Production of cable harnesses in the Ukraine

Thomas Soellner,

Following the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the automotive industry’s supply chains have once again been severely disrupted in many areas due to Russia’s war. Sanctions, a lack of raw materials and limited transportation options are currently leading to further bottlenecks. The production of wire harnesses has been particularly affected by the war in Ukraine.

Cable harnesses are complex components, some of which are individually manufactured for each vehicle model, that distribute signals from sensors and control units. The majority of their suppliers come from Ukraine, where production had to be interrupted due to the war. The suppliers have already made efforts to relocate the production of cable harnesses to alternative sites. However, it could be months before the sites are ready for production.

According to LMC Automotive, the VW Group and BMW in particular felt the effects of the bottleneck. They had to temporarily shut down their assembly lines because cable harnesses are essential in the production process and cannot be replenished at a later date. If the cables are missing, the assembly line comes to a standstill.

But there is also positive news: Leoni has partially resumed production in the two Ukrainian plants. Around 5,000 employees are working in two shifts again and have reached a capacity of up to 70 percent, as Leoni CEO Kamper reported at the end of March.

This is thanks in particular to the Ukrainian workforce, the majority of whom are women and who, despite the dangerous situation, want to have a bit of normality back and go about their work – on a voluntary basis.

Norman Ziegler, Market Intelligence Expert