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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Good News From The Supremes

On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Hector Navarro, finding that Service Advisors at auto dealerships are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime pay requirement. That means that, under the FLSA, automotive dealerships need not pay their Service Advisors time-and-one-half for hours worked beyond forty hours in a workweek.

California Dreaming: Another EV Startup Makes Its Debut

Good luck, you’re gonna need it. SF Motors is the newest kid on the EV block, but they may already have an edge over other startups. SF Motors has already procured two manufacturing plants in the US and china, and packs some serious financial backing from an established auto parts and vehicle maker in China. Not to mention, the backer is family friendly- it’s run by the SF Motors founder’s father. Its batteries are also backed by an auto legacy with technology developed by Martin Eberhard, Tesla’s founder.

VR Hits the Roadshow

The now-quaint arcade car driving simulator has reemerged with fully immersive VR technology. In the competitive expo landscape, VR stands out for its ability to create hard-to-replicate experiences. From seat vibrations to wind in your face, every detail is accounted for to blur the line between the vision and reality. Look for the New York International Auto Show to be one for the books.  

Two’s Company for Ride-Sharing’s Realities

Shared competition is double competition against the likes of Uber and Didi. Two of Germany’s leading automakers, Daimler and BMW, have teamed up to bring the heat in the competitive ride-hailing, car-sharing, and electric vehicle segments of automotive technology. The joint venture includes car-sharing brands Car2Go and Drive Now, ride-hailing, parking, and charging services in a 50-50 percent stake split.

Arent Fox Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby speaks at National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention

On Friday, March 23, Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby spoke on the floor of the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) annual convention, the industry’s largest annual convention. His presentation, titled “Disruptive Influences in the Car Industry,” discussed how these influences such as online sales, direct to consumer sales, and autonomous vehicles affect automotive manufacturing, distribution and retail delivery of vehicles.

Your Next-Gen Boombox May Be Your Car

Speaking of boomboxes, anyone still have cassette tapes lying around? A new sound system technology invites drivers to get in and feel the music as the car itself becomes the speaker. Continental, a German auto-components supplier, has developed what they’re calling Ac2ated Sound- a system that leverages parts of the car’s interior as speaker components. Transducers implanted in the car’s interior help turn the rear window into a subwoofer; the floor, windshield, dashboard, and seat frames into the midrange, and posts between the windshield and doors become the tweeters.

FedEx Hurries Up to Wait for Tesla Trucks

You get a Tesla Semi! You get a Tesla Semi! Everybody gets a Tesla Semi! FedEx recently joined the likes of UPS, Walmart, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch in reserving a fleet of Tesla Semi electric trucks for its freight division. The shipping company, which reserved 20 of the still-to-be-produced vehicles, cited their sustainability initiatives as part of the reasoning behind the investment. Better late than never to the waiting game.

Waymo Doubles Down on Driverless Commitment with 20,000 Jaguars

From mini-vans to Jaguars? We see you, Waymo. Alphabet’s autonomous technology company is charging ahead with its driverless ride-hailing program, investing in up to 20,000 luxury, all-electric Jaguar compact SUVs despite recent competitor setbacks. The Jaguar I-Paces, which are expected to compete against Tesla’s previously uncontested all-electric luxury cars, will join Waymo’s commercial fleet in 2020. Waymo’s purchase would help it handle 1 million rides per day in addition to the capacity they already have through “thousands” of hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

You've Got Mail: Democrats Pen Concerns on Landmark Autonomous Car Bill

Political letters: an underappreciated variation on political memos. Five Democratic US Senators released a letter on March 14 that urged changes to the Senate autonomous vehicles bill. The bill, which would fast-track the development and deployment of self-driving cars, raised concerns that "the bill indefinitely preempts state and local safety regulations even if federal safety standards are never developed," according to the letter by Senators Feinstein, Blumenthal, Gillibrand, Udall, and Markey.

Lyft Signs for Magna Car(as)

Ah, the barons of self-driving cars, and their Great Charter. Magna International, a Canadian auto-parts supplier, has partnered with Lyft to supply the ride-sharing service with kits to turn regular vehicles into self-driving cars. The kits will include camera, radar, and lidar systems. Overall, the company is investing $200 million in Lyft and the co-development of self-driving cars in an example of auto industry diversification as vehicle sales are expected to drop in the ridesharing and self-driving economy. Critical question- do these autonomous car kits come with an Allen wrench?