A boom in automobile technology and connectivity in 2018 further boosted expectations of consumers regarding the integration and functionality of their devices and vehicles. Automobile manufacturers have responded by developing cars that often include the services of a digital chauffeur, navigator, receptionist, and personal assistant. Automobiles are also expected to communicate with other systems and with the driver’s personal devices, as well as the applications and software services contained therein. As cars increasingly become more complex, integrated and personal to the driver, doorways into the car’s own network are created that increase the risks of cyberattacks and cyber-theft.
We are now two years into the current presidential administration and regulators have imposed three of the ten largest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act penalties in history and the largest export controls penalty of all time. This comes alongside significant tightening of many economic sanctions regulations and ongoing strong antitrust enforcement. With the DOJ, FBI, and the SEC continuing to use dedicated resources to identify violations and to prosecute U.S. laws governing U.S. exports and international conduct, international regulatory risk management is a significant concern for any automotive company that sells to, exports to, or operates in foreign destinations.
Current trends show that technological advances and changing consumer behavior will result in mass market adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles within 10 years. To enable this reality and provide certainty for businesses and localities, the infrastructure, regulatory framework, and trade deals need to be ready and in place. That was the theme of Foley’s 2019 Automotive Industry Conference, hosted by Foley & Lardner LLP partners Ann Marie Uetz and Mark Aiello and held on January 16, 2019, alongside the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
As President Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, cleared a key committee vote this week, a conflict between EPA and the State of California over tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions shows no signs of movement, even as a deadline looms to finalize the Trump administration’s revised tailpipe emissions rules.
Although the number of total vehicle recall campaigns is likely to be down this year, lower volume recall campaigns are expected to continue to trend upwards, including those involving electrical system components.