Connected and Autonomous Vehicles - Moving Forward in High Gear

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This is my second and final installment in reporting on the Center for Automotive Research (CAR)’s 50th annual “Management Briefing Seminars” conference held earlier this month in Traverse City, Michigan.

Connected and Automated Vehicles:  Competition, Rules and Interesting Times

The first presentation on day one included a fantastic group of panelists from automotive suppliers, government agencies and leading consultancies. The session was held on the heels of the German OEM consortium’s purchase of HERE, a company engaged in three-dimensional mapping which has announced an intention to pursue an “open development” approach, which created an interesting backdrop and buzz to the session. Continue reading this entry

Mcity Opening Changes the Automotive Industry's Research Environment

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The research environment in the automotive industry changed recently with the official opening of Mcity, which is believed to be the first facility especially designed for testing connected and automated vehicles. Mcity was developed by the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

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European Auto Sales Remain Strong, While Chinese Auto Sales Continue to Sink

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As we posted earlier this year, car sales in the European auto industry have been on the upswing for nearly two years. This continued in July as sales rose in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Spain posted the biggest gain, with a 24 percent increase in car sales, marking 23 straight months of growth. Sales in Italy also showed a substantial increase of 15 percent in July.

As a result of the continued strength of the European auto market, European auto makers such as VW have pushed to the lead in global sales, and carmakers such as Volvo increased their earnings goals for the year. Continue reading this entry

Fifth Circuit Upholds Copyright Preemption of Trade Secret-Related Claims

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections

Situations abound in which a defendant has been sued in state court, and wants to get to federal court. In cases in which the plaintiff has not pled a federal claim, and where diversity of citizenship is absent, there may not be a ready avenue to get to federal court. In jurisdictions with a plaintiff-friendly reputation, or with a reputation as being unfavorable for litigating complex claims, this may tip the balance from a case being evaluated as defensible to being regarded as a losing proposition. But in at least one area of law, federal courts are providing another avenue out of state court: copyright preemption. Continue reading this entry

The Maturing of China's Auto Market

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The Center for Automotive Research held its 50th anniversary Management Briefing Seminars event last week in Traverse City, Michigan. The theme of the conference was “Competition Rules!” and featured an in-depth look at the global automotive industry, including current competitive trends. Kudos to CAR for another fantastic MBS, despite the curveballs that Mother Nature and her straight-line winds threw at the Traverse City area.

One particular topic of interest to me was the Wednesday session called “Global Strategies: The Maturing of China’s Auto Market” as I have been observing the Chinese auto market for more than a dozen years. Over that period, the Chinese auto market has more than tripled according to Margaret Baxter of the Original Equipment Supplier Association (the principal auto supplier trade group in the U.S.), overtaking the U.S. as the largest market in 2009 and not looking back since. At the conference though, we heard evidence of a flat/challenging market in China and some explanations for that environment which are laid out below. Continue reading this entry