Foley Weekly Automotive Report - January 2022

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Foley Weekly Automotive Report

This report helps automotive suppliers inform their legal and operational decisions to help address challenges and opportunities.

Key Developments

  • U.S. new light-vehicle sales for full-year 2021 are forecast to reach 14.9 million units, representing an increase of 4.2% from 2020, according to estimates from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.
  • Analysis by Foley & Lardner attorneys predicts the EPA’s new fuel efficiency standards will likely cause automakers to shift additional production to hybrid and/or electric vehicles within the next four years.
  • Average used-car price was close to $30,000 in November 2021, representing an increase of nearly 40% from November 2020.
  • Toyota plans to launch its own automotive operating system by 2025, which will focus on advanced functions including autonomous driving.
  • New Jersey became the first East Coast state to adopt Advanced Clean Truck rules that require phasing in of electric commercial trucks in order to reduce air pollution.
  • Autonomous technology developer TuSimple completed its first semitruck road test with no human safety driver aboard the vehicle.
  • Electric vehicles and low emissions technology:

Market Trends and Regulatory

  • In a new whitepaper, KPMG predicts that a return to balanced levels of new-vehicle supply and demand could occur sometime between October 2022 and “late 2023,” noting that used-car prices will begin dropping before that point.
  • According to commentary by Foley & Lardner attorneys, Mexico’s decree offering amnesty to illegally imported used cars is intended to increase mobility for low-income families, but opponents believe it could negatively impact the nation’s new vehicle sales.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is revisiting an investigation of Hyundai and Kia vehicles due to concerns about potential engine fires. The agency opened a new engineering analysis investigation that covers over 3 million vehicles from the 2011 to 2016 model years.
  • Beginning this year and in accordance with a previous commitment, China will allow full foreign ownership of passenger car manufacturing in the nation.

OEMs/Suppliers

  • GM canceled plans for an in-person keynote at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and will instead move to an “all-digital approach,” due to increased cases of COVID-19.The automaker intends to reveal more about its strategy for mass-market electric vehicles at CES.
  • Key themes for automakers in 2021 include supply chain constraints and the chip shortage, low vehicle inventories, record high new-vehicle prices, and aggressive plans to ramp up electrification.

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services

  • Autonomous vehicle industry group Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets is hoping to limit the amount of data companies must report to regulators in the event of vehicle crashes, noting that strict requirements may hinder industry innovation.
  • A business unit of Geely Holding will develop electric vehicles for Waymo, for use as autonomous ride-hailing vehicles within the U.S.

Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology

  • Nikola reached a $125 million agreement with the SEC to resolve allegations that its former CEO misled investors about the company’s ability to produce vehicles.
  • Government spending on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as a growing number of electric pickup truck models, are expected to boost efforts to build charging stations in rural parts of the U.S.
  • Swedish battery maker Northvolt announced it has assembled the first lithium-ion battery cell that was fully designed, developed and built by a European manufacturer. The company’s first commercial deliveries will occur this year.

Prepared by Julie Dautermann, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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