Energy transition, war in Ukraine, shortages… auto subcontractors in Centre-Val de Loire under tension

NGK Spark Plug France announced in January the closure of its factory located in Meung-sur-Loire, 20 kilometers from Orléans. The French subsidiary of the Japanese group, world leader in automotive ignition systems and sensors, generated 40% of its business volume in Russia before the country’s export ban in February 2022. NGK Spark Plug France has a capacity of it is the main supplier of spark plugs for the Lada car brand. The rest of the activity is mainly focused on customers in the Maghreb, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Last year, the plant produced about 35 million spark plugs, which are mainly intended for replacement parts in heat engines. With a turnover of 145 million euros and a net result of eight million euros, NGK Spark Plug France nevertheless made a good performance in 2022, thanks to the resale of other types of spark plugs for the market. European.

The closure of the factory in Meung-sur-Loire will result in the redundancy of 77 employees from April. NGK Spark Plug France has commissioned an external consulting firm to reclassify these employees and try to find a buyer. Established since 1991 in Loiret, the company has a site of 10 hectares and a building of 5,000 m2. It will maintain its headquarters located in Plessis-Robinson in Hauts-de-Seine, which employs 48 employees.

In addition to the economic aspect of the conflict in Ukraine, the scheduled shutdown of internal combustion engines of car manufacturers, scheduled for 2035 in Europe, also explains the decision to leave from the Japanese giant (3.8 billion euros in revenue and 11,000 employees). The Meung-sur-Loire plant is the only NGK Spark Plug production unit on the Old Continent.

Struggling auto suppliers

The ecological transition, in particular the mode of transport, is already having a significant impact on the economy of Centre-Val de Loire. The automotive sector represents 400 subcontractors in the territory employed by approximately 29,000 employees in 2022. Thus, the Industrial Aluminum Foundry Company (SIFA), owned by Alty Industry and also based in Loiret in Orléans, is already -liquidate in December 2022. Engine valve manufacturer Tenneco, based in La Source, also closed its doors three months ago. For its part, equipment manufacturer Borgwarner located in Blois is refocusing on injectors for hydrogen engines. A less directly concerned but emblematic brick of the sector in Indre, Advance Wheels, the last French manufacturer of tire rims, was finally bought by Saint-Jean industrie, with certain financial assistance from the State and region. . ” Due to the series of crises in the automotive industry, falling sales, rising inflation, shortage of semiconductors, the risk is enormous for the subcontracting of the sector, which is strongly established in our territory “, said François Bonneau, president of the region. ” The end of the heat engine is also considered a leap into the void for some of the industrialists and their representative Luc Chatel “. President of the Automotive Platform, which represents the powerful sector in France with 400,000 jobs, the former Minister of National Education has called for several months for the acceleration of the change of the model of subcontractors with the arrival of the 2030 and then the 2035 deadline period..

In this uncertain context, the regional executive of Centre-Val de Loire changed its business aid policy by 180°. Its subsidies are mainly directed at their innovation, particularly in the transport sector. ” Together we must anticipate these situations and support the automotive industry to make the necessary investments to meet the challenges of transition”, assured François Bonneau. “Called CAP Transition (ecological energy and digital technology), the new aid system is primarily designed as a tool for industrial transformation. “. Priority objective, to strengthen its stability and limit the number of dry closures.

In La Janais, Stellantis is getting help from the Brittany Region to decarbonize the automotive industry