Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley”) hosted a breakfast program, “Top Issues Facing the Automotive Industry in 2016,” held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The Foley program featured industry leaders Karl Heimer, Founding Partner of AutoImmune Inc., Praveen Chandrasekar, Consulting & Research Manager at Frost & Sullivan, Matthew Paroly, Chief Legal Officer for TI Automotive, and Foley Partner Christopher Grigorian. Foley Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jay Rothman introduced the speakers, who provided unique perspectives on the top 2016 trends in automotive cybersecurity, telecommunications, warranty and recall exposure, and NHTSA developments, that continue to rapidly shape the industry.

Automotive Cybersecurity

In automotive cybersecurity, Karl Heimer of AutoImmune, Inc. explored a plethora of issues including:

  • the magnitude of possible software code error rates in new vehicles
  • methods other industries have employed to tackle hacking and malware threats
  • industry advances in over the air software updates
  • industry trade groups at the forefront of addressing cybersecurity threats; and,
  • fundamental industry changes needed to make connected vehicles more secure.

Heimer also discussed industry predictions concerning car sharing and examined liability issues involving connected vehicles.

Telecommunications

Praveen Chandrasekar of Frost & Sullivan covered recent industry advances in the area of telematics, examined how the internet has fundamentally altered other industries, and discussed examples of fast-paced engineering advancements in connected cars, including aftermarket companies’ recent push to collect end customer data and build telematics services. Chandrasekar also explored industry and OEM developments in over the air software updates.

Warranty and Recall

With regard to warranty and recall risk within the industry, Matthew Paroly of TI Automotive addressed methods for manufacturing companies to better track and manage their warranty risk, the use of warranty agreements, the importance of data points, and the need for a multi-disciplined team to handle warranty issues. Paroly also offered practical strategies for utilizing commercial solutions, when appropriate, to resolve warranty disputes.

NHTSA Developments

Christopher Grigorian of Foley discussed recent enforcement developments and trends concerning NHTSA penalties, as well as NHTSA’s focus on recall timeliness, technical service bulletins, and accuracy of reports. In addition, Grigorian explored methods for automotive suppliers to manage compliance, implications of the recently-enacted FAST Act, and NHTSA’s involvement in cybersecurity and the development of industry standards for vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity.

Attendees of the program also received a copy of Foley’s whitepaper, “Top Legal Issues Facing Automotive Suppliers in 2016,” which addresses certain of these and other legal developments over the past year. For a copy of the whitepaper, click here.