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U.S. States Whose Auto Industry Was Hit Hardest During COVID-19


U.S. States Whose Auto Industry Was Hit Hardest During COVID-19

Amid recent concerns about inflation, rising prices for new and used vehicles have received significant attention. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of vehicles increased by 11.8% for new cars and a whopping 37.3% for used cars from December 2020 to December 2021. Even in an environment of rising prices across the economy, the spike in vehicle prices stands out.

Many observers have pointed to ongoing challenges with the supply chain and a tight labor market as factors that are limiting supply and leading to an increase in prices. A shortage of semiconductor chips and other essential car components has hampered auto production, while backlogs at major ports are making it difficult to transport the vehicles and parts that are being produced. Manufacturers have been struggling to staff plants at full capacity with the tightness of the labor market, a situation worsened by the surge in cases from the Omicron variant. As a result of these factors, industry experts estimated that the industry could see a shortfall of about 8 million vehicles.

While many of these challenges are coming to a head now, the auto industry has struggled throughout the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, total U.S. auto exports experienced their biggest drop since the Great Recession with the onset of COVID shutdowns. As more drivers stayed home and manufacturers operated at more limited capacity, exports fell from approximately $10.5 billion in March 2020 to around $3.2 billion two months later. While monthly exports rebounded to more than $10.5 billion again by August, the industry has continued to struggle to exceed pre-pandemic levels since. In each of the first 11 months of 2021, export figures from U.S. automakers trailed the figures for the corresponding month in 2019, despite surging demand.

These ongoing struggles naturally pose greater challenges for states whose economies depend more heavily on car and auto part manufacturing. Michigan, the traditional home of the U.S. auto industry and home to giants like Ford and GM, accounted for nearly $16 billion in auto exports in 2020. South Carolina, which is home to major manufacturing facilities for BMW, Michelin, and a number of other auto parts companies, and California, which is a major center in the burgeoning electric vehicle market, are also large exporters.

While these major exporting states have been hard-hit as a result of the pandemic and could face more challenges in the near future, many other states have seen even greater declines. A total of 43 states had lower auto exports in 2020 than in 2019, but the size of the decline ranged from a 2.3% reduction all the way to a 51% decrease in exports. And the characteristics of a state’s auto industry did not spare any states from these difficulties: the states with large export losses experienced declines regardless of whether their industry concentrated in passenger vehicles, tractor trailers, motorcycles, or auto parts.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Data. To identify the U.S. states whose automotive industries were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at CoPilot calculated the percentage change in state automotive exports between 2019 and 2020. Researchers also calculated the percentage of total state exports accounted for by the automotive industry, as well as the automotive sector responsible for the most exports in 2020.

Here are the states whose auto industries were hit hardest during COVID.

State Rank Percentage change in auto exports (2019–2020) Total auto exports (2020) Total auto exports (2019) Auto exports as a share of total state exports Largest auto sector
Mississippi     1     -51.0% $577,561,521 $1,178,914,774 5.6% Passenger Vehicles (Internal Combustion)
Washington    2     -49.2% $570,863,349 $1,124,850,637 1.4% Road Tractors for Semi-trailers
Pennsylvania    3     -45.0% $1,136,532,516 $2,066,302,460 3.0% Motorcycles
Wyoming    4 –    36.0% $23,253,092 $36,316,995 2.0% Bodies for Road Tractors
Virginia    5     -35.6% $832,570,089 $1,293,755,497 5.1% Road Tractors for Semi-trailers
Arizona    6     -35.2% $387,614,930 $598,240,715 2.0% Motor Vehicles for Goods Transport
Tennessee    7     -34.5% $2,523,963,500 $3,851,343,633 9.0% Passenger Vehicles (Internal Combustion)
North Carolina    8     -33.2% $900,084,365 $1,348,192,451 3.2% Drive Axles
Ohio    9     -32.9% $5,933,273,841 $8,848,509,170 13.2% Passenger Vehicles (Internal Combustion)
Arkansas    10     -30.7% $153,882,650 $221,979,604 3.0% Suspension Shock Absorbers
Indiana    11     -30.5% $7,012,902,262 $10,089,583,845 19.8% Gear Boxes
Michigan    12     -29.9% $15,987,107,753 $22,813,060,777 36.0% Motor Vehicles for Goods Transport
Delaware    13     -27.3% $291,052,509 $400,590,517 7.4% Passenger Vehicles (Internal Combustion)
Maine    14     -24.2% $34,631,865 $45,680,861 1.5% Trailers & Semi-trailers
California    15     -23.3% $11,085,046,400 $14,454,461,847 7.1% Motor Vehicles (Electric Motor)
United States    –     -21.1% $105,560,728,656 $133,834,667,670 7.4% Passenger Vehicles (Internal Combustion)

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on CoPilot’s website:


3 Prominent Trends Driving Tire Cord and Fabric Market Growth

Automobiles are complex structures, made up of several different parts that contribute to the long-term functioning and efficiency of the system. From the gearbox to the engine, to the steering and suspension, to brakes, and more, each part of the vehicle serves a certain purpose.

