Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car division, dropped three of four patent-infringement claims in its lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. over the startup’s autonomous vehicle program. Waymo’s decision to include patent claims in its complaint against Uber was a surprise move for Google parent Alphabet, which normally prides itself on limiting patent fights. The bulk of Waymo’s case is not over patents, but trade secrets.
Faulty fuel pump parts that have spurred U.S. recalls of more than 450,000 SUVs by Volkswagen AG and its Porsche and Audi brands were supplied to 13 other automakers and suppliers, German auto-parts maker Continental AG told U.S. regulators. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now probing whether vehicles and parts sold by those other companies also contain defective fuel pump flanges from Continental, which can crack and cause a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire, according to a document posted on NHTSA’s website. In a NHTSA filing made public, Continental said it also sold the potentially defective parts to automakers including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover.
Takata’s Chapter 11 case had an official committee appointed that includes personal injury victims of the defective airbag inflators that drove the company into bankruptcy, giving such claimants a rare and powerful voice in the proceedings. The U.S. Trustee’s Office, which appoints official committees in Chapter 11 cases, put together a committee of unsecured tort claimant creditors consisting of seven individuals believed to have been injured by defective Takata airbags linked to at least 11 deaths, and which spurred the largest auto recall in U.S. history. One of the committee’s members, Alexander Bowers, released a statement saying he and the others on the panel asked for the formation because they were concerned they would not have the representation to which they're entitled in the bankruptcy case.
Tesla Inc. said current-quarter deliveries would include about 3,500 vehicles that were in transit to customers at the end of the second quarter, on a day the electric-car maker's first Model 3 rolls off the assembly line. The company said it delivered about 47,100 electric sedans and SUVs in the first half of 2017, at the lower end of its own forecasts, putting pressure on the company's shares. Tesla had then not provided details on the number of vehicles in transit.
Sales in the U.S. slumped last month for Ford Motor Co. and most other automakers, but the Dearborn-based automaker’s Chinese sales grew 15 percent in June. Ford and its Chinese joint ventures sold 100,561 vehicles there in June, the best-ever sales for that month. The company sold 537,522 vehicles there in the first half of the year, down 7 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
A former Audi AG manager is being charged with fraud by the Justice Department for his alleged role in helping Volkswagen AG skirt U.S. emissions standards, a person familiar with the matter said. Giovanni Pamio is facing charges of conspiracy, fraud and violating the Clean Air Act in a criminal complaint filed in Detroit, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn't been made public. Pamio is the eighth person charged in the U.S. case, which has cost Volkswagen more than $24 billion in government penalties and owner restitution.
As automakers in the U.S. struggle to keep selling new cars to American consumers at a record clip, Toyota Motor Corp. plans to turn to rental car companies and other fleet operators for a boost. Toyota will nearly match last year's total sales to fleet customers, which means the company has some catching up to do. Deliveries to rental car companies and other fleets were down by about 20 percent during the first six months of the year, according to Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota's North American operations.
After three months as the nation’s most valuable automaker, a bad week in an otherwise stellar year has knocked Tesla from the top perch. Tesla’s growth remains stellar, with shares soaring close to 50 percent this year, twice that at General Motors Co., which retook the spot. Ford Motor Co. has actually fallen in value this year.
A proposed class of Dodge Ram owners has sued Fiat Chrysler and Cummins Inc. in Michigan federal court, claiming Fiat knowingly sold hundreds of thousands of trucks with defective Cummins diesel engines that dramatically reduced fuel efficiency and engine performance. The drivers allege that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC and Cummins have known since at least 2014 that the selective catalytic converter, or SCR, was defective in Dodge Ram 2500s and 3500s with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines built for model years 2013-2017. The SCR system breaks down, clogging the engine’s diesel particulate filter with soot and requiring more fuel to be used in an attempt to burn off that soot, the complaint says.
Until now, states have been driving self-driving vehicle regulations, but the federal government appears poised to take the wheel in a move that could have sweeping effects on interstate travel and commerce, vehicle manufacturing and the United States’ position as a global competitor. “For this technology to reach its potential, you’re going to need some certainty and not have this patchwork of state and local regulation,” said Michael Drobac, a senior adviser on technology and public policy for McGuireWoods LLP. The U.S. House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection discussed 14 separate proposals for federal regulation of autonomous vehicles.
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.