Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Automotive industry to see gradual recovery – Business News | The …

KUALA LUMPUR: The automotive sector is expected to recover gradually amidst a strengthening of the Malaysian ringgit and an improvement in consumer spending, according to Affin Hwang Capital Research.

Additionally, Affin said the consumer confidence index looks promising, rebounding from 69.8 to 76.6 quarter-on-quarter.

“We forecast 2017 total industry volume (TIV) sales of 592,000 units (+2.0% year-on-year). Overall, we see this encouraging bounce-back from what was a sluggish February as sustainable,” it said.

“Our in-house view is premised on the recovery of the ringgit as we expect the local currency to stabilise in second half of 2017, spurring consumer spending. However, headwinds such as unfavourable exchange rates and stricter auto financing are still challenges for the sector. 

“We maintain our ‘neutral’ call on the sector. UMW Holdings, MBM and APM under our coverage are all with a ‘hold’ rating,” Affin said. 

According to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), March auto sales increased by 26.5% month-on-month to 53,700 units, with the positive numbers mainly driven by higher sales from brands like Honda (3,299 units), Perodua (2,856 units) and Toyota/Lexus (1,654 units). 

As per MAA, this rebound was due to the longer working month in March coupled with companies rushing to deliver vehicles to customers on time in line with their March financial year-ends. 

All in, 3M17 TIV was within our expectations of 592,000 units for 2017. 

Sales of national carmaker Proton have been relatively flat, with year-to-date sales of 19,400 units, up 0.8% year-on-year. 

Perodua has chalked up year-to-date sales of 50,300 units (+6.5% year-on-year) owing to the launch of the new facelift of the Perodua Axia model in January 2017, launch of new Bezza model in July 2016 and aided by attractive promotions for other models. 

Brands like Honda, Toyota and Nissan registered healthy month-on-month sales of 11,000, 6,200 and 2,600, respectively. 

Article source:

Litigating Disruption in the Automotive Industry’s Supply Chain

Hogan Lovells

“We’ve seen an increase in litigation over supply chain disruption in the automotive industry,” said Hogan Lovells partner Dr. Detlef Hass. “In the past, there was a sense that suppliers wanted to keep their customers happy and the OEMs appreciated the supplier’s specialized manufacturing know-how. During this time, there were negotiated settlements. Except for cases where you had a supplier that wanted to leave the automotive industry or went into bankruptcy and there was no means to go into settlement.”

“Now that has changed for a number of reasons,” he added. “Suppliers have generated more power in the market — suppliers now manufacturer close to 70 percent of a car’s components. The value creation and know-how to a large extent, has shifted towards the suppliers. Secondly, the margins have been for many years under significant pressure. Many of the suppliers may not have consolidated and fully utilized the opportunity to maintain their margin. These are all reasons why some relationships have become more stressed between suppliers and OEMs and that sometimes spills over into litigation.”

“I’ve also seen cases where a supplier may want to leave the automotive industry and focus elsewhere. And they don’t see a problem with going to court with a large OEM,” said Hass.

The automotive industry is highly dependent on suppliers. Can you describe some of the points of failure along the automotive supply chain?

Hass: In most cases there is just one supplier or source for a very specific automotive product, which is not off-the-shelf but rather designed for a very specific purpose. The design and manufacturing process of that product is also highly specialized and pre-agreed upon with the OEM and cannot be changed without the OEM’s consent. In order to bring a new supplier onboard, you could have a significant lead time of several months to sometimes more than a year. Therefore any issue in the relationship can have significant impact on the continuity of supply.

What are some of the issues driving disruption in the automotive supply chain?

Hass: Some of the supply chain issues that create disruption are discussions or disagreements over price — whether or not the pre-agreed price is allowing the supplier to make enough of a margin. You also can have quality issues and expensive product recalls, which can result in the OEM trying to get reimbursed by the respective supplier. Or a supplier might say that they no longer wish to continue as the supplier anymore and that could lead to a dispute about a termination and whether or not the termination is valid. 

What options do automotive companies have if faced with a threat to their supply chain?

