Opportunities and Challenges for Suppliers in Mexico

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Last week the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) hosted an event entitled “Supplier Opportunities and Challenges in Mexico” that I attended. It was a great program as always by OESA, and I wanted to share some of the highlights that I took away from it.

First of all, nearly every automotive manufacturer who has operations in Mexico has aggressive plans underway to expand that production. And according to a recent OESA survey of suppliers, 69% of the respondents stated that they planned to expand their business in Mexico in the next 18 months. This is consistent with what we were seeing at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), where I served as COO for 18 months before returning to Foley & Lardner in June. In November 2013, the MEDC took about 15 suppliers down to central Mexico (primarily Queretaro), principally tier two and tier three suppliers, to help those companies expand their export sales to Mexico and create new relationships with suppliers and OEMs there. Those opportunities seem to be even more real as the automotive expansion continues in 2014. Continue reading this entry

Sale of Self-Driving Cars to Consumers by 2025?

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More and more, self-driving cars are morphing from fantasy portrayed in futuristic societies to reality. Google’s autonomous prototype and California’s proposed regulations regarding the testing of self-driving cars on public roads demonstrate the increasing likelihood of self-driving cars becoming a reality for consumers. The Dashboard has previously discussed the pace of self-driving car legislation, NHTSA’s statement on driverless car technology, and other technological advancements in, and mandates for, vehicles. Continue reading this entry

Spotlight on Privacy in the Automotive Industry

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Privacy is a hot topic these days, and the automotive industry is no exception. Connected cars, in-car location services, telematics systems, event data records (black boxes), driverless cars, online consumer targeted advertising, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, mobile apps for cars, data analytics by insurance companies, Apple and Google operating systems for cars – all of these developments are shining a brighter spotlight on privacy in the automotive industry. Consumers and privacy advocates are becoming more and more concerned about privacy violations that may result from the IoT – the “Internet of things” – and cars are part of the IoT infrastructure. OEMs, component part manufacturers, suppliers, service organizations, distributors and dealers all find themselves in the chain of handling personal information and accordingly should be concerned about legal compliance, public relations and customer relationships when it comes to dealing with customer information. Continue reading this entry

Obama Pushes Smart Automotive Technology

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Here at the Dashboard, we have been leading the charge that the Auto Industry is undergoing a technical revolution. Whether it be new materials, adaptive vehicles, software, or something else, every car you buy, lease or drive is more technologically advanced than the next.

The government recognizes this too. As reported by Law360, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, President Barack Obama was publicly acknowledging the need for government to invest more in smart auto technology. Companies recognize this as car companies keep showing up at technology forums and technology companies invade automotive territory. Not only are vehicles at issue, but so is infrastructure with the current congressional negotiations over the U.S. Highway Trust Fund.

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Timing May Be Everything in Breach of Warranty Claims

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In the wake of the recent recalls and warranty campaigns, suppliers should bear in mind the threshold statute of limitations defense that they may have to any attempts by the OEMs to recover against them for costs for issues that the OEMs may have known about for years, but failed to act upon. An OEM seeking to recover against a supplier for an alleged breach must clear two timing hurdles: (1) warranty eligibility, meaning that the claim falls within the applicable warranty period; and (2) timeliness under the UCC’s four-year statute of limitations period. The expiration of the four-year statute of limitations period may be an absolute defense to certain breach of contract and breach of warranty claims.    Continue reading this entry