Arguably one of the most important components of a vehicle is the tires. Tires are the parts the connect the vehicle to the surface and play a key role in making vehicles stop, steer, and move.

Considering the prominence of the components in a vehicle, the internal structure of a tire is of great importance, given that it is responsible for the strength and reinforcement of the tire. Tires are made of several different layers. The first is the outer layer that comes into contact with the road surface, known as the tread, which has imprinted patterns that help maintain vehicle directionality and maximize braking and cornering performance. Next comes the carcass, which acts as the skeleton of the tire’s insides, and holds the weight of the vehicle. The carcass is overlapped by tire cords, which secure the tire to the wheel, and are wound together at the end of the last part, the bead.

Tire cords and tire fabrics especially are key reinforcing materials for the tires and are designed to maintain the quality of the tires and improve durability. In earlier days, cotton was a prominently used cord fabric in vehicle tires. However, modern tire cord materials include rayon, nylon, polyester, and steel, among others. These materials offer several beneficial properties such as controlled deformation, high tensile strength, and abrasion resistance, which have contributed to their use as core components in the global tire cord and tire fabrics market in recent years.

Steel continues to garner interest as the preferred tire cord material

Steel first began to draw attention as a cord material in the late 1930s, when Michelin developed the first tire with steel cord plies for large buses and trucks, in order to reduce the ply-count of the tire whilst maintaining optimum strength. This development enabled the reduction of ply-counts to the two-to-four range, which in turn contributed to a significant drop in heat generation and resulted in prolonged tread life.

Over the years, radial tires began to gain popularity even in passenger vehicles. As the adoption of these tires began to rise, so did the demand for steel cords. Given that steel has higher tensile strength than rayon or nylon, the material quickly became the core tire cord material for radial tires, which require great tensile strength. Studies suggest that the production of steel cords and tire bead wires in South Korea crossed over 223.8 thousand metric tons in 2019.

Steel cords are made predominantly from strands of high-strength carbon steel and are used in the reinforcement of radial tires. These steel cords are a combination of many think wires, designed to improve the shock absorption capabilities of the tire, whilst ensuring optimum passenger comfort. Furthermore, the use of high-grade steel in tire cords can help the tire withstand high levels of stress, thereby enhancing the safety and stability of the vehicle during driving.

Strategic initiatives among industry players open up lucrative growth prospects for the tire cord and tire fabrics industry

Many key players in the global tire cord and tire fabrics market are implementing a range of organic and inorganic growth strategies to strengthen their position in the global business landscape, as well as to create new opportunities for the development of advanced tire fabrics.

To illustrate, Indorama Ventures Public Co Ltd joined hands with Jet Investment in 2018, to acquire the largest producer of tire cord fabrics in Europe, Kordárna Plus. The deal included one production site each in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, leading to a combined tire cord and tire fabrics production capacity of more than 57,000 tonnes annually.

Likewise, in May 2020, global materials solutions provider Trinseo completed its acquisition of Synthomer plc’s VP latex (vinyl pyridine latex) business. VP latex is one of the main ingredients in tire cord fabric binders and is responsible for creating a strong bond between the rubber and the tire cord during the manufacturing process. The deal included the transfer of customer lists, product recipes, and other intellectual property associated with Synthomer’s tire cord binders business to Trinseo.

Burgeoning interest in environmentally friendly and bio-based alternatives for conventional cord materials

Proliferating concerns regarding GHG emissions across the globe, alongside the rapid depletion of natural resources owing to expanding consumer demands, is prompting the tire cord and tire fabrics industry to work towards developing more sustainable options for tire reinforcement in recent years.

Modern passenger car tires consist largely of tire cords made from polyamide 6.6, which is derived from 100% fossil sources. In order to address this, PHP Fibers initiated a research project to find sustainable alternatives to polymer materials for tire reinforcement. In the study, PHP found bio-based polyamide polymers PA 6.10, PA 10.10, and PA 4.10 to be suitable candidates. These polymers contain sebacic acid, which is a dicarboxylic acid derived from castor oil, as a key building block in their molecular structure.