Hass: On the practical side, OEMs can increase their product stockpiles to a certain, often very limited extent. OEMs typically don’t keep large stock inventories because that just adds to the overall cost and is inconsistent with the just-in-time and just-in-sequence supply concepts they have implemented. Instead, OEMs have the supplier manufacture and deliver product just-in-time so that it is available for the production line in sequence — all depending on the OEM’s production needs. But in scenarios where the OEM is concerned about supply, it can build up some stock inventories so that the OEM can meet its production planning needs for a limited period of a few days.

OEMs also have one further negotiation option: If negotiations are not successful, OEMs can sometimes file for a preliminary injunction to get a court order forcing the supplier to continue production. That is something that is available under pretty high requirements in many jurisdictions and it depends really on the court practice. But given that the manufacturing takes place in certain areas of the world, one can say that in some of these areas there is a court practice to the effect that this sort of legal tool is available.

Where is there interim relief across jurisdictions?

Hass: Your first question always is — where do you want to enforce your preliminary injunction? You should ideally obtain the preliminary injunction in the country where you want to enforce it so that you don’t have an issue with recognition in a foreign country, which can take up valuable time and time is of the essence in a supply chain dispute. Therefore, you always want to go to the jurisdiction where you want to enforce it.

So the question then is — in that jurisdiction, is the tool of preliminary injunction already available? In the continental European jurisdictions where you have automotive manufacturing, such as Germany, Netherlands, Austria, France, Spain, and Italy, you can generally say that the preliminary injunction tool is available. In Germany, you have a number of courts where big OEMs are located and those courts are pretty sophisticated with the tool. But if you go to other jurisdictions where use of the preliminary injunction tool might not be that frequent, generally you can say with a good local lawyer you can go into that venture. In case law countries like the United States, the situation is similar. There is also some case law practice, particularly in the U.S. states where there is automotive manufacturing. You can obtain that preliminary injunction tool in very extreme cases. In England it is similar. 

It is more of an issue when you go to Asia. But China very positively has a new law on preliminary injunction; however, given that it is new, it has not been tested yet. Therefore you will need to test the waters in China on the letter of the law. If you go to Southeast Asia, where a lot of manufacturing has moved to from China for cost reasons, we are again looking at something which is similar to the English legal system. But this is mainly untested legal waters, and you really need to think hard about whether you can obtain that preliminary injunction tool in Southeast Asia.

Can you get recognition of EU judgments ex parte in the United States or China? 

Hass: You normally want to avoid having to get a judgment recognized in cases where time is of the essence. Particularly because you are normally try to get those injunctions ex parte — meaning you obtained the judgment in the first place without the other side having due process. You justify that in many jurisdictions by saying that the matter is so urgent and there is no harm done if the court gives that injunction because the payment of the consideration for the supply is not in question. The OEM is generally financially sound and therefore there is no harm done to the supplier. The supplier can appeal the decision, have their day in court, and have due process. But ex parte decisions are not recognized in the United States or in China.

What type of litigation arises between suppliers and OEMs over manufacturing tools?

Hass: A supplier needs specialized tools in order to manufacture various automotive parts for an OEM. Because those tools are often very expensive, they are financed by the OEM. That means when you come to the end of a relationship with a supplier, the OEM needs to have that tool back so that it can give it to the new supplier. That is a critical point because the first supplier might say it wants to keep that tool as leverage to make the OEM pay all of its disputed debts. We’ve seen cases where the OEM gets an injunction so that it can repossess the tool from the initial supplier and turn it over to the new supplier.

Article source:

Baidu is making its self-driving car platform freely available to the automotive industry

Baidu is opening its self-driving vehicle platform in a bid to help drive the development of autonomous cars.

The Chinese internet giant today announced its Apollo project that will see its platform, including vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud data services, opened to help others in the industry, particularly car manufacturers, to develop autonomous vehicles.

The initial target is to open the technologies up for vehicles in restricted environments this July. Baidu said it then plans to share technology for simple urban road conditions before the end of the year, with the ultimate goal of opening its full tech stack — covering fully autonomous driving capabilities on highways and open city roads — by 2020.

“AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles,” Qi Lu, the former Microsoft exec who recently became Baidu group president and COO, said in a statement.

Beyond offering up its platform and technologies, which the company has invested significant sums into, Baidu said it is also looking to add partners to the program to strengthen it, particularly around compatible vehicles, sensors, and other components. Baidu has partnerships with Chinese companies such as BAIC MotorBYD and Chery, while a two-year relationship with BMW petered out last year over apparent differences in strategy.

