REGULATORY UPDATES

1/7/14: “House to pass bipartisan car paperwork bill authored by Rep. Bob Latta”
Congressman Bob Latta’s bill to amend the Clean Air Act to remove the requirement of dealer certification of new light-duty motor vehicles will repeal a 1977 provision of the Clean Air Act.  According to Bailey Wood of NADA, the requirement is redundant since all new vehicles are already required to comply with the Clean Air Act before new vehicles leave the factories.  NADA has yet to confirm how much car dealers will save.
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1/2/14: “NHTSA moves ahead on backup-camera regulation”
On 12/25/13, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted to the White House revised regulations for automakers to install backup cameras to prevent casualties when in reverse.  Some automakers have indicated their intent to adopt the feature, such as Honda in its launch of the 2015 Honda Fit.  The final rule is expected in January, 2015.
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LITIGATION UPDATES

1/7/14: “Japanese auto supplier agrees to settle price-fixing civil suit”
Nippon Seiki Co. Ltd. will pay $4.56 million to consumers in a settlement and will cooperate in the case against the remaining defendants. Auto dealers who paid inflated vehicle prices because of the price fixing are also among those who have sued.  Nippon allegedly conspired to rig bids and maintain prices of instrument panel clusters sold in the U.S. from as early as April 2008 to at least February 2010. To date, 26 individuals have been charged and 21 companies have agreed to plead or will plead guilty for a combined $1.6 billion in criminal fines. Approximately 25 million vehicles sold in the US since 2003 are affected and the Justice Department’s antitrust division reports the case is the largest-ever antitrust investigation.  
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1/6/14: “Dallas-based Companies Agree to Pay Civil Penalty to Settle Clean Air Act Violations Stemming From Illegal Import of Vehicles”
Savoia, Inc, BMX Imports, L.P., BMX Trading LLC, and its principal Terry Zimmer will, in addition to a civil penalty of $120,000, either cease importing vehicles or follow a compliance plan for its violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) over the next 5 years.  The EPA discovered violations such as, missing EPA-issued certificates of conformity, failure to conform vehicle configuration covered by the certificate, improper warranties, and noncompliant emission control information labels.  The CAA requires all vehicles to have certification, warranty, and proper labeling prior to being sold or imported in the U.S.
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12/30/13: “Fisker Founder, Former Directors Sued by Atlas Over Loss”
Fisker Automotive Inc. founder Henrik Fisker and the hybrid carmaker’s former directors were sued by investor Atlas Capital Management LP over $2 million in losses it allegedly suffered in the bankrupt company’s collapse.
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12/26/13: “Class Certified in Nissan Brakes Complaint”
A U.S. District court ruled drivers of Nissan vehicles whose brakes failed can sue the automaker as a class for unfair business practices. The class is certified to include all "consumer residents in California who own 2004-2008 Nissan Armada Titan (equipped with VDC) and Infiniti QX56 vehicles manufactured before April 1, 2008 ('Affected Vehicles') and all consumer residents in California who do not presently own Affected Vehicles but incurred monetary loss caused by the failure of the Delta Stroke Sensor in their Affected Vehicles. This definition specifically excludes any and all persons who assert personal injury claims arising from or relating to the failure of the Delta Stroke Sensor in their affected vehicles."  The complaint alleges the Delta Stroke Sensor braking systems in some models is defective, potentially causing a 60% drop in braking power.
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12/23/13: “Hyundai, Kia reach $400-million settlement over inflated MPG claims"
Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America said they have reached a settlement in class-action litigation over inflating the fuel economy claims for their vehicles.
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Industry Interests

1/7/14: “Buffett-Backed BYD Says Chinese Cars to Debut in U.S.”
BYD Co., the Chinese automaker backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., plans to introduce 4 models of Chinese cars in U.S. showrooms by the end of 2015. BYD returns to the U.S. after billionaire founder and Chairman Wang Chuanfu competed a 3 year reorganization, during which he eliminated dealerships and narrowed losses with state incentives. The company is also preparing its U.S. production of electric buses at its Lancaster factory in California.  Other Chinese automakers, like  Geely Automobile Holdings and Great Wall Motor Co., are also considering the exporting of vehicles to the U.S. by 2016.
