When global supplier Hyundai Mobis said last year it would shutter an overseas manufacturing facility and build a new electric-vehicle components plant in Ulsan, South Korea, it did not mention China.
But as it prepared to invest in Korea, the diversified Hyundai Motor Group-affiliated supplier also slashed production in Beijing.
It was a telling moment for China as a source of global auto parts and materials. It signaled that future industry growth may skip China in favor of other production locations.
While China continues to export billions of dollars worth of vehicle content annually to automaker customers in North America and elsewhere, a shift has occurred over the past two years. The China parts trade has been buffeted by multiple challenges at the same time, and volumes today are lower than in the past.