This move to open source much of its self-driving tech seems like a move to gain a leg-up on more developed competitors such as Google and Tesla.

Baidu was one of the first major tech companies to embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning, and its autonomous vehicle push began with road testing in Beijing in 2015. Last November, it offered test rides to attendees of the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, and the Chinese company also has a permit to test in California, which is where its research labs — including its AI division — is based. Baidu recently lost the head of that project, renowned AI expert Andrew Ng, after he announced the end of his three-year stay at the company, but its AI group nevertheless employs around 1,300 people, with 300 of those in the Baidu Research division. That makes it one of the largest units of its kind in tech.

Article source:

All Girls Auto Know event shows students automotive industry

DUNCAN, SC (WSPA) – Nearly 200 girls in the Upstate got the chance to see a behind the scenes look into the automotive industry. It was part of the bi-annual All Girls Auto Know event.

Big name companies like BMW, Michelin and Mercedes-Benz showed the girls that working on cars and pursuing a career in engineering isn’t just for boys.

“More boys think that this is just for boys. But I’ve thought about doing this a lot because I love cars, and just like the idea of it,” says Miller Schachner, an eighth grade student at Dawkins Middle School.

They got the chance to see how car parts are made, and got the chance for a hands-on challenge in engineering. The goal is to show girls there are plenty of options for them to follow their dreams, and get the job they want.

“It’s very inspiring. It makes you push more to be where they are and learn about how they’re doing and how they’re succeeding, and what you can do to be on their level or where their accomplishments are,” says Tiraney Petty, an eighth grade student at Fairforest Middle School.

The next All Girls Auto Know will be in the fall. The event is put on through the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum, and this year’s event was hosted by Draexlmaier.

Related Posts


Article source:

HIPA organizes automotive conference for 4th time

Representatives of the government, corporations, universities, suppliers and professional organizations came together at the fourth Automotive Conference organized by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) on April 13, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The event aimed to provide an opportunity for automotive industry participants to discuss present and future opportunities in vehicle manufacturing, thereby supporting cooperation and the future development of the sector.

The automotive industry in Hungary has a rich history of more than 115 years, HIPA notes. Owing to Hungarian expertise, productivity and creativity, the countryʼs strategic geographical location and favorable manufacturing costs, Hungary is one of the most attractive countries for automotive investment in Europe, HIPA claims. Automotive companies in Hungary are continuously expanding their sites and developing their products, making long-term commitments in the country, the agency adds.

Recalling last yearʼs figures, HIPA notes that it negotiated 71 investment projects in the year 2016, with 25 of these related to the automotive industry. These projects accounted for total investment of approximately EUR 1.948 billion working capital in Hungary, involving the creation of 7,759 new jobs in the period to come, HIPA adds.

The Automotive Conference – introduced by HIPA and organized for the fourth time this year – focused on the supply of professionals generated by the development of the sector, application of Industry 4.0-related technologies, the enhanced role of Hungarian suppliers and the evaluation of the sector’s activity in the year 2016.

As part of an important trend in the automotive industry in recent years, Hungary no longer functions exclusively as an automotive assembly plant, as RD and innovation have been playing a growing role, according to HIPA. Currently the two most important directions of development in Hungary are electromobility and development related to self-driving cars, HIPA adds. 

Further supporting this process is a key objective, as it not only creates jobs of high added value, but the SME sector is also offered a growing number of opportunities to participate with greater weight in the value-adding process of corporations, the agency notes. 

This is why Industry 4.0, including the areas of application and underlying opportunities of the connected network of machinery and equipment, was an important topic at the afternoon panel discussion, since the combination of digital technologies creates practically limitless possibilities and accelerates development further, according to HIPA.

  • hipa
  • automotive
  • conference
  • innovation
  • development
  • manufacturing
  • investment
  • promotion

Related articles

Article source:

Cox Automotive Names New Chief Economist, Announces Creation Of Economic Industry Insights Office

ATLANTA, April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Jonathan Smoke joins Cox Automotive as chief economist and will lead the creation of an economic industry insights office. This new office is tasked with leveraging data to expand Cox Automotive’s deep expertise in all aspects of the automotive industry. Smoke succeeds Tom Webb who is retiring June 30. Based in Atlanta, Smoke reports to Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence, Cox Automotive.

