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 National Automobile Dealers Association
estimates U.S. new light-vehicle sales
reached a SAAR of 15.7 million units in January,
representing an increase of approximately 4.5% from January 2022
but remaining lower than pre-pandemic volumes.
- Auto loan rates for new vehicles increased by
over three percentage points in 2022, and the average
monthly payment is over $700, according to analysis from
- Foley & Lardner attorneys summarized major components of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's finalized new
emission standards for heavy-duty highway vehicles and
engines which begin with the 2027 model year.
- Hydrogen-related patenting recently
experienced notable participation from the automotive industry,
according to a Foley & Lardner overview of a joint report by the European
Patent Office and the International Energy Agency.
- A new law in California regulating consumer
notices for partial driving automation features
went into effect last month, according to an update from Foley &
- The Alliance for Automotive Innovation expressed support for a U.S. Treasury
Department decision to update the vehicle
classification standard used to determine certain price
limitations for clean vehicle tax credits under the
Inflation Reduction Act.As a result of the update,
more electric crossovers and SUVs are expected to qualify for the
tax credit of up to $7,500.
- A report in The Wall Street Journal provides an
overview of the supply chain for electric
vehicle battery components.
- Automotive News (subscription)
indicates suppliers may experience "another rough
year" in 2023, amid ongoing market challenges that
include volatile commodity pricing and elevated interest
- A new report from the University of California, Davis, and the Climate and Community Project estimates that by 2050, the projected lithium requirements of the U.S. EV market could require up to triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market.
- Toyota was the top-ranked automaker based on unit sales for
the third consecutive year in 2022. Incoming CEO Koji Sato is expected to face a
number of challenges in maintaining Toyota's market leadership,
including how to position the company for growth amid the
industry's shift to electrification.
- GM reported an annual profit of $9.9 billion on total revenue
of $156.7 billion in 2022, compared to $10 billion and $127
billion, respectively, in 2021. The automaker is planning
$2 billion in cost savings over the next two years
through strategies that include reducing product complexity,
limiting hiring, and using attrition to manage headcount.
- Ford posted a $2 billion profit loss in 2022, which CEO Jim
Farley attributed to issues including supply chain challenges and
the need for the company to improve significantly its management of
costs and quality.
- The Associated Press reports Renault and Nissan reached a decision to restructure their alliance of over two decades, with both companies agreeing to equal ownership stakes.
Electric Vehicles and Low Emissions Technology
- Tesla reported an annual profit of $12.6 billion on
total revenue of $81.5 billion for 2022, up from $5.5 billion and
$53.8 billion, respectively, in 2021.The company is targeting 1.8 million vehicles in 2023,
representing growth of approximately 37%.
- Electric vehicle battery demand for mined
graphite could exceed supply by 2030, according to data
from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence excerpted in The Wall Street Journal.
- Tesla will invest $3.6 billion into expanding its
existing gigafactory in Nevada, and in building
two new facilities in the state: a 100-gigawatt-hour battery cell
factory and the company's first high-volume Semi truck
- BMW will invest over $860 million to produce
electric vehicles and high-voltage batteries in San Luis
Potosí, Mexico. Production is expected to begin in
- Ford will reduce prices on its electric
Mustang Mach-E crossover by 1.2% to 8.8%,
depending on the vehicle configuration.
- GM announced a $650 million equity investment in
Lithium Americas, and the companies plan to
jointly invest in developing the Thacker Pass mine in
Nevada. Production is expected to begin in 2026, and the
lithium originating from this project could supply up to 1 million
EVs per year.
- Electric vehicle battery maker Our Next Energy
(ONE) raised $300 million in a Series B funding
round, bringing the Michigan-based company's valuation to more
than $1 billion.
- Electrify America and TravelCenters of America announced a partnership to install 1,000 chargers at 200 TravelCenters locations over the next five years.
Automated, Autonomous or Connected Vehicles Technologies
- A recent Consumer Reports assessment of 12 active driving assistance (ADA) systems identified the leading technologies as Ford's BlueCruise, Cadillac's Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance.
- Lawmakers in California introduced legislation requiring human operators to be present in autonomous vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.
Market Trends and Regulatory
- Bloomberg reports the U.S.
Customs and Border Protection agency has started detaining
imports of certain types of aluminum products due
to concerns over the use of forced labor in China's Xinjiang
- Fitch Ratings' economic forecast for 2023 includes a neutral rating for the auto
industry, with the expectation easing supply chain
constraints will help offset weaker macroeconomic conditions.
[Full report requires subscription]
- Layoffs in the tech sector may result in recruiting opportunities for automakers that are seeking to strengthen capabilities areas related to software, electrification and batteries, according to Business Insider.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.