Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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Volvo Cars raises $500 million in move towards possible share listing

Volvo Cars has raised 5 billion Swedish crowns ($532 million) from a group of Swedish institutional investors, taking it a step towards a share market flotation nearly seven years after being bought by Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings. The investors have bought newly-issued preference shares that would have "an immaterial dilutive effect" on Geely's 100 percent ownership, Volvo said, while suggesting that the deal marks a milestone in its turnaround in Chinese hands after deep losses under previous owner Ford Motor Co. "This move is another step towards Volvo Cars' long expressed ambition to act as a listed company," Volvo said in a statement.

[Reuters]

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With a push from the tech industry and others, automated vehicles are getting the green light without yielding to public interest.

Love was in the air at President-elect Donald J. Trump’s summit meeting last week with tech executives. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was really feeling it, coming as it did a day after the company announced that its self-driving technology was ready for commercialization. The meeting was a giant green light for an industry and the multitrillion-dollar investment it will represent, the cost largely to be borne by consumers and government.

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GM inventory at 8-year high; will reduce car production

A glut of inventory is prompting General Motors Co. to reduce production at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, as well as at factories in Lansing, Ohio and Kentucky. GM says it had more than 874,000 cars, trucks and crossovers in its inventory at the end of November — the most it has had in its U.S. stock in eight years, when vehicles went unsold during the Great Recession. And with some car models nearing six months of supply, GM will stop assembly lines for three weeks in January at Detroit-Hamtramck, according to the United Auto Workers union.

[Detroit News]

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Report: Google set to enter ride-sharing deal with FCA

Google parent Alphabet  plans to launch a ride-sharing service with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new Chrysler Pacifica minivans as part of a reorganization of the tech company’s automotive unit, according to a report from Bloomberg News. The possible deal could lead to an expansion of an earlier agreement between the Auburn Hills automaker and the tech giant launched last spring and would give FCA a direct link to the fast-emerging ride-sharing industry. Google's self-driving car project held an event in San Francisco to announce that it renamed itself Waymo as it continues to work toward developing autonomous vehicles for the public.

[Detroit Free Press]

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China to penalize U.S. automaker for monopolistic behavior: China Daily

China will soon slap a penalty on an un-named U.S. automaker for monopolistic behavior, the official China Daily newspaper reported, quoting a senior state planning official. Investigators found the U.S. company had instructed distributors to fix prices starting in 2014, Zhang Handong, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's price supervision bureau, was quoted as saying. Zhang was quoted as saying no one should "read anything improper" into the timing or target of the penalty. 

[Reuters]

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GM asks Supreme Court to reverse ignition switch claims ruling

General Motors Co asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court's ruling that the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy does not shield it from lawsuits over a faulty ignition switch linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries. The petition marked a last-ditch effort by GM to block hundreds of customer lawsuits over faulty ignition switches, and other vehicles components, on grounds that they were barred by the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy sale to a new corporate entity. In its petition, GM said the federal bankruptcy code permits a purchaser, in this case a newly formed company, to obtain a debtor's rapidly deteriorating assets and be "free and clear" of its liabilities.

[Reuters]

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U.S. proposes requiring vehicles to 'talk' to each to avoid crashes

The U.S. Transportation Department on Tuesday proposed requiring all new cars and trucks to be able to "talk" to one another using short-range wireless technology to potentially avoid tens of thousands of crashes annually. Regulators, which first announced plans to pursue requiring the technology in early 2014, are proposing to give automakers at least four years to comply from the time it is finalized and would require automakers to ensure all vehicles "speak the same language through a standard technology." The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that talking vehicles could eliminate or reduce the severity of up to 80 percent of crashes where alcohol is not a factor, especially crashes at intersections or while changing lanes.

[Reuters]

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UM to lead Midwest DOT Automated Transportation center

The University of Michigan said its Ann Arbor campus will serve as the Midwest’s Center for Connected and Automated Transportation, a new project financed by a $2.47 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Six universities will participate in the center, which will explore how communities can transition to connected and automated vehicles. The center also will research advanced mobility policy; designing advanced roads, intersections and bridges; public acceptance of self-driving cars and connected and self-driving transportation system control and operations.

[Detroit News]

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Meet Waymo, Google's self-driving car company

Alphabet Inc's Google self-driving car project recast itself as Waymo, an independent entity within the technology giant, as executives suggested the company is close to bringing its autonomous driving to the public. Although no deals were announced, the move signals a desire to finally monetize the company's valuable research amid fierce competition from a score of rivals all vying to be the first to launch production-ready self-driving cars. Google's high-profile program, now in its seventh year, has been at the forefront of self-driving technology, but is now challenged by companies from Uber Technologies Inc to Apple Inc and traditional car companies in the fast-growing industry.

[Reuters]

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Arent Fox Attorneys Aaron Jacoby and James Westerlind Talk on Privacy, Cybersecurity, Connected Cars and Driverless Vehicles

Arent Fox attorneys Aaron Jacoby and James Westerlind participated in an Expert Analysis Q&A which appeared in the November 29 Westlaw Journal Automotive (published by Reuters) titled, “Privacy, cybersecurity, connected cars and driverless vehicles.”  During the Q&A, Aaron and James talked about how cybersecurity and privacy are primary concerns in American life, from hacks of the internet through robot devices to vehicle communication and connectivity, and how that relates to driverless vehicles.

To read the entire article, click here.

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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.