Upon investigation, these bio-based polyamide polymers showed distinct advantages over their fossil-based counterparts, in the form of less moisture pickup, lower density, and low to negative emission of carbon dioxide.

Movin’On Summit 2019: Best of Recap

The third annual Movin’On Summit in Montreal ended on Thursday, wrapping up another successful event focused on sustainable mobility, industry trends, environmental awareness, and the latest and greatest to impact global players in e-commerce, automotive manufacturing, and more.

The Michelin-inspired event concluded with a message from United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019 Special Envoy, Luis Alfonso De Alba and Michelin Group’s CEO, Florent Menegaux, stressing the importance of working towards creating sustainable action for mobility in the UN.

Approximately 5,000 visionaries from 44 countries and more than 150 partners participated.

The closing ceremony reiterated the purpose of the annual Movin’On Summit as an inspiration and driver behind the development of mobility solutions for the environment while changing the pace of transportation as we now know it.

Major takeaways from the 2019 Movin’On Summit focused on solutions for eliminating waste, addressing challenges in dimensional mobility, maximizing automation, and utilizing technology to create streamlined collaboration and efficiencies. Game-changers revealed include the Michelin Uptis – an airless and puncture-proof tire projected to enter the market as early as 2024.

Over 95 leading speakers from academia, politics, cities, and businesses addressed challenges and presented the latest in automated strategies, further promoting movement in sustainable action. Keynote speeches were presented by Michelin Group, General Motors, BMW Group, Harvard Business School, California State Transportation Agency, Accenture, Google Cloud, and more.

EMEAR’S Executive Vice President, Olivier Ribet explained transforming electric, connected, autonomous vehicle innovation.

Beyond education and innovation exploration, companies left the summit with action plans and next steps to overcome challenges and improve initiatives. Among those pursuing next steps include Lyon, Angkor and Niamey developing an action plan to address mobility challenges following participation at the startup LaVilleE+ working session.

The 2020 Movin’On Summit planning is already underway, as confirmed by Michelin’s CEO Florent Menegaux during the closing ceremony. Montreal will again host the C2 International-organized event from June 3-5, 2020.

Movin’On Summit Spotlights GM’s “Zero, Zero, Zero” Vision

General Motors continues efforts in fulfilling its vision of a world where crashes, congestion, and emissions are no longer a part of the daily commute, from passengers to businesses. As a proud Michelin partner, General Motors pushes the limits when addressing transportation concerns that other companies have accepted as a norm.

Following the highly anticipated reveal of the Michelin Uptis Prototype at this year’s Movin’On Summit, GM’s Senior Vice President of Global Purchasing & Supply Chain, Steve Kiefer, shared a glimpse of what’s to come for transportation and how automation is transforming the way consumers approach the daily commute.

“At General Motors we have a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” Kiefer said. “It’s really a vision not just of GM, but a vision for our industry and our world and sustainable planet. I’m extremely proud of the position that General Motors has taken with the “Zero, Zero, Zero” vision. I’d like to comment on just a few of the elements of it.”

GM’s Senior Vice President of Global Purchasing & Supply Chain, Steve Kiefer, shared a glimpse of what’s to come for transportation.

Through GM’s “Zero, Zero, Zero” vision, transportation is transformed from every aspect including safety and reliability, to sustainable innovation and affordability. By tackling the biggest issues in transportation, GM creates solutions for major issues impacting the economy and overall safety for all drivers.

Zero Crashes

“First of all: zero crashes. We have been working with our partner – Cruise Automation, and have developed four different generations of autonomous vehicles that are committed to autonomous, person-free driving. As most of you may know, 94 percent of the crashes in the world are due to driver error. We believe autonomous vehicles will eliminate crashes in the future.”

And it doesn’t stop there. Keifer announced General Motors will soon boast an entire fleet of electric vehicles ranging from passenger cars, SUVs, and full-size pickup trucks. This vision has already taken shape in the form of the battery-only Bolt EV offering competitive pricing and outlasting ranges of other EVs.

Zero Emissions

“The second thing is zero emissions, and first let me talk about the beautiful Bolt EV. This is really the first of General Motors’ vehicles that really achieve an affordable, long-range vehicle. This vehicle has a range of 238 miles, an incredible amount of cargo space, and a 0-60 time in six and a half seconds. We often say it’s not just the “great electric vehicle” because it’s a great vehicle. This is part of our commitment to an all-electric future.”

