Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
Litigation
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Arent Fox Negotiates Exceptional Carve-Out Settlement on Behalf of Volkswagen Dealer

New York, NY – Arent Fox LLP is pleased to announce that the firm negotiated an exceptional carve-out on behalf of Volkswagen dealer Palisades Volkswagen in a nationwide VW dealer diesel scandal class action settlement – the largest ever of its kind.

On January 23 the court approved a modified settlement carving out Palisades’ claims from the class action settlement regarding the diesel scandal. This is a win not just for Palisades, but for all VW dealers holding non-diesel related claims against VW.
 

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Industry Interests
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GOP Says CFPB’s Auto-Lending Rule May Violate Federal Law

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday released a report alleging Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray violated federal law in releasing rules for regulating the auto-lending market, which comes amid an intensifying battle over Cordray's future.

The report, the third in a series the Republican majority on the House Financial Services Committee has released blasting the process behind the CFPB’s so-called "larger participant rule" for the auto-lending market, found Cordray ignored the advice of bureau counsel and failed to reopen the comment period on the rule after it closed in order to allow comments on the specific firms that would be covered by the regulation.

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Industry Interests
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Yellow Cab, Long a Fixture of City Life, Is for Many a Thing of the Past

Facing growing competition from ride-hailing apps, taxis are struggling to remain relevant to a generation of digital-minded New Yorkers.

[New York Times]

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Industry Interests, Litigation
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Takata agrees to plead guilty, will pay $1 billion for hiding air bag defect

Takata Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal charge and will pay $1 billion in fines and restitution for concealing a deadly defect in its air bag inflators.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit announced the plea deal on Friday.

Takata will pay a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million to individuals who were injured by the air bags and $850 million to automakers that purchased the inflators. The U.S. district court in Detroit has appointed attorney Kenneth Feinberg to distribute restitution payments.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Industry Interests
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Tesla taps Apple engineer for Autopilot software

Electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc has hired a key Apple Inc software engineer to oversee its Autopilot self-driving software efforts, Tesla said. Chris Lattner, who served at Apple for more than a decade, said in an online message to Apple developers that he would "leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space" without saying which company he planned to join. Later, Tesla posted a message on the company's website saying that Lattner had been hired as vice president of Autopilot software but did not say when he would start work there.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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Ford affirms 2017 to be less profitable than 2016

Ford Motor Co confirmed that it would be less profitable in 2017 than last year, even as cross town rival General Motors Co on the same day gave a much more upbeat forecast that surpassed Wall Street expectations. Ford, the second largest U.S. automaker, affirmed that it was on track to deliver about $10.2 billion in adjusted pretax profit in 2016, matching a forecast it gave previously. Ford said profit would improve in 2018 but in 2017 the company would be pressured as it increased spending on "emerging opportunities" like self-driving cars and a rise in other costs.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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Volkswagen confirms $4.3 billion U.S. settlement over diesel emissions

Volkswagen AG confirmed Tuesday it has negotiated a $4.3 billion concrete draft settlement with U.S. regulators to resolve its diesel emissions issues and plans to plead guilty to criminal misconduct as part of the civil and criminal settlement.

Volkswagen said with the addition of the fine, the automaker's diesel costs are now set to exceed the nearly 18.2 billion euros ($19.2 billion) it has set aside to handle the problem. VW also said it will face oversight by an independent monitor over the next three years.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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U.S. approves fix for some Volkswagen diesels

Volkswagen will soon be able to repair some of its diesel cars so they meet U.S. emissions standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board said they have approved a fix for around 67,000 of the 475,000 Volkswagens and Audis with 2-liter diesel engines that were programmed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. The German automaker acknowledged the cheating in 2015. 

[Detroit News]

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Industry Interests
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Fiat Chrysler recalls 100K vehicles to fix air bags

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 100,000 older trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators. The recall includes mainly passenger but some driver air bags in certain 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs, some 2010 Ram 3500 chassis cabs, and certain 2005-2009 Ram 2500 pickups. Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to cause a small explosion designed to inflate the air bags in a crash.

[Detroit News]

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Industry Interests
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Nissan self-driving system teams AI with human advisers

Nissan Motor Co. believes it can help bring self-driving vehicles to the masses using a new system developed from NASA technology. Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Japanese automaker plans to launch a new “Seamless Autonomous Mobility,” or “SAM,” system that combines in-vehicle artificial intelligence with human support to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations. The basis was NASA’s Visual Environment for Remote Virtual Exploration software, which is used to visualize and supervise interplanetary robots to avoid obstacles and calculate safe driving paths through uncertain environments.

[Detroit News]

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ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP

Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.