A 21-year veteran of the housing industry, Smoke is skilled in translating data and trends into relevant, actionable insights. Most recently, Smoke served as’s chief economist. Prior to that, he was the chief economist for Hanley Wood, a media and market intelligence company, and also served in a variety of roles at Beazer Homes, including senior vice president of strategy and innovation.

“Jonathan will provide a fresh perspective as he offers analysis on the automotive industry and the economic and market trends that affect our clients’ business,” said Sandy Schwartz, president, Cox Automotive. “Many parallels exist between the automotive and real estate industries, and Jonathan is perfectly positioned to offer actionable intelligence that will benefit our clients.”

Last year, Smoke was named one of “the 21 most interesting people in real estate” by Inman News and was the only economist to make the list. He is frequently quoted in national news outlets and has published more than 150 original articles. Smoke will continue to blog regularly and will tweet using his new Twitter handle @SmokeonCars to share his industry insights. Smoke holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and religious studies from Rhodes College and a master’s degree in business from The University of Texas at Austin.

“I’ve spent my career working with data to improve the understanding of market trends and how demand and supply come together in purchases that represent the largest investments most consumers make,” said Chief Economist Smoke. “I will help the company lead the industry with data-driven insights into what is happening and what the future holds. From wholesale to retail, new to used, manufacturer to dealer to consumer, I couldn’t ask for a better venue for visibility into the automotive marketplace.”

Cox Automotive creates economic industry insights office
Charlie Chesbrough is joining Cox Automotive as senior economist and senior director of industry insights. Chesbrough previously served as executive director and senior economist for Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).  Prior to joining OESA, Chesbrough was the senior principal economist and director of industry analysis at IHS Automotive, where he was responsible for developing and integrating statistical models and economic scenarios into global automotive forecasts.

Chesbrough brings more than 25 years experience in market planning, demand forecast modeling and consumer research for Fortune 500 companies across many industries. Reporting to Smoke and based in Detroit, he will assist in the creation and development of the new Cox Automotive economic industry insights office. In addition, he will direct the company’s automotive forecasts as well as manage the economic industry insights related to the new car sector of the automotive market.

The economic industry insights office was created to capitalize on Cox Automotive’s unique visibility into the car business and expand upon the data the company has already delivered to the automotive industry. The team will be responsible for creating and delivering industry-leading data and insights that empower its clients to thrive in the rapidly-changing automotive marketplace.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. is transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars with industry-leading digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem worldwide. Committed to open choice and dedicated to strong partnerships, the Cox Automotive family includes Autotrader®,®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, vAuto®, Xtime® and a host of other brands. The global company has 33,000 team members in more than 200 locations and is partner to more than 40,000 auto dealers, as well as most major automobile manufacturers, while engaging U.S. consumer car buyers with the most recognized media brands in the industry. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., an Atlanta-based company with revenues of $18 billion and approximately 60,000 employees. Cox Enterprises’ other major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. For more information about Cox Automotive, visit

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

Article source:

Chinese automakers SAIC, Geely turn up heat on global rivals

SHANGHAI Global automakers face fresh threats to their profits in China from domestic automakers SAIC and Geely, which are launching new models and marketing strategies to challenge better-known foreign brands in the world’s largest car market.

The country’s biggest automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), wants to double sales of its fully owned domestic brands this year – albeit from a low base – executives told a group of reporters on Monday.

“China success is the base of overseas market success,” said Zhang Liang, product portfolio planning director for SAIC Motor’s passenger vehicles operation.

Zhang said SAIC’s MG and Roewe – brands based on technology acquired from bankrupt British car maker MG Rover – plan a total of five car models and nine sport utility vehicles, and would aim to offer quality comparable to global brands such as Nissan, but at a lower price.

A concept shown to reporters for an MG sports coupe it will exhibit at this week’s Shanghai auto show could pass for a Jaguar.

“I worry for them,” Zhang said of the global brands. “You see local technology getting stronger and stronger.”

SAIC, controlled by Shanghai’s municipal government, has toiled for years in the shadow of its foreign partners, Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and General Motors Co (GM.N), who are obliged by Beijing to form joint ventures with a local automaker for their China operations.

Those two joint ventures accounted for about 16.5 percent of the Chinese passenger car market last year, compared with just 1.3 percent share for SAIC’s own brands.

