The world of auto suppliers in 2020 is a tale of two industries.
While some companies have been trimming their U.S. work forces in recent months, others are in expansion mode and hiring workers.
Among those adding employees are Fort Wayne, Ind., steel supplier Steel Dynamics Inc., supplier Denso Corp. and YKTA, which announced last May it will create 650 jobs to support Mazda-Toyota in Huntsville, Ala.
But at the same time, others have been making or planning job cuts in response to forecasts for an industry slowdown. Among them: seating supplier Adient, which had several rounds of layoffs over the past year; Continental, which announced last year that a few hundred jobs in the U.S. would be impacted by "structural adjustments;" and Bosch, which last year eliminated 6,800 jobs worldwide, leaving its total at 400,000.
Geography does not explain the two different worlds. At the end of January, Goodyear Tire & Rubber laid off 105 workers at its plant in Gadsden, Ala., just one month after more than 700 other employees there accepted voluntary buyouts. At the same time, Dakkota Integrated Systems said last month that it will hire 400 workers and start production in Detroit to supply Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
These opposite realities among suppliers illustrate industry evolution and uncertainty, said Jeff Schuster, LMC Automotive president of the Americas and global vehicle forecasting.
Product mixes are changing, technologies are changing and market share is shifting among manufacturers.
"With all of the noise and uncertainty going on," Schuster said, "you're seeing differences within the supply base with some that are hiring, while suppliers in the traditional industry are either trying to redefine themselves or cut back.
"All of this makes them uneasy."