Time is of the essence and GM tackles the issue head-on by adding it to their vision for the future. Time is something that simply cannot be bought back, so GM wants to provide a way to re-purpose the hours wasted due to congestion.

Zero Congestion

“Last thing I will comment on is zero congestion. Our goal is really to give our customers their time back. An interesting survey that revealed U.S. drivers sit idly in traffic an average of one full week per year during their commute. That’s 168 hours of precious time and a cost of over $3 billion a year when you break it down. Part of our solution will be to provide hassle-free access to transportation through mobility choices such as Lyft and Uber,” he concluded.

To read more about what General Motors and Michelin are doing to support sustainable transportation, please visit:

Michelin Unveils Mobility Breakthrough at Movin’On Summit

Day one of this year’s Movin’On Summit kicked-off bright and early Tuesday in beautiful Montréal offering a vast array of networking brain dates, working sessions, and press conferences revealing upcoming innovations and transportation game-changers. Among the most exciting press conferences would be the early afternoon session hosted by Michelin’s very own Executive Vice President of Research & Development, Eric Vinesse, Chief Executive Officer for Michelin Group, Florent Menegaux, and Steve Kiefer, Senior Vice President, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain General Motors.

The Michelin UPTIS – an airless wheel assembly, was introduced during the highly anticipated press conference revealing a new kind of innovation to impact passenger models sector as early as 2024, following a joint research agreement between Michelin and General Motors validating the prototype.

“Today, I’m especially pleased to introduce our latest breakthrough in mobility, supporting the first of the four pillars, a prototype – Michelin Uptis,” Vinesse said as he unveiled the airless, puncture-proof tire. “Together with our partner General Motors we have the ambition to make this prototype available for users and owners of passenger vehicles as early as 2024.”

“It brings less stress and more peace of mind knowing there’s no longer the risk of finding yourself stranded on the side of the road because of a flat tire. It brings greater efficiency and productivity for fleet and commercial vehicles that will no longer have to plan for maintenance operations to check and adjust… or to fix a flat tire,” he added.

The Uptis Prototype directly supports Michelin’s goal of holding true to its four-pillar vision in creating airless, connected, 3D printable, and completely sustainable innovative solutions. Currently, more than 200 million tires are discarded or replaced due to air pressure issues, road hazards, and damages. Uptis not only changes the way transportation is approached, but directly impacts the environment by eliminating wasted materials.

“General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology,” said Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, global purchasing & supply chain, General Motors. “Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners.”

“The Uptis Prototype demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation — in both the mastery of these high-tech materials, and also the development approach in close collaboration with GM, which validates our Vision concept as a roadmap for innovation,” added Vinesse. “Uptis represents progress toward Michelin’s vision for tomorrow’s mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all.”

Source: Michelin

South Carolina Rolls In Two Major Tire Manufacturing Deals

Los Angeles, CA – South Carolina has scored big with two major foreign tire makers saying they will invest millions to expand their manufacturing operations in the state.

Japan-based Bridgestone Tire Co. Ltd. has said it will open a plant to make giant, off-road radial tires for earthmoving and mining equipment at a new facility in Aiken County, while France’s Michelin Tire Co. has begun operations at a new facility in Piedmont producing the company’s newly-developed TWEEL airless radial tire.

The Bridgestone plant will cover 1.5 million-square-feet and is the second tire manufacturing plant the company has built in Aiken County. The company has operated a passenger tire facility in Graniteville since 1998.

In 2011, Bridgestone announced a planned $970 million investment to build the company’s first U.S.-based off road radial tire plant, as well as expand production capacity at Bridgestone’s steel cord manufacturing facilities in Clarksville, Tennessee, and Saga, Japan.

The opening of the new Aiken County plant “completes the largest portion of the planned investment,” the company said. Both the Clarksville and the Saga facilities will supply the steel cord used in making the tires that will be produced there.

Michelin’s new manufacturing plant in Piedmont is the first the company has built anywhere in the world to produce its new TWEEL airless radial tire – touted by the French company as a tire with commercial applications “that never goes flat.”

The new tire concept was developed at the company’s research center in Greenville, one of Michelin’s three global technology centers.

The TWEEL is a non-pneumatic tire that changes the configuration of a conventional tire by combining the tire and the wheel assembly into a single, solid unit comprised of a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes.

The new 135,000 square-foot facility represents Michelin’s 10th manufacturing facility in South Carolina and the 16th in the U.S. The company said it will invest about $50 million in the new plant.