However, those 50-50 alliances with GM and VW have generated floods of cash that SAIC has ploughed into hiring European designers to give its future MG vehicles more flair.

It has spent 2.25 billion yuan ($327 million) on new research and engineering facilities in Shanghai, where company engineers are working with the same suppliers as their foreign rivals to improve the safety, quality and reliability of MG and Roewe models.

In one lab, Roewe and MG vehicles are shaken on machines that simulate rough roads. In another lab, cars are frozen, then subjected to broiling simulated desert heat, while engineers evaluate the performance of engines and climate control systems.

With the help of suppliers such as Mobileye NV, an Israeli autonomous vehicle firm Intel (INTC.O) is buying for $15 billion, SAIC plans to offer advanced safety systems such as automatic emergency braking, as established rivals do.


Rival Zhejiang Geely Holding Group [GEELY.UL], through its ownership of Swedish luxury automaker Volvo Cars, is pursuing a similar strategy of marrying European styling and developed market safety and quality engineering to Chinese production costs, primarily through its new Lynk Co brand, company executives told Reuters.

Geely on Sunday evening staged an elaborate party at Shanghai’s West Bund Art Center to debut the production version of its forthcoming sport utility vehicle and a prototype for its “03″ model, a sedan to go with a planned sporty coupe.

Geely president An Conghui told Reuters in an interview that Lynk Co would allow Geely to compete head-on with global automakers both in China and overseas. Lynk Co has said it plans to sell vehicles in the United States and Europe after launching in China.

Geely brand models currently are priced up to about 150,000 yuan ($22,000). Lynk Co cars should sell for up to 250,000 yuan – in the heart of the mainstream segment that accounts for about 45 percent of Chinese passenger vehicle sales and that is now dominated by foreign brands such as Volkswagen, GM, Ford Motor Co (F.N), Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T). The brand could move higher in price, or lower, depending on how consumers respond, he said.

“It is not easy for Chinese makers to break into this segment in the past,” An said. “But now with Lynk Co in place we want to really go into this segment and compete with foreign brands.”

SAIC, Geely and other rising Chinese automakers such a Great Wall (601633.SS) and Chery Automobile Co Ltd [CHERY.UL] have a long way to go to achieve the sales levels of the U.S., European, Japanese and Korean brands in China.

Chinese consumers are wary of the quality and safety of domestic brand vehicles, and dispelling those fears would take time and money, SAIC and Geely executives said.

Lynk Co will offer what executives called a “lifetime” warranty, and also plan to allow consumers to pay for access to a vehicle on a subscription basis – by the month or mile – instead of committing to a purchase.

(Reporting By Joseph White, Nori Shirouzu and Jake Spring; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Article source:

Here’s what Tesla’s larger automotive market play means

Global Tesla Deliveries 2017BII

See Also

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence IoT Briefing subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shed new light on the company’s future business plans via a series of tweets late last week, revealing that the company is planning to expand into new segments of the automotive market — including pickup trucks and tractor-trailers.

Tesla is tackling the logistics space. Musk announced that Tesla will unveil an electric 18-wheeler this September.

The vehicle was outlined last summer, but it’s unknown whether it will include the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system or have the hardware necessary for full autonomy, which all new Model S and Model X vehicles currently do. However, if it did include autonomous technologies, it would be competing directly with Uber-owned Otto, which is also angling to provide self-driving semi-trucks. Overall, more and more companies are testing self-driving trucking technologies, though no business model or strategy has emerged yet as the favorite for companies in space.

Musk is eyeing a broader range of consumer vehicles as well. Musk said the final design of the Model 3 would be released this July, and that the company would be unveiling a pickup truck for consumers within the next 18 to 24 months. The Model 3, which the automaker has received hundreds of thousands of pre-orders for, will be priced at $35,000. This is significantly lower than the Model S and X which start at $68,000 and $85,500, respectively — while at the same time over twice the price of a $18,000 Honda Civic.

The Model 3 is especially critical to Tesla’s potential plans for a future ridesharing network — the vehicle’s low price should mean there are more on the road and therefore more available to give people rides. Meanwhile, it’s still unknown what the pickup truck will cost and when the automaker might start accepting pre-orders for the vehicle. Additionally, the company is targeting a market that has been dominated by legacy American automakers like GM and Ford for decades, so eating into those companies’ market share could be difficult.

