Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive

Industry Interests

Industry Interests
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Tesla Tops California Green-Car Credit Sales in Past Year

Tesla Motors Inc. was the top seller of California zero-emission vehicle credits last year with 1,311.52 credits, while Toyota topped hybrid-car credit trades with 507.5 AT PZEV credits. Companies listed by California that acquired ZEV credits for last year were: Chrysler, GM, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Subaru, and Volkswagen. Tesla has reported $119 million in ZEV credit sales this year, with each Model S generating up to seven ZEV credits. [Bloomberg]

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Tennessee VW workers say company coercing them to join UAW

Four workers from Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant filed charges with U.S. labor officials alleging German VW officials are coercing them to agree to UAW representation and that the plant would not get additional vehicle production and future jobs unless a Works Council – which, according to one anti-union group, would force workers to accept the representation of UAW union officials – was installed at the plant. U.S. labor law requires any such council to be recognized through a U.S. trade union, or else be considered an illegal company union. [Reuters]

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Fiat Union to Meet UAW Leaders on Chrysler Deal Impasse

Fiat SpA’s union leaders will meet United Auto Workers officials next week in hopes to beat the stalemate over the Italian automaker’s efforts to merge with Chrysler Group LLC. A UAW retiree health-care trust is forcing Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne to prepare for a listing of Chrysler because the two sides cannot agree on the value of shares held by the union fund. Fim Cisl national secretary in charge of Fiat relations, Ferdinando Uliano, said, “We are concerned that a Chrysler initial public offering would harm a combination of the two carmakers . . . We’ll tell the UAW that only a merger of Fiat and Chrysler would grant a positive future for both companies’ workers.” [Read the Article]

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Advance Auto to Buy General Parts for Top America Ranking

Advance Auto Parts Inc. will buy General Parts International Inc. for $2.04 billion in an all-cash acquisition. Advance Auto said in a statement, “[the takeover] creates the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America, with combined sales of over $9.2 billion.” The companies plan to close the deal by early 2014; Blackstone Group LP and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were financial advisers to Advance Auto. [Bloomberg]

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Accavitti: American Honda Needs to Take More Risks with Marketing

American Honda’s Senior Vice President of Automobile Operations, Mike Accavitti, said the company needs to take more risks with marketing to strengthen its bond with consumers. Accavitti also said Honda has already reallocated about 30 percent of its yearly marketing budget to allow for more risky endeavors – 20 percent for marketing initiatives which may advance Honda’s business goals using new mediums, and 10 percent for “cutting-edge” initiatives which may also carry a high probability for failure. The remaining 70 percent of the budget will be used to continue Honda’s standard marketing procedure of vehicle launches, TV advertising, digital advertising, and other mainstream efforts.

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US Receives $570.1 Million From September GM Share Sale

The US Treasury Department received $570.1 million from its partial sale of GM shares as the government diminishes its investment in the carmaker. The automaker held its IPO in 2010 at $33 a share. Investor confidence is rising in company while shares have climbed 23 percent this year, outpacing the 19 percent increase for the S&P’s 500 Index. The government has recovered $36 billion of the $51 billion it spent to bail out GM and may complete selling its stake before the end of 2013. [Bloomberg]

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Fisker Green-car Government Loan Heads to Auction Block

Defunct electric automaker, Fisker, does not have enough money to pay millions in outstanding bills. As such, the Department of Energy is auctioning off the loan provided prospective bidders offer at least $30 million to qualify with 10 percent down due with the bid. The DOE extended a $529 million loan to Fisker in 2009 under a U.S. program to stimulate green vehicle development. The automaker, which has not built a car in nearly 15 months, has avoided a Chapter 11 filing because investors are paying its day-to-day expenses. Fisker’s worth fell tremendously after a shaky 2011 launch of its $100,000 flagship Karma plug-in hybrid sports car. [Reuters]

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Industry Interests
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GM Prods Dealers to Sell Cars Online

GM plans to expand a new online shopping tool called “Shop-Click-Drive” that allows customers to bypass dealer showrooms when buying new vehicles. The app would allow prospective buyers to lock in the price of a new car, get an estimate of the trade-in value of their old car, and apply for financing for their new vehicle. GM dealers are not required to participate in the project, though about 100 dealers signed up for the pilot launch in January. The automaker also confirmed the program is not intended to replace dealers or showrooms, but to give its dealers another avenue to reach a growing group of young, tech-savvy customers. [Time]

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Industry Interests, Litigation
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California Supreme Court Declines Review of Downtown LA Motors — Auto Technician Wage/Hour Class Action

The California Supreme Court recently voted 6-1 to deny Downtown LA Motors’ petition for review in Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, LP (2013) 215 Cal. App. 4th 36. By declining review, the California Supreme Court confirmed that technicians must be paid a separate minimum hourly wage for time spent waiting between vehicle repairs or performing other non-repair tasks. The Court’s Decision validated a continuing trend of strict liability for wage and hour violations.

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Employment, Industry Interests, Litigation
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Piece or “Flag” Rate and Commission Earnings Cannot Be Averaged Over a Workweek to Satisfy California Minimum Wage Obligations

For those California employers who pay commission or fixed-fee “piece rates” to employees tied to the performance of one primary type of work, those employers now need to pay a separate hourly wage or salary for the performance of any other kinds of work that those employees perform.  In other words, a commission or piece ra

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