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Foley Automotive Report 06 December 2022

This report helps automotive suppliers inform their legal and operational decisions to help address challenges and opportunities.

Key Developments

  • The most recent article in Foley & Lardner’s Supply Chain Disruption Series provides representative examples of legal disputes in U.S. courts related to supply chain disruptions.

  • LMC Automotive estimates U.S. new light-vehicle sales reached a SAAR of 14 million units in November, representing an increase of 10.5% from November 2021, but a decrease of 6.9% from October 2020.  New vehicle sales for January through November are 9.2% lower compared to the same period last year. LMC is projecting full-year 2022 new light-vehicle sales of 13.7 million units.

  • Challenges which could impede a broader rollout of EV charging networks in the U.S. include equipment reliability, and debates over who will own and operate the chargers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

  • BloombergNEF predicts the market size for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) could reach $220 billion globally by 2030.

  • A report in The Wall Street Journal indicates certain automakers and investors are scaling back on investments dedicated to fully autonomous driving.

  • Ford reported its U.S. electric vehicle market share reached 8.6% in November, making it the nation’s second best-selling brand and manufacturer of EVs behind Tesla. Ford’s overall sales results were down by 7.8% for the month when compared to the same period last year.

  • BorgWarner announced plans to spin off its fuel systems and aftermarket segments into a separate, publicly traded company.  Following the completion of the spin-off, BorgWarner would consist of the company’s electric propulsion & drivetrain and air management segments. 

Market Trends and Regulatory

  • The race for UAW president will head to a runoff election in January, as neither incumbent Ray Curry nor his challengers received the vote threshold required to win.

OEMs/Suppliers

  • Among the automakers reporting monthly U.S. sales results, volumes in November reflect mixed results, including a 51.7% increase for Subaru, a 43% increase for Hyundai, a 10% increase for Toyota, and a 6% decrease for Honda, compared to the same month one year ago.

  • Several major automakers recently reduced or halted production at certain facilities in China due to the effects of the nation’s COVID-related restrictions. Reports in sources including Reuters and Bloomberg indicate certain pandemic controls eased in a number of major Chinese cities over the weekend, signaling a possible retreat from some of the COVID-zero policies amid public protests over the restrictions.

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services

  • Transport Topics provided an overview of companies pursuing autonomous truck development.

  • Honda announced its Honda Sensing 360 driver assistance system will become standard equipment on all models sold in the U.S. by the end of the decade. The technology will allow vehicles to operate hands-free under certain circumstances.

Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology

  • GM and LG Energy Solution will invest an additional $275 million to increase battery cell production at their upcoming Ultium Cells joint-venture plant in Tennessee. Last year, the companies announced an initial $2.3 billion investment in the facility.

  • The U.S. Forest Service began a 12-month assessment of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, amid a broader goal to improve vehicle emissions in its fleet. In 2021, President Biden signed an executive order requiring most new federal vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035.

  • Bloomberg reports Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is likely to pursue launching EVs in luxury segmentsafter experiencing record mass-market sales volumes in the nation.

  • Vietnam-based EV manufacturer VinFast exported its first batch of 999 VF 8 crossovers to the U.S., and the vehicles are expected to reach customers in December. VinFast hopes to begin U.S. production in 2024 at a manufacturing plant it is building in North Carolina.

  • Mazda and its suppliers plan to invest over $10 billion in electrification through 2030, and the automaker could pursue EV production in the U.S. by the middle of the decade.

  • Honda plans to produce a fuel cell electric version of its CR-V crossover in Ohio beginning in 2024.

  • Hyundai Motor Group announced a partnership with SK On Co. to “secure supply of EV batteries in North America.”

  • GM announced BrightDrop began production of the Zevo 600 electric van in Canada.GM expects to reach $1 billion in 2023 revenue for its commercial delivery vehicle unit.

  • Tesla delivered its first all-electric Semi commercial trucks to PepsiCo last week.

Analysis by Julie Dautermann, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

© 2023 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 340
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About this Author

Ann Marie Uetz Foley Lardner Debtor Representation Bankruptcy Lawyer Foley Lardner Detroit
Partner

Ann Marie Uetz is a partner and trial attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP, where she represents clients in a variety of industries in all aspects of their contracts and business disputes. She also represents debtors, creditors and secured and unsecured lenders in all facets of restructuring. Ms. Uetz focuses her practice on business litigation and bankruptcy, two of Foley’s practice areas recently ranked by U.S. News—Best Lawyers® as “national First-Tier” practices in recognition of excellence in client service.

Ann Marie heads Foley’s Coronavirus Task Force and...

313-234-7114
Vanessa L. Miller, Foley Lardner, Manufacturing Litigation Lawyer,
Partner

Vanessa L. Miller is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Ms. Miller’s practice focuses on a wide array of bet-the-company litigation, such as general manufacturing breach of contract and warranty disputes, automotive supply chain disputes, product liability lawsuits, trade secret claims, and railroad and rail transloading facility disputes. Ms. Miller also counsels clients on various commercial contract and product liability issues. She is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice.

313-234-7130
Nicholas Ellis, Foley Lardner Law Firm, Litigation Attorney
Senior Counsel

Nicholas Ellis is an associate and litigator with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Ellis’ practice focuses on automotive supplier disputes, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), warranty claims, contract law and business tort law. He is a member of the Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice and the Automotive Industry Team.

313-234-7168
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