These plans align Tesla’s lineup with many other automakers. Volvo and Mercedes, for example, manufacture luxury, electric, mass market, and B2B vehicles. This is good for both the Tesla’s brand, since it will have more vehicles on the road for consumers to see, and for the company’s bottom line, since they are going after more markets. About 17 million commercial and consumer vehicles were sold in the US in 2016, so Tesla is betting it can gain a share of this large market. While the company still needs to successfully execute these plans, which is no small task, it appears to be on the path toward a substantially larger footprint in the automotive industry.

The self-driving car is no longer a futuristic fantasy. Consumers can already buy vehicles that, within a few years time, will get software updates enabling them to hit the road without the need for a driver.

This autonomous revolution will upend the automotive sector and disrupt huge swaths of the economy, while radically improving energy efficiency and changing the way people approach transport around the world.

Automakers and tech companies are racing to develop the technology that will power self-driving cars in the coming years. That tech is advancing, but leaves observers with a bigger question: will consumers trust driverless car tech, and will they want to use autonomous cars?

Peter Newman, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on self-driving cars that analyzes the market, and forecasts vehicle shipments and market penetration. It also profiles the players expected to take on a prominent role in the autonomous future, examines the barriers to autonomous car development and adoption, and reviews developments in technology, regulation, and consumer sentiment. Finally, it analyzes the impact the introduction of autonomy will have on various industries and transport trends. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Self-driving cars are coming; there will be fully autonomous cars on the roads in the US in 2018, and adoption will just take off from there.
  • The technology is developing swiftly to allow fully self-driving vehicles, while the regulatory environment is adapting to the anticipated changes that this new technology will bring.
  • We conducted a survey asking our exclusive BI Insiders panel about their thoughts on self-driving cars, the future of the automotive industry, and the impact autonomous vehicles will have on their purchasing habits moving forward. The results provide a picture of consumer sentiment at the precipice of the autonomous era.

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the current and future self-driving car market, forecasting shipments and projecting installed base.
  • Explains the current state of technology, regulation, and consumer perception.
  • Analyzes how the development of autonomous cars will impact employment and the economy.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase download the full report from our research store. BUY THE REPORT

Article source:

Ajaokuta steel Company holds future of automobile industry in

 Mr Olaoluwa Ogundipe, Principal Technical Assistant with the National Automotive Design and Development Council, has  called on the Federal Government to ensure that Ajaokuta Steel company functions at full capacity.

Ogundipe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the company had lot of steel metal that could be used for automobile industry.

“If Ajaokuta steel is functioning, there is possibility that we get the raw materials needed for automobile industry instead of the scraps that are being used now.

“The steel company holds the future of auto industry in Nigeria because when we talk of auto, two things are involved which are the plastics or metals.

“So the company holds the metals and metals carry almost 70 per cent of vehicles apart from the interior,’’ he said.

Ogundipe said the council staff needed training for them to improve in the area of research, saying that most of the workers did not have international training.

He added that the council needed fund for equipment to function at full capacity.

Ogundipe called for more political will to enable the council to carry out research and function properly.

He called for a law in the country that would make it compulsory for companies to use locally made products, adding such would make the council do better.

Article source:

Car industry urges Massachusetts lawmakers to embrace driverless vehicles

Get out of the way.

That’s the message to lawmakers from automotive industry representatives when it comes to the rapidly evolving technology that could one day allow cars to zip around without anyone minding the controls.

“We’re not used to people asking us to do nothing,” Rep. William Straus, the House chairman of the Transportation Committee told Damon Porter, director of state government affairs for Global Automakers at the outset of a more than three-hour hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Porter criticized steps taken by the Baker administration to permit testing of autonomous vehicles, saying they are restrictive.

“Early efforts by Massachusetts have created a patchwork of inconsistent standards and frankly some very burdensome regulations,” Porter said.

Jade Nobles, of Toyota, also argued that current state statute permits testing and deployment of self-driving cars.

Harry Lightsey, who handles federal affairs for cyber cars at General Motors, said the industry needs a law explicitly authorizing vehicles without anyone behind the steering wheel.

