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The question of how growth can be reconciled with sustainability is particularly pertinent in the case of cars. Environmental impacts of vehicle manufacture and use have been widely studied; those of the logistics of new vehicle distribution less so. Japan and Korea together constitute by far the leading source region for shipped cars both in terms of volume and carrier-miles generated. By implication, exported Japanese and Korean vehicles account for substantial amounts of greenhouse gases as they travel; first by ship, then onward by rail or road. Loading and unloading cars under their own power generates additional impacts.
In an apparent reversal of globalization, recent years have witnessed a gradual transfer of production from the home countries of Asian firms – notably Japan and Korea – to locations nearer to recipient markets. However, the environmental implications of such shifts in production location have not been widely considered. Here we are analyzing this process from an environmental perspective.
The research centres on Kia and Hyundai, contrasting the conventional route from Ulsan/Pusan to Western Europe whereby shipping is the principal mode, with the alternative of trucking cars from the new transplant locations in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The latter is shown to have a significantly lower impact. The results may be surprising, but could have implications for future location decisions of car factories and – potentially – other manufacturing facilities, as well as raising wider questions about the long term viability of the globalised car system in favour of some more localized solution.
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- Environmental Impacts of Korea-Europe Automotive Supply Chains; Moving Towards a More Sustainable Model
Andrew Ki-Young Choi
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 7