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.
- Foley & Lardner will host a half-day Automotive Forum on Wednesday, September 13, at the Detroit Athletic Club to coincide with the 2023 North American International Auto Show. Register HERE to attend the morning forum and hear more about key business and legal issues impacting the automotive industry.
- Foley & Lardner provided an overview of certain key issues for suppliers to consider in preparing for a potential strike by the UAW. The Union’s contracts with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis are set to expire on September 14, 2023.
- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is communicating with automakers and the UAW in an effort to avert a strike.
- The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) estimates total U.S. new light-vehicle sales for the first eight months of 2023 are up by over 13% compared to the same period last year.
- The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total new-vehicle sales reached 15 million units in August, falling slightly short of analyst projections.
- Cox Automotive estimates new-vehicle inventory surpassed 2 million units at the start of September, up from 1.96 million units at the beginning of August. According to the analysis, inventory levels last exceeded 2 million units in April 2021.
- Analysis from UBS predicts Chinese OEMs could double their share of the global auto market by 2030, due to factors that include an ability to produce affordable EVs at a significant cost advantage in comparison to Western automakers. (Full report requires subscription)
- China exported 2.3 million passenger cars in the first eight months of 2023, representing an increase of 72% year-over-year, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association excerpted in CNN. Roughly 25% of the exports were EVs, and Europe was the top destination for vehicles made in China.
- EVs now represent at least 5% of new car sales in 23 countries, marking a threshold that signals the start of broader adoption, according to analysis in Bloomberg.
- GM resumed pickup truck production last week at three North American plants following full or partial shutdowns due to parts shortages.
- Toyota set a global production target of 10.2 million vehicles for this calendar year. If achieved, this would mark the first time vehicles produced under the Toyota and Lexus brands surpass 10 million units in a calendar year.
Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology
- Cummins, Daimler Truck and Paccar will form a joint venture and invest up to $3 billion in a 21-gigawatt hour (GWh) factory in the U.S. to manufacture batteries for commercial electric vehicles and industrial applications.
- The U.S. Department of Energy will provide $2 billion in grants and up to $10 billion in loans to help auto companies convert existing factories to produce hybrid and electric vehicles. The DOE will also provide $3.5 billion in funding to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for applications including EVs.
- Hyundai and LG Energy Solution will invest an additional $2 billion into an upcoming battery cell manufacturing plant located in proximity to the automaker’s future EV manufacturing facility in Bryan County, Georgia. With the announcement, the EV and battery complex represents an estimated $7.59 billion investment, and it will create up to 8,500 new jobs in the region.
- Consumers have experienced a number of challenges with rental EVs, including inadequate operating instructions, difficulty finding charging stations, or receiving vehicles that are not fully charged.
- Shortages of technicians and independent repair shops qualified to fix EVs could increase repair and warranty costs for drivers, according to a report in Reuters.
- CNBC reports electric roads which allow drivers to wirelessly charge vehicles while in motion could emerge as a potential solution to supplement static charging.
- China’s Gotion will build a new $2 billion EV battery manufacturing plant in Manteno, Illinois.
- As part of an expanded agreement, Hilton will install Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at up to 2,000 Hilton hotels and properties in North America beginning in 2024.
- The pace of deploying charging infrastructure in California is insufficient to support the state’s transition toward zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, according to views from the California Trucking Association featured in Transport Topics. The article notes the construction of charging stations in the state can average 2-5 years or longer.
Automated, Autonomous or Connected Vehicles Technologies
- Passenger vehicles are described as the worst consumer product category for data privacy in a study by nonprofit Mozilla Foundation. The analysis indicates that 84% of the 25 car brands in the study share or sell consumer data, and it was not possible to confirm minimum security standards for any of the brands.
- Tyson Foods will use Gatik autonomous trucks to move certain products to its distribution and storage facilities in northwest Arkansas.
- Former Argo AI founders are launching a new autonomous trucking startup, Stack AV, with backing from SoftBank Group.
Market Trends and Regulatory
- The U.S. Treasury Department intends to provide guidance by the end of 2023 on the Inflation Reduction Act’s Section 45X Advanced Manufacturing Production Tax Credit. The tax credit is intended to incentivize domestic production in areas including EV batteries.