“We think that something needs to be done,” Lightsey told the News Service. He anticipates his company will in a couple years have a car on the market that is substantially similar to the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt and is also completely autonomous – meaning no one behind a steering wheel.

The federal government has jurisdiction over the standards for manufacturing vehicles, but states have control over drivers and vehicle insurance.

“We regulate operation and we’ve already learned that this technology is going to require people to rethink what it means to operate a vehicle,” Straus told the News Service. He said, “We don’t want the public to be in the middle of that laboratory and be at risk. So we’re not sure there’s a happy medium, but there is a place where the public safety requirements have to be recognized.”

Straus anticipates insurance liability will be “very complicated” and said the committee will work on putting together autonomous vehicle legislation.

“I haven’t sensed from the public a feeling that we’re supposed to get out of the way for testing to occur on our streets,” Straus told the News Service.

In the absence of any state law addressing driverless cars, the Baker administration has set up a working group that will consider laws and regulations. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the City of Boston have authorized nuTonomy to conduct testing in the city’s Seaport neighborhood.

The working group’s website includes potential regulations that would allow for the suspension of someone’s license for impermissibly allowing a motor vehicle to be operated that is not under active control of the driver.

“I’m not sure that the current statutes fully authorize even that level of regulation,” Straus said.

While lawmakers expressed safety concerns about novel technology controlling multi-ton vehicles on Bay State streets and highways, industry representatives pointed to autonomous technology as a solution to the 35,000 people killed in traffic crashes nationwide in 2015.

Wednesday’s hearing agenda also included bills that would bar any type of handheld cell phone use by drivers.

Wayne Weikel, senior director of state affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, spoke right after a father who testified haltingly about his 23-year-old daughter who was struck in a crosswalk by a texting driver and later died.

“The goal for policymakers, as a matter of public health, should be to help auto manufacturers bring these technologies to market as quickly as possible,” Weikel said. “It’s really not hyperbole to suggest that actual lives hang in the balance.”

Weikel said that on average one person has died every day on Massachusetts roadways over the past decade, and cited a federal statistic that nearly 95 percent of crashes are caused by human error or choice.

Rep. Dan Ryan, a Charlestown Democrat, challenged that type of assertion, listed recalls of manufactured auto parts, and criticized the industry for dragging its feet on recalling some defective products.

“This whole notion that we’ve gotta get away from human drivers because machines are wicked smart. Please,” Ryan said.

James Donovan, of Teamsters Local 25, also contended that automation can lead to mix-ups and said he supports legislation (H 2742) filed by Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, a North End Democrat, that would require a human operator for vehicles engaged in interstate commerce, transporting eight or more people, or goods for hire.

Legislation (S 1945/H 1829) filed by Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, a Pittsfield Democrat, would establish a framework requiring that autonomous vehicles be zero-emission vehicles, although Lewis acknowledged that mandate “might be legally difficult.”

Environmental advocates told lawmakers autonomous vehicles could improve mobility and also lower greenhouse gas emissions if they are shared and their ability to roam around as passenger-less “zombie” vehicles is limited.

According to the state’s Autonomous Vehicles Working Group the state has been approached by at least five “auto manufacturers and other entities interested in testing highly automated vehicles on public roadways.” According to MassDOT, aside from nuTonomy, the only company to submit an application is Optimus Ride, an “MIT spinoff company” developing a “fully autonomous” system for an electric fleet.

Weikel said auto manufacturers have invested billions of dollars in the technology and said Massachusetts is better positioned than other states to be part of the innovation.

“The Commonwealth has real opportunity to play a role in the development of the automated vehicle technologies that will shape the rest of our lives, but to seize that opportunity the Commonwealth needs to understand that it’s in competition,” Weikel said. He said policymakers should ask, “What can be done to bring down barriers, not put them up?”

Around a century ago, Massachusetts officials considered themselves at the vanguard of overseeing the relatively new automotive technology, writing in a 1919 legislative report that “it was clearly evident that Massachusetts was in the forefront of the more progressive States in respect to the regulation and use of motor vehicles.”

Matthew Wansley, general counsel to nuTonomy, said the company – which is also operating in Singapore – wants to stay in Massachusetts and gave lawmakers a word of caution.

“It’s very important that we let the quality of the technology rather than the quality of the company’s lobbyists decide who gets to be on the road and that consumers are able to choose between competing services,” Wansley said.

Article source: