Category Archives: Business

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Storm Clouds on the Horizon: Restructuring Risks Facing the Auto Industry

While the economy overall is strong and vehicle sales are still robust, there are risks in the industry that may affect the supply chain and cause disruptions throughout the year. Chief among these are the ongoing concerns regarding tariffs on products such as steel and aluminum, along with the on-again, off-again trade disputes with China. … Continue reading this entry

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing Accelerating

vehicle manufacturing
The rapid adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies leaves manufacturers with a choice: accelerate with the market or be left behind.  According to a 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report, the market for artificial intelligence in manufacturing will grow to $16 billion by 2025.  Factors driving the adoption of Industry 4.0, the general name given to … Continue reading this entry

Report from OESA Meeting: 2019 Automotive Market Outlook and Connectivity Trends

vehicle manufacturing
Experts warned in late 2018, that they expected to see new light vehicle sales in the U.S. dip for 2019.  A year earlier, many predicted the same sort of decline for 2018 but last year’s numbers proved them wrong.  U.S. sales in 2018 reached 17.3 million, a gain of 0.6% and the fourth biggest year … Continue reading this entry

New Developments in Conducting Business in Mexico and the Impacts on Automotive Manufacturers

supply chain
NAFTA/Mexico Update The global automotive industry is experiencing one of the most significant trade shifts in over two decades, specifically the new developments in conducting business in Mexico, including international trade and product safety. In fall 2018, the United States, Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement to revise the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement … Continue reading this entry

The Art of Holding Harmless: Indemnification Provisions in Supply Agreements and How They Differ from Warranty

According to Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014), indemnity is a “duty to make good any loss, damage, or liability incurred by another.”  At its core, an indemnification is a promise to reimburse a person for a loss incurred by that person.  Often, the obligation to indemnify is limited to third party claims.  Further, there … Continue reading this entry

Best Practices for Customers Structuring Directed-Buy Arrangements

This article explores the following topics: (1) What is a directed-buy arrangement? (2) What significant issues exist for a customer in a directed-buy arrangement? (3) How are directed-buy arrangements handled in the automotive industry? and (4) What are the best practices for a customer entering into a directed-buy arrangement?… Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Grants Cert. In Case That May Re-Define Scope of FOIA Exemption 4’s For Proprietary Business Information

In a case of interest to auto industry companies, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case that will result in the high court’s first opinion interpreting Exemption 4 to the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”)—the exemption companies use most frequently to protect sensitive business information.  … Continue reading this entry

China Using Revised Subsidies to Dominate Future Global EV Production

Starting around 2010, China introduced a series of electric vehicle subsidies aimed at greatly improving the adoption of EVs throughout the country.  The generous subsidies, which are provided by both the central and local governments, amount to RMB 66,000, which is approximately $10,000.  The subsidies have had immense success over the past decade, with exponential … Continue reading this entry

The Driverless Future Isn't Disrupting Industries and Jobs… Yet

car vending machine
John Stuart Mill once said that “[e]very great movement must experience three stages: Ridicule, discussion, adoption”. What matters to modern industry stakeholders isn’t how they approach each of these stages, but how actively they evaluate each “great movement” before it becomes a disruption they can’t overcome. Disruption isn’t some type of sudden event that occurs … Continue reading this entry

As Detroit Auto Show Approaches, Auto Fans Await the Big Reveals

supercars
Each year, the Detroit Auto Show includes spectacular “reveals” by automakers- new vehicles, concept cars, and new advances in technology.  This year is shaping up to include some exciting new releases for fans of the next big thing in the auto industry.… Continue reading this entry

Chinese Auto Sales Continue Longest Slump in Decades

The Chinese automotive industry is suffering its first sustained downturn in at least two decades.  As previewed in our July update, sales in China started to turn over the summer.  After a 4.8% increase in June, sales fell by 4% in July and 3.8% in August.  In September, vehicle sales fell by 11.6%, with SUVs, … Continue reading this entry

2018 Legal Trends for In-House Counsel

supply chain
As part of Foley & Lardner LLP’s ongoing mission to ensure that clients are prepared for dynamic changes in the current legal landscape, the firm recently presented the Association of Corporate Counsel – Michigan and Foley & Lardner LLP 2018 Legal Trends for In-House Counsel Program.… Continue reading this entry

