Is a twitter thread about why Honda is leaving the UK for manufacturing purposes; the official Honda statement is "pulling manufacturing back to Japan", and the comments almost get it. Almost.
The thread notes there's a global trend to geographically shortening supply chains; it notes that cars on the water are a lot of tied-up capital, and the longer the time on the water the more capital. It even manages to note that car manufacturers are all heavily invested in electric.
That's all factual.
What gets missed is that an electric car is fundamentally less expensive than an ICE powertrain car. Cost scales with parts count, and the drive train parts count in electric drops a couple orders of magnitude. The margin to support long-distance trade in automobiles isn't there in an electric world.
Honda (and everybody else making cars) is sharply aware of this. They don't want to say so, in part because the longer it takes the buying public to notice that car prices should be dropping in real terms, the better. Also in part because so much of the current trade order is about car parts, and getting blamed for the boat capsizing is best avoided.
Given current Chinese policy (fairly close to "electric or death"), the distance from Japan to China, and the fundamental impracticality of shipping anything but Veblen-good luxury vehicles globally in an electric car world, of course Honda is pulling out of Europe.
Overall, this is a good thing; that's a good hint we're getting closer to the electric transition for personal vehicles.
18 February 2019