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1/6/14: “U.S./Canada Border”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in partnership with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) concluded a five month pilot test of cargo pre-inspection that may speed border procedures for NA auto and auto parts producers. The truck cargo pre-inspection pilot began on June 18, 2013 at the Pacific Highway crossing adjacent to Surrey, British Columbia (BC).
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1/6/14: “UAW sets up organizing committee at Tesla's Fremont factory”
The United Auto Workers has created an organizing committee at Tesla’s Fremont factory.
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1/5/14: “Diesel struggles to clear air on dirty reputation”
Washington’s bill from November to ban motorists from registering diesel vehicles in 2018 allegedly targets the older diesel trucks and will not ban the new breed of diesels.  According to Karim Marshall, a legislative and regulatory analyst at the District Department of the Environment, “the proposal would not apply to vehicles that run partially on biodiesel -- meaning new light-duty vehicles would not be affected, but some old trucks would.”
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1/3/14: “Tesla supercharger arrives in Lusk”
Lusk, population 1,500, is the location of Wyoming’s first Tesla supercharger installment – part of the electric vehicle-maker’s cross-country plan for a supercharger highway. The location was chosen strategically, in part to relieve “range anxiety” among Tesla owners travelling between Los Angeles and New York. Superchargers have also been erected in Rapid City, Murdo, and Mitchell in South Dakota, bringing the network total to 50 chargers nationwide. Tesla claims it already supplied nearly 7 million miles worth of electricity through supercharging stations, offsetting an otherwise 280,000 gallons of gasoline.
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1/2/14: “Fiat reaches deal for full control of Chrysler”
Fiat SpA will get full control of Chrysler Group LLC in a $4.35 billion deal.
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1/1/14: “EVs Lose Value Quicker Than Gasoline-Only Vehicles, KBB Reports”
A new report from Kelley Blue Book compares electric cars and gasoline-only vehicles, and projects the value of EVs to decrease in the first five years of ownership.  The study shows vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark EV will be worth 28% of its list price in five years, while the gasoline version would hold 40% of its value.
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12/30/13: “Daimler electric cars get fake vroom to thwart silent threat”
Daimler’s sound engineer team invented fake engine sounds for the automaker’s e-Smart city car and high-end SLS AMG Coup Electric Drive. The sound for the e-Smart is described as a “sonorous purring” which is pitched higher than conventional vehicles, while the Mercedes SLS AMG Coup Electric Drive will have a richer tone to reflect its power. Though no data exists on injuries caused by silent electric vehicles, the EU proposed legislation for making acoustic warning sounds mandatory, and worldwide guidelines are expected in early 2014. Automakers such as Renault, Nissan, and BMW (where authorities demand it) are also looking to include artificial vehicle sounds for their electric vehicles.
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12/30/13: “Google And Audi Likely To Announce Infotainment Partnership At CES”
Google and Audi are expected to announce a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, according to sources from The Wall Street Journal. The two companies would work to develop an infotainment platform aimed at enabling Audi drivers and passengers to access music, navigation, and apps which are currently available in Android smartphones. IHS Automotive forecasted revenues for connected cars over the next decade to be worth $50 billion from in-vehicle mobile ads, $500 billion from maintenance, and $5 billion from service subscriptions.
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12/30/13: “BMW, Toyota agree on joint sportscar platform – paper”
BMW and Toyota will team up to develop a joint platform for sportscars. BMW development chief Herbert Diess said, “We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands.” An agreement was also signed in January between the two automakers to cooperate on various areas including lithium-air batteries and lightweight technology.
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12/27/13: “Dave Zuchowski Named President/CEO of Hyundai Motor America”
Hyundai Motor America announced that President and Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik will step down upon the successful completion of his contract on December 31, 2013.  David Zuchowski, executive vice president of Sales, will assume the position of President and CEO effective January 1, 2014.
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12/24/13: “Tesla Shares Rise After Model S Keeps NHTSA 5-Star Rating”
Tesla shares climbed 5.5% to $151.41 following NHTSA’s reaffirmation of the Model S’ 5-star crashworthiness rating. The automaker’s flagship vehicle came under U.S. and German federal scrutiny after three separate vehicle fire incidents. While NHTSA’s Model S investigation has yet to be completed, Germany’s transportation regulator cleared the vehicle of any safety defect, nixing the possibility of German recall. European sales of the Model S began this year, and Tesla plans on selling cars in China in 2014.
