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Volume XII, Number 232

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Foley Automotive Report: June 14, 2022

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

Key Developments

  • Foley & Lardner launched a Supply Chain Disruption Series to help clients navigate a range of market challenges including extreme price increases, record-setting inflation, production-threatening delays, and attempts to renegotiate longstanding supply agreements.

  • LMC Automotive estimates U.S. new light-vehicle sales reached 5.65 million units in the first five months of 2022, representing a decline of 19% from the same period in 2021, and up by approximately 6% from 2020. 

  • U.S. fleet sales were down by 16.1% in May 2022 compared to the same period last year, according to estimates from Cox Automotive.

  • Kelley Blue Book reports new-vehicle average transaction prices reached $47,148 in May 2022, representing an increase of 13.5% compared to the same period one year ago.

  • The semiconductor shortage has contributed to a global production loss of nearly two million vehicles this year, according to estimates by AutoForecast Solutions LLC quoted in The Detroit News.

  • GM’s Cruise LLC became the first company to receive a permit to charge for autonomous vehicle rides in California without a safety driver present. The permit allows for AV passenger service to the general public during designated hours on select streets in San Francisco under specific conditions.

  • Apple revealed plans to expand integration of its CarPlay software into the instrument cluster on vehicle dashboards beginning next year.

  • Electric vehicles and low emissions technology:

    • The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed minimum standards and requirements for installing, operating and maintaining federally funded EV charging stations.

    • Boston Consulting Group predicts battery electric vehicles will represent 20% of global light-vehicle sales in 2025 and 59% in 2035, up from previous projections of 11% and 45%, respectively.

    • BloombergNEF warned elevated prices for lithium, cobalt and nickel could result in a delay of “several years” before EVs reach cost parity with ICE vehicles.

    • The European Union voted to uphold plans banning the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035.

    • Tesla plans to cut 10% of its salaried workforce, with CEO Elon Musk indicating the company had “become overstaffed in many areas,” but its hourly workforce is expected to increase.

Market Trends and Regulatory

  • The Wall Street Journal reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration intends to release new data this month about vehicle crashes involving advanced driver-assistance systems and automated-driving technologies.

  • Gasoline recently reached a nationwide average of $5 per gallon for the first time, representing an increase of nearly $2 from this time last year according to estimates by AAA.

  • According to the May 2022 Consumer Price Index, new vehicle prices were up 1% and used vehicle prices rose 1.8% from the prior month.  Compared to May 2021, new vehicle prices were up by 12.6% and used vehicle prices were up by 16.1%.

OEMs/Suppliers

  • Bloomberg reports Denso is considering a potential spin-off of its automotive chip business; however, nothing has been decided at this time.

  • Ford will invest $3.7 billion and add 6,200 union jobs at three plants in MichiganOhio and Missouri for the purpose of expanding production of electric and internal combustion engine vehicles.

  • GM will eliminate a four-year degree requirement for many of its jobs to instead focus on skills-based hiring, according to a report in Automotive News.

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services

  • The Center for Automotive Research indicates consumer education about the capabilities and limitations of advanced driver assistance systems is essential to increase vehicle safety benefits and prevent accidents.

  • Waymo will deploy its autonomous trucks on the Uber Freight network as part of a new strategic partnership involving “a deep product integration and long-term collaboration roadmap.”

  • As part of a new partnership with Georgia-Pacific and KBX, autonomous vehicle provider Gatik will deliver goods to a network of Sam’s Club stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area beginning next month.

Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology

  • Bosch announced plans to invest $420 million in Mobility Solutions for North America, including climate-neutral technology and the hydrogen economy.

  • GM’s Buick vehicles will be all-electric by 2030 in North America, and the brand’s first EV model is planned for 2024.

  • NextStar Energy, a joint venture between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, intends to begin construction on its $4.1 billion EV battery plant in Windsor, Ontario later this year.

  • Controlled Thermal Resources Ltdwill supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Stellantis for use in North American EV production. CTR is recovering lithium from geothermal brines in its Hell's Kitchen Project in California's Imperial County off the Salton Sea.

  • Colorado-based battery company Solid Power began pilot production of solid-state EV batteries, and intends to deliver prototypes to Ford and BMW by year-end.

  • Canadian electric vehicle charging company FLO will invest $3 million to open its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan later this year.

  • The co-founder of autonomous driving company TuSimple started a new companyHydron, focused on developing Class 8 hydrogen-powered autonomous trucks.

© 2022 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 165
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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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