Managing Automotive

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Managing Automotive

Industry Interests

Industry Interests, Litigation
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Arent Fox Secures Precedent Setting Victory on Behalf of Maserati Dealers

New York, NY - Earlier this week, Arent Fox LLP secured an important decision on margin and bonus programs for Maserati dealers in New York. The Arent Fox team argued before Administrative Law Judge Walter Zulkoski of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, who ultimately granted in all aspects the firm’s motion for partial summary judgment. 
 

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Industry Interests
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Amazon is planning to sell CARS as online retail giant starts hiring new dealer sales staff

Reports suggest the company will start selling vehicles on the UK website, before rolling out to other countries if the trial is successful.

While Amazon hasn’t confirmed or denied the reports, details of the launch have been leaked by a trade magazine in Germany.

Automobilwoche claims the e-commerce platform wants to start selling cars in Europe, and has already started to recruit industry experts, including specialist Christoph Moeller, who confirmed to the publication that Amazon has also started hiring car sales staff.

[The Sun]

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Industry Interests
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U.S. House panel approves legislation to speed deployment of self-driving cars

An influential U.S. House committee approved a revised bipartisan bill on a 54-0 vote that would speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls and bar states from blocking autonomous vehicles.  The bill would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year, a cap that would rise to 100,000 vehicles annually over three years.  Automakers and technology companies believe chances are good Congress will approve legislation before year end.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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U.S. regulators approve fix for 326,000 VW diesels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board approved a fix for 326,000 Volkswagen AG diesel cars, the agencies and the automaker said.  The fix will include hardware and software upgrades, including replacing an emissions catalyst but will reduce vehicle fuel economy ratings by as much as 2 miles per gallon.  The world's largest automaker will still need to obtain approval for a resale plan for the 2009-2014 model diesel vehicles after making repairs - something that is expected in the coming weeks - but the fix is a significant milestone for the company that aims to move beyond its diesel emissions crisis.

[Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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Penske Automotive says Q2 net income rises 14 percent - Retailer calls results the best in company history

Penske Automotive Group Inc. reported a 14 percent gain in second-quarter net income, crediting increased business in used-vehicle sales, service and parts and finance and insurance.  But, like Asbury Automotive Group Inc., Penske also saw its gross profit margins per vehicle squeezed in both new and used vehicle sales.  The nation's second-largest dealership group said net income rose to $106.2 million in the quarter as revenue jumped 2.5 percent to $5.38 billion. 

[Automotive News]

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Industry Interests
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Big U.S. Auto Discounts Are Hurting Asian Carmakers' Profits

Asian carmakers are taking hits to their profits from having to spend more to move metal in America.  Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. both cited higher incentive spending in the U.S. as reasons behind a slump in quarterly profit, with a political backlash in China adding to a cloudy outlook for Hyundai, South Korea’s largest automaker. More evidence of the industry’s pain is likely to come next week, with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. scheduled to report earnings.

[Bloomberg]

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Industry Interests
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FCA earns $1.4B on 2Q global profits

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said its net profit nearly tripled from a year ago to a record 1.2 million euros ($1.4 billion) on strong results in its international regions as well as from Maserati and its components business.  The gains came on flat revenue.  “It was a strong quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer said in a call with analysts and investors. “With the progress we’ve made in the first half of the year, we are confirming our full-year guidance.”

[Detroit News]

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Ford, MDEQ settle over tainted groundwater in Livonia

Ford Motor Co. will continue cleaning up harmful chemicals discovered in the groundwater and soil around the Livonia Transmission Plant and will submit plans to prevent future contamination, according to a settlement filed with the state. Ford has been investigating and abating the contamination since it was discovered in 2014, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court. Ford said in early 2016 that samples with potentially cancer-causing chemicals were found seven feet or more underground, but those chemicals pose no health risk to residents.

[Detroit News]

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Industry Interests
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German carmakers face potential new scandal over antitrust issues

Germany’s high-end carmakers face a potentially destructive new scandal after European antitrust authorities said that they were looking into allegations that Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW colluded illegally to hold down the prices of crucial technology, including emissions equipment. If proven, the allegations threaten to further damage the country’s reputation for engineering excellence. That reputation has already been badly tarnished by Volkswagen’s admission that it illegally installed software in its diesel-powered cars to evade standards for reducing smog. 

[New York Times]

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Industry Interests
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Lyft forms an autonomous vehicle unit

Lyft said that it is setting up its own unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but its approach will be different from other companies and partnerships working on self-driving cars. The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service says it will open its network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers and gather data. It may even share computer software and sensor technology.

[Los Angeles Times]

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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.