As the auto industry scrambles to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, automakers are looking to cut costs. That's not a surprise. General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra said during an investor event with Credit Suisse that GM's decisions now could lead to permanent changes.
Those changes could mean fewer vehicle platforms or fewer options on trim levels to focus on what consumers want. The pandemic, Barra said, has given GM the chance to go through all line item expenses and eliminate redundant processes.
"We've found things that we don't need to do and things we can do more efficiently," Barra said.
What does that mean to plastics suppliers? If there are fewer options, automakers may be eyeing higher-volume production for a smaller number of trim levels. That may make it harder for plastics suppliers to compete against metal stamping since injection molding has a stronger financial standing at lower-volume numbers.
Fewer trim levels also may mean a reduced need for injection molding tools.
Of course decisions on future products likely won't be seen for months or years. For now, Barra noted, the industry's focus is on ramping back up to production for today while also keeping an eye on suppliers' ability to continue operations.