Analysis by Julie Dautermann, Competitive Intelligence Analyst
This update helps automotive suppliers inform their legal and operational decisions to help address challenges and opportunities. Contact your Foley relationship partner, or Ann Marie Uetz, Vanessa L. Miller, or Nicholas J. Ellis, to follow up.
- U.S. new light-vehicle sales totaled 13.7 million units in 2022, representing an 8% decline from 2021 and the lowest volumes since 2011, according to analysis from LMC Automotive.
- The Detroit News reports GM sold 2.27 million new vehicles in the U.S. last year, representing an increase of 2.5% from 2021 and making it the top ranked U.S. automaker based on sales volumes.
- Wards Intelligence reports Canadian new light-vehicle sales reached 1.52 million units in 2022, representing an 8% drop from 2021.
- Foley & Lardner addressed the potential impact to electric vehicle manufacturers of the renewable fuel standard environmental credit (“e-RIN”) in recent proposed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Foley & Lardner Partner Craig Dillard is quoted in the Insider article, “The race to make electric cars cheaper is making electric cars more expensive,” discussing the impact of lithium availability on electric vehicle (EV) pricing.
- Approximately $33 billion in new automotive and battery factory investment was pledged in the U.S. between January and November 2022, following new factory commitments of $37 billion in 2021, according to analysis by the Center for Automotive Research excerpted in The Wall Street Journal. CAR estimates recent factory investment is up by more than eightfold from two decades ago, and the increase is attributed to the shift to electrification and federal subsidies for domestic battery manufacturing.
- LMC Automotive predicts U.S. light vehicle production capacity will increase by 2027 to over 25 million vehicles at 108 plants, up from nearly 21 million vehicles across 88 plants in 2018.
- China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) was the top global EV battery maker in 2022,according to data from SNE excerpted in Bloomberg. The analysis indicates CATL has more than double the market share of its closest competitor.
- The KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey released in December indicates a median expectation for battery-electric vehicles to represent 25% of the U.S. new vehicle market by 2030, compared to a median expectation of 50% in the previous edition released in 2021.
- S&P Global Mobility estimates the number of electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. must quadruple through 2025 and increase by over eight-fold by 2030 to meet projected EV sales demand.
- A number of major automakers reported full-year 2022 U.S. sales volume declines compared to 2021 results: Toyota sold 2.1 million units, representing a 9.6% decline; Stellantis sold 1.5 million units (-13%); Hyundai and Kia sold 1.4 million units (-1%); American Honda reported sales of under one million units (-33%). Ford sold 1.8 million units last year (-2.2%); however its EV sales more than doubled to over 61,000 units.
- According to partial data from the National Traffic Safety Administration excerpted in Forbes, Ford reported the most U.S. vehicle recalls among major automakers in 2022.Searchable data can be found via NHTSA Recalls by Manufacturer.
Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology
- According to a report released January 9, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation estimates more than 652,000 EVs were sold in the first three quarters of 2022, representing 6.5% of all U.S. light-vehicle sales during the time period. The category of EVs in this estimate includes battery, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles.
- As part of its energy predictions for 2023, Wood Mackenzie projects U.S. electric vehicle sales will reach over 2 million units this year.
- The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS defined certain terms including vehicle classifications and “final assembly” found in the Section 30D Clean Vehicle Credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, according to an update released on December 29.The agencies are expected to issue proposed guidance for critical mineral and battery component requirements in March 2023.
- The Biden administration released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization which is intended to guide future policy decisions, R&D and deployment in the public and private sectors. Among the goals within the report are the targets for 50% of new light vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2030, and 30% of new medium and heavy-duty truck and buses to be zero-emission by the same timeframe.
- Tesla delivered 1.31 million vehicles in 2022, representing growth of 40% from 2021.The company had previously expressed a goal to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries.
- Stellantis announced plans to acquire a stake in Symbio, a Faurecia and Michelin joint venture focused on zero-emission hydrogen mobility.
- GM is voluntarily recalling certain 2017-2023 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to a seat belt component which could cause a vehicle’s carpet to ignite in the event of a crash.
- At CES, Sony revealed an EV prototype called Afeela, which will be built through the company’s mobility joint venture with Honda. The vehicle is estimated to begin deliveries in North America in 2026.
- Mercedes-Benz announced plans to build a global network of 10,000 high-power EV chargers by the end of the decade. As part of this goal, the automaker will partner with MN8 Energy and ChargePoint in North America.
- Amazon and EVgo will provide a new service powered by the Alexa voice assistant to help EV drivers locate and pay for charging sessions.
- Stellantis announced a five-year agreement with Australian miner Element 25 Ltd. to secure supplies of manganese sulphate monohydrate for electric vehicle batteries.
Automated, Autonomous or Connected Vehicle Technologies
- CES 2023 included a focus on automated driving technologies for commercial vehicles, according to an update from Transport Topics.
- Qualcomm and Salesforce plan to develop a new connected vehicle platform for automakers, according to an announcement at CES last week.
- As part of a partnership announced at CES, Foxconn will manufacture electronic control units (ECUs) for vehicles based on Nvidia‘s DRIVE Orin chip made specifically for computing in connected and autonomous vehicles. Foxconn will also use Nvidia’s DRIVE Hyperion sensor suite for its upcoming electric vehicles.
Market Trends and Regulatory
- On December 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule to update emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles and engines which take effect with the 2027 model year. The new standards are intended to reduce smog and soot pollution, including a projected reduction of nitrogen oxides emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in 2040 by more than 40%. In support of its Clean Trucks Plan, the agency intends to separately issue additional rules which will begin in model year 2027 for “Phase 3” greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for heavy-duty vehicles, as well as proposed multi-pollutant standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles.
- The Senate Finance Committee submitted questions on December 22 to a number of major automakers concerning whether their supply chains are using any parts or materials made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
- UBS analysts predict automakers’ revenue from assisted driving and connectivity technologies could reach a $700 billion total addressable market by 2030. This is revised from a previous UBS market forecast of $2 trillion by 2030 due to the later arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. UBS described software as “the next big disruptive technology” for the automotive industry. [Full report not publicly available]