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Inside this issue
Automotive Forum: Federal and State Agencies to Provide Views on Autonomous Vehicles
U.S. Pursues New Tack in VW Emissions Probe
Takata Enlists Restructuring Lawyers, Report Says
NH 'Auto Dealer Bill of Rights' Upheld by High Court
BMW Sees Slight Sales Growth Amid Fight for Luxury-Car Lead
Robot Cars: Is It Time to Think Twice About Driverless Vehicles?
Top Stories
Automotive Forum: Federal and State Agencies to Provide Views on Autonomous Vehicles


Blair Anderson, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Anne Ferro, president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, will participate in an industry-wide discussion on “Future Mobility” at the 2016 Automotive Forum in New York City on Tuesday, March 22. Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. auto quality for J.D. Power, will host a Q&A session.

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation updated NHTSA’s 2013 policy on autonomous vehicles, and committed $4 billion over the next decade to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation.

AAMVA, a partner with NHTSA, is tasked to develop a model state policy on automated vehicles with the potential to save lives. Later this year, NHTSA is expected to propose safety guidance to the industry on the operation of fully autonomous vehicles.

Other “Future Mobility” speakers and panelists include Stephen Odell, global marketing chief of Ford Motor Co.; Peter Welch, NADA president; and Joe Vitale, global automotive sector lead for Deloitte. Tim Stevens, CNET editor, will moderate a panel session. John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s self-driving cars program, will deliver remarks and join Finbarr O’Neill, J.D. Power president, for a Q&A session.

Nariman Behravesh, IHS chief economist, and John Humphrey, senior vice president and general manager of global automotive for J.D. Power, will discuss the factors and trends shaping the economy and auto industry. Following their remarks, CNBC’s Phil LeBeau will moderate a panel session.

Other speakers include Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW North America, and Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, who will discuss the luxury market.

The full-day Automotive Forum, hosted by NADA, J.D. Power and the New York International Auto Show, will be held at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on Tuesday, March 22. Press days at the auto show begin March 23. For the full agenda or to register, visit www.autoforumny.com
Source: NADA

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U.S. Pursues New Tack in VW Emissions Probe

Federal prosecutors employ financial-fraud law and weigh tax charges over fuel-efficiency credits

The Justice Department is expanding its probe of Volkswagen AG using a far-reaching law against bank fraud to go after the German auto maker over emissions cheating, and it is looking at possible violations of tax laws, according to people familiar with the probe. The Justice Department has issued a subpoena under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, or Firrea, to pursue possible wrongdoing at Volkswagen, these people said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Takata Enlists Restructuring Lawyers, Report Says

Japanese airbag supplier Takata Corp. has enlisted restructuring lawyers at law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP amid global recalls covering millions of vehicles, The Wall Street Journal reported [Tuesday], citing people familiar with the matter. The extent of the law firm's engagement with Takata and the strategies it is advising the company to pursue remain unclear, the newspaper reported.
Source: Reuters

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NH 'Auto Dealer Bill of Rights' Upheld by High Court

A U.S. Supreme Court judge has rejected an effort to put the New Hampshire Auto Dealer Bill of Rights on hold, although the high court could end up hearing an appeal that challenges the 2013 law. Last week, Justice Stephen Breyer turned down a request by manufacturer John Deere to place a stay on the New Hampshire law until an appeal could be heard.

“John Deere has been rebutted by every court ruling so far,” said Pete McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. “Both the New Hampshire lower courts and the New Hampshire Supreme Court have ruled that the state’s Dealer Bill of Rights is constitutional. The swift rejection by the court yet again shows Deere’s recycled arguments are meritless.”

The law affords Granite State dealerships some of the strongest protections in the country. It calls for market-based reimbursement for warranty work; more dealer control over decisions regarding big expenses such as showroom renovations; and just cause for ending a dealer’s franchise. And it effectively ends mandates that require dealers to use out-of-state contractors and suppliers.

The law applies to heavy equipment manufacturers such as John Deere, as well as auto manufacturers such as General Motors. Breyer’s action does not end the appeal entirely. The Supreme Court still has to decide whether to hear an appeal, but McNamara stresses that the high court accepts only a fraction of the appeals filed with the court. The effort to revise laws governing the relationship between motor vehicle dealers and manufacturers was among the most contentious in the 2013 legislative session, as both sides engaged in a protracted lobbying and marketing campaign.
Source: New Hampshire Union Leader

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BMW Sees Slight Sales Growth Amid Fight for Luxury-Car Lead

BMW AG predicted only a slight increase in deliveries, taking a cautious approach for a year when it risks losing its lead in the luxury-car market to Mercedes-Benz. The carmaker also disappointed some investors by not offering a special dividend as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. BMW said Wednesday it plans yet again to raise the general dividend to 3.20 euros per common share from 2.90 euros for 2014 earnings, which would be its sixth increase in a row. The shares fell as much as 3.2 percent. An aging model lineup has left BMW struggling to keep pace with No. 2 Mercedes, which has rolled out a slate of new vehicles in recent years including the GT sports car, GLE Coupe crossover and compact CLA sedan. Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger pointed to just a single fresh car, the 7-Series sedan, to help boost sales.
Source: Bloomberg

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Robot Cars: Is It Time to Think Twice About Driverless Vehicles?

It looks like it could have rolled off the set of the latest sci-fi flick, with its flexible body panels and glowing green orb, but the newly unveiled Vision Next 100 is BMW's take on what the autonomous vehicle of the not-too-distant future may look like. BMW isn't alone. Virtually every major automaker has launched a self-driving vehicle program, as have start-ups including Tesla, along with high-tech giant Google. In fact, the Silicon Valley firm has been hiring 100s of new workers, many with manufacturing experience, leading industry observers to guess it may soon enter the automotive market. Google is already considered by most experts the leader in autonomous vehicle technology. But an incident that occurred last month serves as a warning for the challenges the industry faces — and could set back efforts to bring self-driving technology to the marketplace by the end of this decade.
Source: CNBC

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