The automotive industry is currently undergoing more change than ever before. Today, automotive manufacturers no longer just produce cars, but are service providers for mobility, financing, energy, data and retail. New and exciting technologies enable great opportunities, but also present companies with new legal challenges.
The needs of customers and suppliers are changing and thus require new legal frameworks and infrastructures. New global players are entering the market and demanding legal adjustments to previously well-established concepts. In short, the pace has changed and this is challenging the entire industry.
The energy requirements of vehicle production as well as changing mobility and fleet consumption are bringing sustainable energy issues into sharper focus for one of Germany’s core industries. It is also certain that policymakers will push even harder to link the energy transition with the transport transition. This will result in major tasks and challenges for automotive manufacturers as well as for suppliers, who will feel considerable effects due to legal regulations. All companies in the automotive industry must therefore consider which energy sources they will use for production in the future, which regulatory requirements must be met at which locations, and how they can adapt to rapidly changing legal conditions. We are familiar with the main issues of energy law and support manufacturers and suppliers as well as mobility providers.
There are a variety of ways to use a car without also purchasing it. Especially recently, in addition to car leasing and consumer car loans, the so-called car subscription or car sharing are offered in the market because of regulatory aspects and consumer rights. KPMG Law assists in the German and global design of any financing and mobility package and has long-standing and in-depth legal knowledge in this regard. Particularly noteworthy is our interdisciplinary practice experience in finance, data protection, IT and regulatory issues as well as our global KPMG Law network.
Germany is to take a leading role in the future technology of autonomous driving. With the passing of the “Law on Autonomous Driving”, the Bundestag has created the legal framework for autonomous vehicles within Germany. The law went into effect on July 28, 2021. This integration of autonomous vehicles on German roads or in the operations of companies to the deployment possibilities provided for by law raises a number of legal problems and questions. In particular, issues relating to the liability of manufacturers, owners and drivers in the event of accidents, regulatory requirements, the drafting of contracts for autonomous vehicles, insurance law aspects, data protection issues and product liability issues are complex.
We advise our clients on all aspects of autonomous driving with regard to legal aspects and, in cooperation with the expert colleagues at KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, also on business, tax and other issues relating to the integration of autonomous vehicles into company processes or product portfolios. Legal advice includes, in particular, regulatory and public law requirements and approvals, the legally secure drafting of contracts with suppliers and customers, and the structuring of investment projects or transactions, including advice on subsidies, joint ventures and contracts for R&D, as well as individual issues of insurance and data protection law.
Data is also increasingly being collected and processed in motor vehicles. For example, driving behavior and whereabouts constitute personal data that fall under the scope of the German Federal Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation.
This data could be coveted by third parties, such as insurance companies, or give rise to fears among vehicle users that they are being spied on. This calls for particular sensitivity and a high level of data protection as well as transparency on the part of companies in order to ensure that innovations are supported and accepted by society.
Here we support our clients with extensive expertise and advise on all questions of data protection law.
The automotive sector represents one of the most exciting and relevant sectors from an antitrust perspective. Both areas – automotive and antitrust – are characterized by comprehensive upheavals. The changes in the field of drive technologies, connected and autonomous driving, and sales models linking traditional and digital business models represent significant opportunities and challenges for the automotive industry. At the same time, they entail significant developments in antitrust law. These include the new rules of conduct currently evolving in digital platforms and business models, collaborations and distribution systems. It is currently being examined whether there will be new special sales regulations for the motor vehicle sector or whether the general regulations will remain in place, which are also being fundamentally revised. KPMG Law supports companies in preparing for the challenges of the new (digital) regulatory framework at an early stage and in making optimal use of room for maneuver. Our experienced antitrust team advises automotive manufacturers and suppliers on an ongoing basis on the antitrust-compliant structuring of cooperations and M&A transactions, on the exchange of information with competitors, and on distribution issues and digital business models.
The Supply Chain Duty of Care Act comes into force in January 2023 and obliges automotive companies with at least 3,000 employees to minimize environmental damage in their supply chains and also to analyze their direct suppliers in this respect. This also imposes higher corporate due diligence obligations on the automotive industry.
Sustainability issues such as the Supply Chain Act are increasingly shaping the automotive industry and changing corporate cultures and consumer behavior. They are an opportunity, if approached and implemented properly, and open up possibilities for profiling. With our experience, we advise companies on how they can already adapt to the changed legal regulations and what they need to consider.
The need for consulting services in the automotive industry in the areas of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and carve-outs is increasing due to the strong changes in the entire industry. Corporate transformations as well as international and national corporate transactions are necessary in order to hold one’s ground in the fast-moving market or to break new ground in order to keep pace with developments. This gives rise to complex and multifaceted legal problems in which we support our clients with our experience and expertise.
Especially due to our interdisciplinary approach, we have in-depth practical knowledge and can thus offer fast and straightforward support in M&A transactions, carve-outs, legal entity reductions, partnering projects, joint ventures and general cooperations.
The challenges of the future demand new answers from the automotive industry. One of them can be the market entry of new companies. Novel concepts and innovations enrich the automotive landscape and create opportunities.
We support companies in implementing their market entry strategy and advise on the complex issues that arise when entering a market.
We represent our clients’ interests in court proceedings and in pre-trial proceedings and provide them with highly professional and field-tested procedures and substantive support in mass actions, model (declaratory) actions and mass proceedings. Especially in cooperation with our litigation experts and our team of KPMG Law Legal Operations and Technology Services, we can offer secure, high-quality and efficient advice and projects.
We have already achieved practical success in several mass proceedings.
|With technology against product piracy|
The automotive industry is losing sales on a large scale due to product piracy. Digital distribution channels for counterfeit products are becoming more complex and numerous, and they are global. At KPMG Law, we help companies protect themselves against counterfeiters: Supported by technology, we find the counterfeits on digital channels and take over the technical and legal prosecution worldwide. With our international network, we are the ideal partner because we are on the ground everywhere to enforce claims and protect the brand from imitators.
More and more patents are being filed and granted worldwide. This poses challenges for the automotive industry in particular. Companies need an overview of the technological environment in which they operate and information about the strategies of their competitors – internationally. The mass of existing data in different languages and jurisdictions is immense and growing every day. At KPMG Law, we support companies with our technology-supported analysis of databases available worldwide to maintain an overview, identify relevant intellectual property rights and develop an efficient strategy. With our international network, we are the ideal partner because we are on site everywhere to advise and enforce claims.
© 2023 KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH, associated with KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, a public limited company under German law and a member of the global KPMG organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a Private English Company Limited by Guarantee. All rights reserved. For more details on the structure of KPMG’s global organisation, please visit https://home.kpmg/governance.
KPMG International does not provide services to clients. No member firm is authorised to bind or contract KPMG International or any other member firm to any third party, just as KPMG International is not authorised to bind or contract any other member firm.