O conjunto destes quatro países representam 71% do total das exportações da fileira. A quota sobrante está repartida por dezenas de outros países, com destaque para a evolução das vendas para os Estados Unidos da América, Marrocos, Turquia, Coreia do Sul e China.


Na frente da produção de automóveis, o primeiro semestre também correu sobre rodas para a maioria das bases portuguesas. A produção de 154 mil unidades nas quatro bases fabris quase duplica o desempenho do primeiro semestre de 2017.

O principal destaque vai para a unidade de Palmela da Autoeuropa (115 mil) com um crescimento de 150 por cento. Em cada quatro unidades fabricadas em Portugal, três são em Palmela.

Em Mangualde, a Peugeot Citroen segue também em modo de expansão moderada. No primeiro semestre a produção subiu 15%, para 33 mil unidades.