Driving business change across the vehicle retail and manufacturing industries
About the automotive sector
The automotive industry is extremely important to the UK and its economy; being one of the country’s major employers supporting over 800,000 people within its supply chain and with many other sectors being reliant upon its overall success.
The sector has come under significant pressure in recent years, following the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, causing global disruption to supply chains and overall uncertainty, leading businesses to rethink and adapt their strategies to meet the changing marketplace.
More recently, the sector has come under the regulatory spotlight, following the Financial Conduct Authority’s focus on motor finance and commissions, bringing press attention and scrutiny for many dealerships.
There has also been substantial changes that have greatly impacted the sector creating both opportunity and risks for businesses. Advancements in technology and innovation, the changes in both government and international policy, together with the onset of electric and alternative power sources, has meant the industry has had to adapt its focus accordingly.
Our automotive legal expertise
We have a national team of leading automotive lawyers that offer the complete range of services needed for those who operate in the automotive sector.
The team understands the challenges, risks and opportunities businesses face within the sector, with some having worked in-house, and work closely together to stay on top of key market developments to provide clients with a full service offering to meet their needs.
The team acts for a wide range of businesses within the automotive sector from SMEs to major national and international groups.
In addition, we provide further support for those in the automotive community through a programme of free webinars, blogs and other thought leadership initiatives, to ensure they keep up to date with all the latest insight and legislative changes affecting the sector.
How we can help your motor industry business
At Freeths we have a dedicated team of automotive lawyers who specialise in supporting businesses within the supply chain, both nationally and internationally from manufacturers to retailers, providing us with an embedded understanding of the landscape.
Our team can support on a wide range of matters including:
- dispute avoidance and resolution
- contracts for the provision of services and goods
- corporate work including mergers and acquisitions
- infrastructure investment
- development of retail units
- advice on international and national distribution systems
- intellectual property, patents, anti-counterfeiting and enforcements
- HMRC and HSE investigations
- employee training and compliance
- business immigration
- automation and other technological developments
- procurement, leasing and maintenance of fleet
- environmental and sustainability issues
- dealing with complaints and misselling claims, including complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service
- reviewing and drafting regulatory documentation and structuring regulated businesses
- consumer credit and insurance broking advice
- financial services regulation advice and compliance support
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Some of our notable automotive matters
We understand the pressures and challenges affecting the automotive sector. We work proactively with our clients, keeping them informed of any key market developments, regulatory issues and innovative solutions. Here are some of our recent automotive matters acting for:
- Global Technologies Racing Limited (a specialist composites manufacturer to the automotive and motorsport industries) in a high-value, technically complex dispute regarding the manufacture of carbon components deployed in a round-the-world racing yacht. We took the claim to the High Court and won convincingly (Global Technologies Racing Ltd v 5 West) with the Court of Appeal refusing the other side permission to appeal
- a leading supplier of car dealer management systems (supplier to most national vehicle supermarkets), successfully resolving two recent disputes with a car supermarket and a large dealership, achieving hugely favourable commercial settlement terms
- a multinational tyre manufacturer and a subsidiary on the strategic development of new channels to market and implementation of an international franchise system
- a luxury car manufacturer regarding disputes in relation to supplier pricing and injunctions for the continuation of supply to facilitate ongoing production
- the UK’s largest supplier of electric drive systems and hybrid solutions for cars, heavy goods, buses, military vehicles and bespoke specialist vehicles, regarding restructuring advice, disputes with trade union officials, health & safety act disputes and the successful defence of a pregnancy discrimination claim
- a national group of motor retailers in a claim against VISA for multi-lateral interchange fees c£45m
- national retailer groups, vehicle leasing companies and vehicle supermarkets providing support and guidance on complaints handling, ongoing regulatory compliance support, providing advice on structuring, resolving complaints and disputes and assisting to streamline processes, ensuring these sales processes are FCA-compliant and practical for the business.
- The Car Buying Group on its sale to Aston Barclay
- Heritage Automotive Limited, in relation to its sale of 12 franchised car dealership sites including Audi, Peugeot, Skoda and VW
- Citroen on the sale of a car dealership
- Pendragon, on the acquisition of a franchised car dealership (Stratstone BMW and Mini)
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Toyota advert deemed “irresponsible” by ASAArticles 1st Dec 2023
Motor Dealer Commission Disclosure – Case UpdateArticles 6th Oct 2023
Mercedes-Benz UK appoints Shoosmiths and Freeths to new legal panelNews 1st Aug 2023
In my experience where Freeths have been involved, their legal team understands exactly how the automotive industry works from a contractual and operational perspective.
(Bob Batty, UK Director, Automotive Services International)
Richard Coates at Freeths is invaluable his real experience and understanding of automotive litigation has proved invaluable to the client.
(Bob Batty, UK Director, Automotive Services International)
The Commercial Dispute Resolution team in Birmingham is outstanding. They are an agile and flexible team; always willing to go the extra mile and keep the client’s interests at the heart of what they do.
(Paul Daly, Audit Partner, UHY Hacker Young )
Richard Coates is my go-to solicitor for commercial disputes work. He is bright, engaging and is never afraid of tackling difficult issues head on. He has an ability to see around bends and always has his eye on the goal.
(Paul Daly, Audit Partner, UHY Hacker Young)
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014