Tom Howard

Hyundai hit by ‘nightmarish’ logistical problems

As is well known, the war in Ukraine and inflation make it particularly difficult to supply various parts of the world economy with semiconductors and other raw materials.

The WRC is no exception, some of its protagonists are currently facing major logistical difficulties, such as the Hyundai team, which describes its situation as “nightmarish” regarding the supply of spare parts for his cars.

In fact, the global shortage of raw materials is clearly noticeable, and the automotive sector as a whole is particularly badly affected by the lack of components for on-board electronics and computers.

The first problems emerged during the height of the Covid pandemic and were exacerbated by rising energy costs, which are hitting suppliers particularly since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in late February.

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In particular, we recall that logistical issues related to these exogenous factors forced the Haas team in Formula 1 to draw a line under the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain in March.

Hyundai Team Principal Julien Moncet revealed all the difficulties his squad faces to ensure the good reception of various essential parts for this season’s i20 N as well as the South Korean manufacturer’s future 2023 frame.

Indeed, many of the Asian team’s suppliers are struggling to source certain raw materials, with rising costs further straining the supply chain.

Hyundai sometimes has to anticipate the delivery of certain parts several months in advance.

Relaunch of the in-house production

Then we have to take the lead and so Hyundai is already working on sourcing certain elements for next season and anticipates delivery times of around six months. “We have damaged many parts in Kenya and elsewhere and replenishing our stocks has been our priority over the last few days.”explained to Monet “I would say it’s a nightmare [la pénurie de matière première] difficult, it not only affects motorsport, but the entire economy. There are parts that we used to be able to get in days or weeks that now take months, sometimes even longer in some cases.”

“It’s very difficult because some suppliers have had issues with the Covid, and then there’s Brexit and the impact of the situation in Ukraine. All suppliers are short of raw materials. The costs have also exploded, which makes our task even more complicated.” more, so much so that we have to review our entire supply chain, we are already working on it for example [la fourniture de] certain parts six months in advance because that is necessary when I speak to you. It’s totally insane. This has a strong impact on our development capacity. We have to make sure we have enough [des pièces] for production and rallies. I can tell you it’s not easy.”

To solve the problem, Hyundai is considering solutions to increase parts production at its site in Alzenau, Germany. “I think Toyota has more capacity [de production] internal than us”observes Monett. “I think it’s a good thing for her. If you can’t get the parts from outside suppliers, you need to find an alternative, and that alternative is to increase production capacity in-house. C “We’re working on it, but for that we need tools, people and space. It can’t be done in two weeks.”

In this context, the month of August promises to present a major new challenge for Hyundai as two rounds of the championship, Rally Finland and Rally Ypres, are held two weeks apart. The summer break has never been more of a pipe dream for the various WRC stakeholders.

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