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12/19/13: “Fisker Won’t Make Cars at Former GM Plant, Carper Says”
U.S. Senator Tom Carper said Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc., will not use the General Motors plant it bought in Delaware, even if the bankrupt carmaker’s new owner resumes production. A group led by Richard Li, son of Hong Kong’s richest individual, agreed to pay the Energy Department $25 million to assume the debt of the automaker and is in the process of purchasing its assets. The Karma luxury vehicle is still required to be built somewhere in the country under a still-standing agreement with the U.S. government.
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12/17/13: “NHTSA to roll out smart car plans”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says they expect to announce in coming days the agency’s plans on vehicle-to-vehicle communications and advanced braking systems.
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RECALLS

1/6/14: “50,185 BMW motorcycles from 2005-2012, including R and K models”
BMW of North America, LLC is recalling certain 2005-2011 R-model motorcycles, 2005-2012 K-model motorcycles, 2010-2011 S 1000 model motorcycles, and 2006-2010 HP2 motorcycles for potential fuel leak which could result in a fire.
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1/3/14: “9,733 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles from 2012-2013”
General Motors LLC is recalling certain 2012-2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD vehicles equipped with 6.6L diesel engines and dual fuel tanks, which may cause inaccurate fuel gauge readings and cause the vehicle to stall.
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12/31/13: “30,929 Volvo S60 vehicles from 2011-2012”
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC is recalling certain 2011-2012 S60 vehicles manufactured 6/22/10 through 5/14/12 and equipped with 5-cylinder B5254T5 (VIN code 62) engines for potentially not alerting the driver of low oil pressure.
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12/31/13: “7,153 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid vehicles from 2013-2014”
Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid vehicles manufactured 4/26/12 through 9/24/13 for a manufacturing error which may cause the vehicle to shift out of park unintentionally.  The affected vehicles fail to conform with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 114, "Theft Protection.”
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12/18/13: “528,228 Lippert doors used in travel trailers from 2006-2013”
Lippert Components, Inc. is recalling certain 2006-2013 doors equipped with Fastec-brand deadbolt cylinders manufactured 1/1/06 through 4/25/13 for door locks which may jam, leaving individuals inside without an exit.
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12/18/13: “226,560 Jayco trailers from 2006-2014”
Jayco Corporation is recalling certain 2006-2014 Jayco, Starcraft, and Entegra towable travel, fifth wheel and camping trailers manufactured 1/1/06 through 4/30/13 and equipped with Fastec-brand door locks, which may jam.
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12/18/13: “74,000 Indiana Mills seat belts”
Indiana Mills and Manufacturing Inc. is recalling certain seat belt assemblies manufactured from 8/2/13 through 10/31/13 for failing to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209, “Seat Belt Assemblies.”  The latch plate may stay latched even when the release button is pressed.
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12/16/13: “1.2 million Michelin LTX M/S tires”
Michelin North America, Inc. is recalling certain Michelin LTX M/S tires, size LT225/75R16 115/112R LRE manufactured 1/10/10 through 6/23/12 for tread separation, which could cause massive air loss and loss of control over the vehicle.
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12/16/13: “76,565 BMW vehicles from 2006-2007, including 300 and 500 series models”
BMW of North America, LLC is recalling certain 2006 325i, 325xi, 330i, 330xi, 760i sedans and 325xi sports wagons, certain 2007 328i, 328xi, 335i, 335xi sedans and 328xi sports wagons, certain 2006-2007 525i, 525xi, 530i, 530xi, 550i, 750i, 750Li, and 760Li sedans and 530xi sports wagons, and certain 2006 X5 sports activity vehicles, equipped with certain seat types.  The affected vehicles have front passenger seat occupant detection systems which may crack and fail.
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12/13/13: “62,155 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicles from 2009-2011”
Volkswagen of America, Inc. is recalling certain 2009-2011 Tiguan vehicles manufactured July 2007 through June 2011 for exterior lights which may not work due to a melted fuse.
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12/13/13: “19,197 Acura MDX AWD vehicles from 2014”
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is recalling certain 2014 Acura MDX AWD vehicles manufactured 5/6/13 through 10/14/13 for the drive shaft which may have been insufficiently tightened, increasing the risk of a crash.
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