Foley Automotive Report

13 September 2022 Dashboard Insights Blog
Author(s): John R. Trentacosta Ann Marie Uetz

Foley Automotive Report

Analysis by Julie Dautermann, Competitive Intelligence Analyst

This report helps automotive suppliers inform their legal and operational decisions to help address challenges and opportunities. Contact your Foley relationship partner, or John R. Trentacosta or Ann Marie Uetz, to follow up.

Key Developments

  • Foley & Lardner will host a half-day Automotive Forum on Wednesday, September 14, at the Detroit Athletic Club to coincide with the 2022 North American International Auto Show. Register HERE to attend the morning forum and hear more about key business trends and legal issues impacting the automotive industry.

  • LMC Automotive estimates U.S. new light-vehicle sales reached a cumulative total of just over 9 million units between January and August 2022, representing a decrease of 15% from the same period last year.  Due to factors including economic uncertainty and ongoing supply constraints, LMC adjusted its full-year 2022 light-vehicle sales forecast to 13.8 million units, for a decline of 7% from 2021 volumes.

  • S&P Global Mobility revised its 2022 U.S. light-vehicle forecast to 14.1 million units, from a previous projection of 14.6 million units.

  • Kelley Blue Book reports the new-vehicle average transaction price surpassed $48,000 in August 2022, representing an increase of approximately 11% compared to the same period one year ago.

  • Foley & Lardner Partners shared highlights from their panel discussion at the OESA Mobility Supplier Forum held last month at SRI International on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released Cybersecurity Best Practices for the Safety of Modern Vehicles, which updates voluntary guidance provided by the agency in 2016.

  • Electric vehicles and low emissions technology:

    • The most recent article in Foley & Lardner’s Supply Chain Disruption Series provides an overview of current issues affecting the production and supply of lithium-ion batteries . Click here to subscribe to the series.

    • Honda and LG Energy Solution will invest $4.4 billion to build an EV battery factory in the U.S., with the intent to start mass production by the end of 2025.

    • Toyota announced a $5.6 billion investment to expand electric-vehicle battery production in Japan and the U.S., including $2.5 billion at a recently announced plant in North Carolina. Last year, the automaker announced plans to spend over $13 billion by 2030 to develop its battery supply chain.

    • The Federal Highway Administration is seeking comments on a proposal to temporarily waive certain Buy America requirements for electric vehicle chargers in order to “ensure delivery and meaningful results on EV charging projects using Federal-aid highway funds.”

    • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee expressed support for adopting California’s requirement that all new cars sold be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.While over a dozen states have previously followed California’s vehicle emissions standards, a number of government and industry representatives pointed to potential challenges in mandating ZEVs, including increased costs and strain on the electric grid.

Market Trends and Regulatory

  • J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study ranked Hyundai’s Genesis brand highest both overall and among premium brands for adoption and execution of new technologies, followed by Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz.[Press release only, full report not publicly available]

OEMs/Suppliers

  • Volkswagen is exploring an initial public offering for Porsche this fall, and the brand could be valued between €60 billion and €85 billion according to analysis in The Wall Street Journal.

  • Bridgestone announced a $550 million expansion of its plant in Morrison, Tennessee, in order to increase the use of advanced technologies such as equipping all tires produced in the plant with RFID tags.

  • Stellantis and the National Business League announced the launch of the National Black Supplier Development Program, intended to enhance business opportunities for selected participants across a range of disciplines. The program creators completed a pilot program earlier this year.

  • Russia intends to invest billions in domestic automotive components production sufficient to meet the majority of its market demand by 2035, according to a report in Automotive Logistics. Sales of automobiles and light commercial vehicles in Russia were down by 62% in August compared to the same period one year ago, according to data from the Association of European Business excerpted in Bloomberg.

  • A new report from Greenpeace predicts 44% of global automakers “face a high level of physical risk from climate change,” with the highest levels of risk attributed to Toyota due to the potential effects of heat, water supply and hurricanes/typhoons. The analysis is based on data from Moody’s ESG Solutions Database on Physical Risk.

Connected/Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services

  • Waymo will begin testing autonomous Freightliner Cascadia models on public freeways between Dallas and Phoenix, as part of a collaboration with Daimler Truck North America first announced two years ago.

  • Travel center operator Pilot will partner with automated technology developer Kodiak Robotics to develop autonomous truck services at Pilot and Flying J travel centers across the U.S., beginning with an autonomous truck port in Atlanta.

Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology

  • As part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s request for input concerning U.S. mining laws, Ford urged the federal government to improve the permitting process for domestic critical mineral mining projects. The Detroit News reports the current permitting process can take as long as ten years, compared to two to three years in Canada and Australia.

  • The U.S. needs to increase its capabilities in critical mineral mining and refining to support upcoming EV battery production, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

  • Bosch announced plans invest over $200 million to expand an existing facility in Anderson, South Carolina in order to build hydrogen fuel cells for electric trucks.

  • Panasonic is considering locations for a $4 billion EV battery plant in the U.S., according to unnamed sources in The Wall Street Journal. In July, Panasonic announced plans for a new battery plant in De Soto, Kansas.

  • GM and LG Energy Solution began battery cell production at their Ultium Cells LLC joint venture site in Ohio.

  • Global battery-recycling capacity could surpass the available scrap supply as soon as this year, and shortages could persist “well into the next decade” until significant volumes of EVs are ready for recycling, according to predictions from Circular Energy Storage referenced in Bloomberg.

  • Mercedes-Benz and Rivian formed a strategic partnership to jointly produce large electric vans in Europe “starting in a few years.”

  • California-based Harbinger Motors plans to introduce its electric medium-duty vehicles at the North American International Auto Show.

  • Stellantis announced its Jeep brand will introduce four all-electric SUVs in North America and Europe by 2025.

  • Volkswagen’s new CEO Oliver Blume expressed support for his predecessor’s EV strategy, while noting the automaker will likely produce “low-carbon combustion engines for many years to come.”
  • As part of an effort to facilitate mass-market appeal, GM’s upcoming 2024 electric Chevrolet Equinox SUV will be priced at approximately $30,000.
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