September 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 271

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Foley Automotive Report: August 9, 2022

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

Key Developments

  • The fifth installment of Foley & Lardner’s Supply Chain Disruption Series provides a summary of some of the recent antitrust enforcement activity affecting supply chains, as well as strategies to minimize the attendant risk.

  • U.S. new light-vehicle sales reached 7.91 million units in the first seven months of 2022, representing a SAAR of 13.7 million units and a decline of 17% from the same period last year, according to estimates from LMC Automotive. Following an 11% drop in July sales results, LMC revised its full-year 2022 light-vehicle sales forecast from 14.3 million units to 14 million units.

  • Foley & Lardner provided examples of litigation and proposed government regulation addressing dealership trade practices amid record-high vehicle prices in the wake of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The average monthly payment for a new vehicle surpassed $700, according to estimates from J.D. Power quoted by the National Automobile Dealers Association.

  • President Biden plans to sign the CHIPS and Science Act into law this week.  The legislation passed both chambers of Congress and it includes $52 billion to support domestic semiconductor manufacturing as part of a broader package to enhance the nation’s competitive position.

  • The U.S. International Trade Commission began an initial investigation into the Automotive Rules of Origin governing duties on light vehicles as outlined in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The investigation will examine issues including the technological relevance and economic effects of the rules, and the Commission intends to issue its first report by June 2023.

  • GM plans to double its Super Cruise hands-free driver assist technology network to 400,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada later this year.

  • Electric vehicles and low emissions technology:

    • Automakers expressed concern that new material, component and assembly requirements in the U.S. Senate’s recently passed Inflation Reduction Act will limit the number of EVs qualifying for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500The legislation would end per-manufacturer limits for the tax credit. The U.S. House hopes to begin voting on the climate, tax and healthcare package by the end of this week.

    • Foley & Lardner provided a summary of the key components of the U.S. EPA’s proposed rule pertaining to new emissions standards for heavy-duty highway vehicles and engines.

    • S&P Global provided an analysis of EV battery supply chain risks for critical commodities such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, including uncertainty whether scale can be achieved quickly enough to make EVs “affordable and profitable across mass market sectors.”

    • Potential shortages of graphite could begin affecting the supply chain for lithium-ion batteries as soon as this year, according to an update from Supply Chain Dive.

    • Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology postponed plans to announce its first North American plant due to tensions resulting from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

    • Ford announced its U.S. electric vehicle sales increased 168.7% in July to reach a 10.9% share of the segment – its highest on record. CEO Jim Farley recently indicated to the Detroit Free Press that he believes Ford is the only automaker capable of surpassing Tesla as the top-selling EV maker.

Market Trends and Regulatory

  • New analysis from KPMG estimates automotive semiconductor sales could increase from approximately $40 billion in 2019 to over $250 billion by 2040, with much of the growth attributed to electric and hybrid powertrains.

  • National average gas prices continue to reflect a downward trend, and AAA notes that compared to one year ago, the price per gallon is currently 87 cents higher while demand is 1.24 million barrels a day lower.

OEMs/Suppliers

  • FANUC will expand its footprint in Auburn Hills, Michigan and invest $86 million in a new facility for manufacturing, engineering and R&D.

  • GM and Toyota reported profit declines of 40% and 42% year-over-year, respectively, for the April – June quarter, with the results attributed to supply chain challenges, including COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

  • Ford reported its profit for the April – June quarter increased by nearly 19% year-over-year due to improved sales and inventory.

  • Stellantis reported its profit increased 34% year-over-year for the first half of 2022.

  • Hyundai Motor Group increased its U.S. retail market share to third place for the first five months of this year, based on analysis of new vehicle registration data by S&P Global Mobility. Hyundai was ranked sixth during the same period last year, and the improvement is attributed to an expanded product portfolio across the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands.

  • Renault intends to pursue plans to split its electric and combustion-engine businesses, with more detail to be announced this fall following discussions with its partners Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services

  • Boston Consulting Group estimates 65% to 75% of miles traveled in large metropolitan statistical areas could be addressed by shared autonomous electric vehicle (SAEV) fleets, while noting there are a number of costly regulatory and technical hurdles to overcome.

  • Israel’s Innoviz and Volkswagen’s Cariad unit confirmed a $4 billion supply agreement for hardware and software, including lidar components, for use in the automaker’s advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicles.

Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology

  • BorgWarner acquired San Diego-based Rhombus Energy Solutions for $130 million, in a deal that is expected to expand vehicle-charging capabilities.

  • The governors of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana established a memorandum of understanding to install EV chargers as part of the Lake Michigan Electric Vehicle Circuit Tour.

  • As part of a broad overview of the EV charging value chain, Bain & Company analysis predicts the EV charging profit pool for the US, Europe and China will reach between €8 billion and €13.5 billion by 2030.

  • Stellantis will invest $99 million at three plants in Michigan, Indiana and Ontario to produce a new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine which can be used in hybrid vehicles.

  • Nikola Corpwill acquire Cypress, California-based battery supplier Romeo Power for approximately $140 million, and the deal is expected to reduce costs and accelerate product development.  Nikola indicated it is on-track to deliver between 300 and 500 battery-electric Tre semi-trucks by year-end, after delivering 48 units in the second quarter.

Analysis by Julie Dautermann, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

© 2022 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 221
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About this Author

John R. Trentacosta, Foley Lardner, Automotive Industry Attorney, Supply Chain Lawyer
Partner

John R. Trentacosta is a partner and transactional lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Trentacosta is actively involved in drafting contracts commonly used in the automotive industry. He frequently represents clients in supply chain disputes, particularly automotive and supplier-manufacturer disputes. He is the chair of the firm’s Complex Supply Chain Litigation Group, former chair of the Detroit Litigation Department and founder and member of the firm’s Automotive and Manufacturing Industry Teams. He also is a member of the Commercial Transactions & Business...

313-234-7124
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
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