Carmakers: Another industry supply threat

A year after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami sent global automakers scrambling for parts, the industry faces a potentially serious disruption from another disaster. A March 31 explosion at German chemical maker Evonik Industries halved the global output of PA-12, an ingredient used to make a resin in brake and fuel lines. About 200 executives from major automobile manufacturers and suppliers met in Detroit on April 17 to find new sources of the resin. Securing alternatives quickly may be difficult because PA-12 is used in safety-related equipment such as brake systems. So any replacements would have to be tested before production.

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