Category Archives: Supply Chain

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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

IP Considerations for Autonomous Vehicle Technology Startups and Automotive Suppliers

infrastructure
Many automotive suppliers and OEMs have announced plans to bring autonomous vehicles (AVs) – and related components, software and services – to market, often collaborating with technology startup companies to develop the underlying hardware or software. As these parties work together to develop technical solutions, the resulting intellectual property (IP) can become a key asset … 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

Navigating the Aggressive Enforcement of International Regulations: Eight Compliance Tips for Auto Companies

Trade
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 … 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

Brexit: Dead ... Ahead?

Brexit
“Brexit” – the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) 2016 voter referendum to exit the European Union (“EU”) has grown from a nagging itch in many people’s sides to a full-blown feeding frenzy. There is now virtually blow-by-blow news coverage of daily developments. Pundits issue editorial warnings of dire economic consequences ahead (particularly for the UK). Savage political … 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

International Trade: A New Dawn for North American Trade

The business community, lawmakers and even workers across North America breathed a collective sigh of relief on October 1, 2018, after the renegotiated NAFTA agreement was unveiled. Following negotiations that had become acrimonious, and fears that Canada might be left out, the newly dubbed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) yielded significant but workable changes to cross-border trade … 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

Settling Supply Chain Disputes Arising from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The impact of tariffs in the automotive industry remains a topic of interest. Automotive companies are assessing the impact of the tariffs in their supply chain and developing strategies for passing through increased costs.… 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

Understanding and Coping with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement: USMCA Updates NAFTA Rules of Origin for Motor Vehicles and Auto Parts

supply chain
On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that they have reached an agreement on a “new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century” (USTR, 09/30/2018). Going by the new name of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it will entirely replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).… 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

Strategies for Protecting Against Vendor Payment Fraud

balance sheet
Cybercrime is an ever-increasing threat from which manufacturers are not immune. Although reliable statistics are not available, one particular type of scheme that seems to be on the rise is vendor payment fraud.  In cases of vendor payment fraud, the fraudster poses as an existing supplier and provides the manufacturer with seemingly legitimate instructions changing … Continue reading this entry

Meet the New NAFTA, Same as the Old NAFTA?

manufacturing
After all the gloom and doom and worry, the United States, Canada and Mexico tweaked the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Most importantly (apparently), they changed the name.  Banished is NAFTA.  In its place is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  USMCA might be a bit more cumbersome to say, but that might be the largest … 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

3D Printing Continues Making Inroads in Auto Industry

3D Printing
Additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) has long been a growing part of the auto industry.   Companies started out using 3D printing for prototypes and small batch production.  As technology advanced, the role of 3D printing is rapidly increasing.  This week, several major players in the auto industry announced new developments for the role of 3D … Continue reading this entry

Raw Material and Commodity Purchasing – Key Concerns for Manufacturers

labor and employment
On August 9, 2018, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (“OESA”) held its 2018 Automotive Commodities Event covering a variety of topics related to commodities purchasing, including strategies for price risk management, insights into future mixed material usage in the automotive industry, and legal strategies for navigating volatile commodity markets.  Highlights of the issues discussed during the … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Industry Fights Section 232 Tariffs

labor and employment
It is difficult to find anyone affiliated with the automotive industry in the United States, Europe, Asia or anywhere else who is in favor of tariffs on automobiles, automobile parts, automobile raw materials or anything else that goes into making a car or truck or other vehicle.  The industry seems to be in rare consensus … Continue reading this entry

Automakers Celebrate Strong June Sales as Industry Prepares for Potential Impact of Tariffs

tax credit
Automakers reported strong June sales in the United States.  Riding a wave of truck sales and new crossovers, GM posted a 4.6% increase for the second quarter and increased its market share to 16.6%.  Ford increased total sales in June by 1.2% over June 2017, and increased SUV and truck sales by 8.9% and 3.2%, … Continue reading this entry

Tariffs Wreak Havoc with The Auto Industry

tariffs
Trade issues have been concerning the automotive industry for some time.  Whether it be NAFTA renegotiations (or NAFTA scrapping), Section 232 Tariffs, Exceptions to Section 232 Tariffs, ever since the current administration was elected, the Dashboard has been predicting that trade issues could upend the automotive industry.  That day appears to have come as the … Continue reading this entry

Supply Chain Disruptions Reportedly Increased by 30 Percent Last Year

supply chain
According to a report by JLT Specialty, the automotive industry “was the most disrupted sector in 2017” with an increase in supply chain disruptions by 30 percent over 2016.  The JLT report identified the top five supply chain events as: Factory Fires or Explosions Mergers and Acquisitions Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones Business Sales or Spin-offs Labor … Continue reading this entry

Understanding The Warranty Of Fitness For Particular Purpose In The Automotive Supply Chain

tariffs
For automotive suppliers, some of the most important terms in any contract for the purchase or sale of goods are the warranties that apply to those goods. This article will address one particular kind of warranty – the warranty of fitness for particular purpose. A warranty of fitness for particular purpose generally arises in one … Continue reading this entry