GM's Planned Cuts Require Action by Its Suppliers

Workforce
In the face of what General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra calls a “fast-changing market,” this week General Motors announced its plans to end the production of certain vehicles, reduce its North American work force by more than 10%, and idle five plants in the United States and Canada. General Motors also announced that it plans … Continue reading this entry

Solving the U.S.-China Trade Deficit with Chinese IPOs

stock price
The U.S.-China trade deficit, which last year totaled $376 billion, has become the center of an ongoing trade war between the two nations.  A series of reciprocal and ratcheting tariffs have escalated these tensions, rapidly shifting which manufacturing sectors are profitable and which are not under the ever-unfolding tariff regime.  However, a September Initial Public … Continue reading this entry

Navigating Peaks and Valleys: The OESA’s Industry Outlook Panel

sales
The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) celebrated its 20th Annual Conference this week in suburban Detroit under the theme: “Transom Innovate Lead.” And while this year’s discussion that occurred the day after Election Day was dominated by trade and tariff concerns as well as discussions of talent strategies, leadership and technology, the afternoon session included … Continue reading this entry

The Impact of a No-Deal Brexit Outcome

Brexit
On October 17, 2018, politicians expected to finalize Brexit terms at a 24-hour summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.  Had things gone to plan, a special one-off meeting in November was all that remained to sign the final Brexit deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom.  But the October summit fell apart.  … Continue reading this entry

Commuter Options Rapidly Changing: Should You Sell Your Car?

bike sharing
The way people get to work is rapidly changing in cities around the country. With many cities experiencing issues with lack of parking and increased parking prices, new ways to commute to work are providing a solution. Commuting used to involve a few options: drive, bike, if you own one, or maybe walk if your … Continue reading this entry

Why Detroit and Silicon Valley Should Combine Their Autonomous Vehicle Pursuits

Detroit
From Blade Runner to the Jetsons, autonomous vehicles have been a mainstay in movies set in the future.  With Detroit and Silicon Valley leading the charge, these depictions will soon be reality in the not too distant future.  While the Big Three in Detroit and the tech giants on the West Coast started out as … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Industry Forum Preview: As the Auto Industry Transforms, It Grapples with Issues of Cybersecurity, IP & Connectivity

tariffs
By guest author Gregg Wirth of the Legal Executive Institute. The American automotive industry in no longer making your father’s Oldsmobile — not by a long shot. Today, pushed by evolving consumer behaviors, transformative technologies, and global market pressures, the automobile industry has entered a new industrial revolution where ingenuity and opportunity coalesce, and the tools of … Continue reading this entry

Ford, Baidu LOI Further Evidences Continued International Automotive Collaboration

Mobility
In June, Baidu, Inc., China’s largest search and internet-related service provider, and Ford Motor (China) Ltd. signed a Letter of Intent to expand their strategic partnership.… Continue reading this entry

Force Majeure Best Practices – Hurricane Florence Edition

hurricane
The threat presented by Hurricane Florence has forced government officials to order South Carolina residents to evacuate hurricane zones. Safety should always be the No. 1 priority for the millions of individuals and families affected by the storm. The mandatory evacuation and closure of many businesses and schools in the area has shut down a … Continue reading this entry

Vehicle Subscription Plans Gaining More Attention, Scrutiny

Consumers are familiar with the two traditional options for vehicle ownership—buy a car, or lease a car.  However, a new option has been emerging in recent years: vehicle subscriptions.  A vehicle subscription includes a set monthly payment for a certain period of time- as short as a day or two or as long as several … Continue reading this entry

Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times

sales
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR)’s annual Management Briefing Seminars are being held this week in Traverse City, Michigan.  Tuesday’s sessions included an annual highlight of the conference: a detailed update and outlook on “Forecasting the North American Sales and Production Footprint in Uncertain Times,” presented by a panel of leading automotive forecasters, analysts and … Continue reading this entry

Serial Market Disruption: Ford Looks to Detroit’s Railroad Past to Lead the Way in Transportation Innovation

Michigan Central Station
After weeks of speculation and rumors, the Ford Motor Company announced its purchase and plan to invest over $1 billion into the Michigan Central rail depot in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood.  Made public 115 years to the day after Henry Ford signed the company’s articles of association, Ford plans the investment to mark a new … Continue reading this entry