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.
- The first installment of Foley & Lardner LLP’s Auto Trends 2023 Series provides a number of strategies to help suppliers prepare for warranty and pricing disputes. The second installment shares details concerning new rules for the EV tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. Click HERE to subscribe to the series.
- U.S. new light-vehicle sales reached 1.1 million units in February, representing a SAAR of 15 million units and a 9.5% increase year-over-year, according to estimates from LMC Automotive.
- Foley & Lardner LLP’s automotive thought leaders and the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) are hosting the 2023 Automotive EV Outlook at the Detroit Athletic Club on March 21, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. Please RSVP to attend the discussion and reception focused on resiliency and other key issues in the electric vehicle supply chain.
- Cox Automotive estimates U.S. fleet sales for the first two months of the year are up by 52% compared to the same period last year.
- Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Marcus Sprow is quoted in the Insider article, “It’s not just the chip shortage — other supply chain disruptions are wreaking havoc on automakers and helping keep prices high,” discussing the production challenges automakers are facing in light of the pandemic, the shift to electric vehicles, and supply chain difficulties.
- Foley & Lardner LLP provided an overview of recent developments with electric school buses, and their potential as a mobile power source using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies.
- According to BofA analysis excerpted in Utility Dive, provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act could incentivize over $31 billion in U.S. EV battery manufacturing capabilities between 2022 and 2031.
- A report from public-private partnership Li-Bridge estimates the U.S. will require over $100 billion of incremental investments to strengthen domestic lithium battery supply chains. The report also notes the U.S. battery industry currently captures less than 30% of the value of each cell sold domestically, due to the lack of a “substantial lithium battery supply chain.”
- Ford plans to resume production of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup on March 13, following a five-week shutdown due to a battery issue. The vehicle is expected to have a run rate of 150,000 by the end of 2023, representing more than double the volumes produced in 2022.
- The winner of the UAW presidency is dependent on the resolution of approximately 1,600 challenged ballots resulting from a runoff election between incumbent Ray Curry and challenger Shawn Fain.
- GM will temporarily idle its light-duty truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana for two weeks beginning March 27, in order to “maintain optimal inventory levels.”
Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology
- Tesla announced plans for a new gigafactory in Monterrey, Mexico, and the facility will manufacture a next-gen vehicle.
- Webasto opened a new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico, and it is the first site dedicated to the company’s charging business in the American region.
- The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to purchase over 9,000 Ford E-Transit battery electric vans, with deliveries set to begin in December 2023.The USPS also awarded contracts to three suppliers for the purchase of over 14,000 charging stations that will be installed at Postal Service facilities.
- Uber Freight will partner with mobility company WattEV and shipping specialist CHEP to deploy electric trucks on select routes in Southern California. This represents Uber Freight’s first electric truck pilot.
- Nissan announced it will ramp up its electrification strategy, with plans to release 27 electrified models, including 19 EVs, by the end of the decade. The automaker also intends to reach a global electrification mix of 55% by 2030, up from 50% previously.
- Stellantis invested $155 million into a copper mining project in Argentina. The automaker will become the second largest shareholder in McEwen Copper, which is a subsidiary of Canada’s McEwen Mining. A number of major automakers have increasingly focused on metals and mining as part of an effort to secure supply chains for EV batteries.
- Bloomberg reports battery-powered EVs are often underperforming during higher-speed highway driving compared to expectations based on the vehicles’ range estimates.
- Volkswagen-backed Scout Motors announced plans to invest $2 billion to establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in South Carolina. The new plant is expected to begin producing electric trucks and SUVs by the end of 2026.
- According to the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study, Rivian’s R1T pickup truck ranked highest in overall satisfaction and highest in the premium BEV segment. MINI Cooper Electric is ranked first in the mass market segment.
Automated, Autonomous or Connected Vehicles Technologies
- The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association released federal policy recommendations to help advance the deployment of AVs in the U.S. Key recommendations include reforming the exemption process and modernizing certain vehicle regulations to accommodate autonomous operation.
- As part of a multi-billion dollar deal, Mercedes-Benz will incorporate Luminar’s lidar sensors and software in a “broad range” of vehicles beginning mid-decade.
- Ford established a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Latitude AI, that will focus on developing automated driving technologies for future vehicles.
Market Trends and Regulatory
- S&P Global Mobility’s annual Automotive Loyalty Awards recognized GM in the “overall loyalty to manufacturer” category for the automaker’s eighth consecutive win, and for the first time Tesla was the winner for “Overall Loyalty to Make.”
- The European Union delayed a vote on a law which would require new passenger cars sold in the bloc to be zero-emission vehicles beginning in 2035, following concerns raised by Germany regarding the economic impact.