When Russian leader Vladimir Putin commissioned his army to attack Ukraine in February of 2022, it quickly became clear that the downstream effects of his aggression would be far-reaching.
Many of the plants in this part of Ukraine produce wire harnesses, which are as integral to a car as veins are to a human being. Wire harnesses package the cables of a car—which can be as long as three miles, says Reuters—in a bespoke fashion, so that each car produced has its energy pathways sewn up tightly. According to Reuters, in 2020 Ukraine’s inexpensive, highly skilled workforce churned out 7% of all wire harnesses that brace the EU’s cars.
German automaking disrupted
As the lives of Ukraine’s factory workers were thrown into chaos, German firms’ reliance on this workforce became apparent.
He also made a point to note that “substantial” did not mean “all” production. Despite the unimaginable stress and strife of the war, many Ukrainian wire harness makers are still finding ways to get to work, even if it means constant interruptions to take shelter from Russian bombs. It’s possible that a raise has never been more warranted.
A possible European slump
One analysis says that the kneecapping of Ukrainian wire harness factories could contribute to a 15% reduction of European automaking. German automakers in particular are scrambling for alternative routes to obtain these crucial car parts, but they are promising in concert to keep their Ukrainian partnerships alive and well.
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