Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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U.S. carmaker lobby wants rules of origin left intact in NAFTA talks

A powerful U.S.-based automakers group said that it favors keeping rules of origin intact in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), echoing comments from its Mexican counterpart. Under the trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada, rules of origin stipulate that products must meet minimum regional, or NAFTA-wide, content requirements to be tariff-free. "We believe the NAFTA rule of origin, which establishes the highest threshold of any free trade agreement the U.S. has ever negotiated, should remain intact," Annemarie Pender, spokeswoman for the Association of Global Automakers, told Reuters.

[Reuters]

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Uber admits it underpaid tens of thousands of New York City drivers

Uber admitted that it had collected tens of millions more from New York City drivers than it should have over a nearly three-year span dating back to November 2014, a critical financial oversight that led the company to pledge to reimburse “every penny,” in the latest setback for the Silicon Valley ride-hailing giant. Tens of thousands of drivers in New York City were shortchanged, Uber acknowledged, and will now collect an average of $900 each in reimbursements, which includes interest on the lost earnings. The full cost to Uber of the payouts could not be immediately learned.  

[Washington Post]

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Jury awards $256M to auto dealer in Nissan suit

Nissan says it will appeal a jury's award of more than $256 million to a California auto dealer who claimed the company put him out of business during the recession. The Orange County panel ruled in favor of Michael Kahn, who owned seven Nissan and other dealerships in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. Kahn claimed Nissan's financing arm had promised to keep his businesses afloat through 2009 but had a "secret plan" to foreclose after stripping him of assets, including his home.

[Washington Post]

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U.S. accuses Fiat Chrysler of trying to mask emissions in 100,000 vehicles

The Justice Department filed a civil complaint alleging that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles installed software designed to cheat emission controls in more than 100,000 diesel vehicles, including its popular Jeep Grand Cherokee sport-utility vehicle. The lawsuit states nearly 104,000 vehicles are “equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices,” the Justice Department said in the complaint, which was filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. The complaint exposes Fiat to up to $4.6 billion in fines and covers 2014-16 model years of Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickups.

[Washington Post]

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Ford ousts CEO as auto industry faces biggest transformation ever

In the latest sign that driverless cars and other revolutionary new technologies are shaking automakers to their roots, the chief executive of Ford Motor Co. just got tossed.

The replacement of Mark Fields with Jim Hackett, who had been running a new unit focused on cutting-edge transportation, is a big deal for Ford. But with the auto industry in upheaval, it’s only the opening act in a long-running drama that will roil the automakers for many years to come.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Pittsburgh Welcomed Uber’s Driverless Car Experiment. Not Anymore.

When Uber picked this former Rust Belt town as the inaugural city for its driverless car experiment, Pittsburgh played the consummate host.

“You can either put up red tape or roll out the red carpet,” Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, said in September. “If you want to be a 21st-century laboratory for technology, you put out the carpet.”

Nine months later, Pittsburgh residents and officials say Uber has not lived up to its end of the bargain. Among Uber’s perceived transgressions: The company began charging for driverless rides that were initially pitched as free. It also withdrew support from Pittsburgh’s application for a $50 million federal grant to revamp transportation. And it has not created the jobs it proposed in a struggling neighborhood that houses its autonomous car testing track.

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Waymo's next challenge is making driverless passengers feel safe

For years the Google coders and roboticists working on driverless cars have focused on making sure their creations could drive safely around California roads. Now, comes the next big test: getting regular civilians comfortable passing the wheel to a machine. This month, Waymo, the mobility division created by Google parent Alphabet Inc., is starting a free, experimental service that will ferry people around Phoenix, Ariz.

[Automotive News]

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BlackBerry working with automakers on anti-hack tool: analyst

BlackBerry Ltd is working with at least two automakers to develop a security service that would remotely scan vehicles for computer viruses and tell drivers to pull over if they were in critical danger, according to a financial analyst. The service, which would also be able to install security patches to an idle car, is being tested by luxury automakers Aston Martin and Range Rover, Macquarie analyst Gus Papageorgiou said in a note to clients. Auto security is among several areas that BlackBerry is betting will boost its revenue after the Canadian company lost its dominance of the smartphone market to Apple Inc and others over the past decade.

[Reuters]

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Delphi joins self-driving alliance with BMW, Intel

German automaker BMW AG, U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp and parts maker Delphi Automotive PLC said they would collaborate on development of a highly-automated self-driving platform for BMW, with Delphi handling integration of components and software. BMW said the new platform is intended to be sold to other vehicle manufacturers, which in turn may choose their own systems integrators to customize the platform to suit their vehicles. The cost, complexity and accelerated pace of development of self-driving vehicles continue to spark sweeping alliances between automobile manufacturers and suppliers.  

[Reuters]

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U.S. judge grants partial injunction against Uber in Waymo car case

A U.S. judge granted a partial injunction against Uber Technologies Inc in a high-profile trade secrets case with Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car unit, ordering Uber to promptly return any Waymo files downloaded by a former Waymo engineer. The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco, said Uber "likely knew" or should have known that the engineer, who now works at Uber, took Waymo materials while Uber was contemplating buying the engineer's company. However, the judge also said few of Waymo's alleged trade secrets have been traced to Uber's self-driving car technology, and that Waymo's patent claims against Uber have proved "meritless." 

[Reuters]

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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.