EPA Announces It Will Release New Guidelines on Vehicle MPG Ratings

Sustainability Reporting Standards for the Automotive Industry

The EPA announced, on February 23, 2015, that it will release new guidelines for vehicle fuel economy testing. The new guidelines will apply next year and will address how vehicles should be prepared and broken in before fuel economy testing. The testing for fuel economy has not been updated in ten years, and the guidelines follow 2011 regulations overhauling fuel economy labels. Continue reading this entry

European Trade Secrets Directive Looks to Unify and Strengthen Protection of Proprietary Business Information in the EU

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?

Home to several of the world’s largest OEMs, and a major place of operations for others, Europe has a thriving automotive industry. As borders have become more and more open in the European Union, OEMs and their suppliers often have operations in several different countries. However, these businesses, as do those in other industries, then have to deal with a patchwork of law governing the protection of trade secrets in the EU, with some countries offering a well-developed common-law system of trade secret protection, other countries providing a pastiche of civil codes aimed at protecting various categories of information, and still others offering little established protection at all. Continue reading this entry

The Internet of Things – Lessons for the Automotive Industry

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming and perhaps the first place we will see the proverbial rubber hit the road is with something near and dear to Americans – our cars. The ever increasing connectivity of cars is creating a multitude of new security concerns and legal issues.

On February 9, 2015, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a report on automobile security and privacy vulnerabilities, Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk. Key findings from the Report reveal an inconsistent patchwork of security measures across all automobiles including: inability to respond to, or even diagnose, hacking or real-time infiltration; unsecured or unencrypted transmission and storage of data; and, questionable use and sharing of that data. Many of these same concerns are being voiced elsewhere, including by the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading this entry

China Market Update

U.S. and Japan Continue Talks on Auto Tariffs

The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) recently presented on February 4th its annual China Market update webinar, and as usual a lot of great information was imparted to OESA members. The presentations included a review of the “China Auto Market Dynamics” by Yale Zhang, Managing Director of Automotive Foresight in Shanghai, and a review of “China Compensation Survey Results and HR Trends and Challenges in China,” by Steven Kueffner Director, International Consulting, at Towers Watson in Detroit. Neither speaker disappointed the participants. Continue reading this entry

Three Key Labor and Employment Issues Facing Automotive Suppliers in 2015

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While employees are an integral part of the manufacturing process, employment related issues will continue to face automotive suppliers in 2015 including:

  1. The NLRB coming to non-union facilities;
  2. Dealing with accommodations under the ADA; and
  3. Protected confidential and proprietary information.  

With many of its recent decisions and actions, the NLRB has made protecting employees’ Section 7 rights, in the union and non-union setting, a primary focus. Suppliers would be wise to pay attention to increased focus on blanket employment policies that may appear to “chill” protected activity. Continue reading this entry