Supreme Court Signaling That Agencies May Have a Shorter Leash in the Future

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?

The automotive industry, as much as any industry operating in the United States, has a substantial federal regulatory burden, with an alphabet soup of agencies charged with regulating under the authority of an alphabet soup of statutes. Understanding whether a business is in compliance with the thicket of regulations covering the auto industry often requires considering regulatory interpretations issued by agencies — that is, not just the regulations themselves, but the agency’s additional explanations for what those regulations mean. Generally, courts called upon to enforce or interpret ambiguous regulations have deferred to those agency interpretations under so-called Auer (or Seminole Rock) deference, which says that the agency interpretation controls unless it is “plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation.” Continue reading this entry

Chicago’s Technology Community Includes a Growing Automotive Technology and Research Sector

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In recent years, Chicago has become a hot spot for technology companies. Established companies like Google and Motorola Mobility are expanding their footprint in Chicago, and growing companies work with incubators and accelerators such as 1871 in the Merchandise Mart and Catapult Chicago to innovate and connect. Now, Chicago has an expanding community of automotive technology and research companies. Continue reading this entry

Peeking Behind the Curtain: Macroeconomic Insight into Manufacturing

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Last week, Dr. Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (“NAM”), visited Foley & Lardner’s Chicago office and shared a macroeconomic update on the manufacturing industry. His comments and charts (he’s an economist, of course he had charts) provided great insight. While Dr. Moutray’s comments were focused on manufacturing as a whole, he zoomed in on the automobile industry more than a few times.

A whopping 88% of NAM members surveyed were optimistic as of the end of the first quarter of 2015. Still, Dr. Moutray did not shy away from some significant challenges and uncertainties facing the industry. We are grateful to Dr. Moutray for the time he spent with us, and we wanted to share some of the highlights with you. Continue reading this entry

The FCPA Mandate in a Nutshell

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As discussed in our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) overview, automotive companies participating in international business must be mindful of the FCPA. Though many are aware of the FCPA, some do not understand its breadth and depth. Below is a bare-bones breakdown of this federal law’s scope. While the below outline will help readers understand future posts about FCPA defenses, penalties, and compliance, the FCPA contains many nuances, so you should consult legal counsel to analyze specific facts and circumstances. Continue reading this entry

Yesterday’s Car Buff Is Today’s Hacker

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If you need any evidence that modern vehicles are becoming more computer than car, look no further than this month’s over-the-air update from Tesla Motors pushed out to all of its Model S sedans. Like the latest iOS from Apple or a Security Update from Microsoft, a car manufacturer has the ability to remotely and automatically implement major changes to already-sold vehicles. Such updates will become increasingly common over time, but also highlight the role software plays in modern vehicles – software that consumers may also try to modify. Continue reading this entry