The automotive industry is in a state of flux. Technological changes including electrification, IoT and automation offer exciting opportunities and new challenges, particularly around liability. The market is hyper-competitive putting pressure on the traditional sales model, dealer networks are being rationalised, online sales are increasing and a rising number of manufacturers are looking at selling directly to consumers. Compliance with the ACL remains a hot topic, both in terms of customer complaints and dealers’ entitlement for reimbursement. Product liability and environmental claims, most notably, the Takata airbag recall, continue to grab the headlines.

Deep experience

In this environment, generic legal advice won’t cut it. You need lawyers who understand the context. At CIE Legal, our roots lie in the automotive sector. From Peter George, principal adviser to the FCAI and former in-house counsel at Ford, to Raph Goldenberg, former Nissan General Counsel and Toyota in-house counsel, to Daniel Marks, who has managed all of Nissan’s outsourced legal services, our people understand automotive.

Sector knowledge

Understanding is nothing if not translated into solutions that help you run your business effectively. This is where we come into our own.

For example:

  • our industry knowledge was essential to Peter George appearing on behalf of the FCAI at the Joint Parliamentary Enquiry into the franchising industry
  • our knowledge of how dealer networks operate enables us to resolve dealer disputes effectively
  • our understanding of different sales approaches enabled us to advise Subaru Australia on the implementation of a direct sales model in Melbourne
  • our expertise in the ACL in the context of the automotive industry was instrumental in our appointment as independent reviewer/ expert /arbiters under undertakings given to the ACCC by FCA Australia, Hyundai Australia and Ford Australia
  • our knowledge of the industry enables us to draft, negotiate and roll out new dealer agreements for manufacturers including Honda, Nissan, Peugeot, Polaris and Subaru
  • our understanding of the voluntary recall process and how the DIRD and ACCC deals with recalls, enables us to advise on automotive recall programmes decisively
  • our work as ACCC-approved independent expert reviewer of customer complaints for multiple manufacturers means we can help re-engineer your processes at key touch-points to improve ACL compliance.

We could go on……the point is that we don’t just know the law, we know the law in your context.

Focused advice

Of course, we advise our automotive clients on the full range of issues that any large corporate requires, but we advise on the specialist stuff too. Take a look here for more information on the automotive-specific issues we address and case studies of how we address them

“Andrew not only had a good feel for how the agreement fitted into our services but he also clearly had an excellent grasp of the IT and IP issues involved. Everything he did gave me great reassurance that we were in very capable and engaged hands.”

Tony McDonald, Director of Industry Operations, FCAI

“What I loved about Peter and the CIE Legal team was that there was no grand-standing. Because they know what they’re doing, they are pragmatic and just focus on the result.”

Tony Grasso, General Counsel, Legal & Compliance, Subaru Australia

“This was about going the extra mile. To ensure good privacy practice across the business… I had nothing but a positive experience working with Raph and Andrew.”

Janine Steinhardt, Senior Legal Counsel,

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Level 11 Como Office Tower
644 Chapel Street
South Yarra VIC 3141
+61 3 9948 2470
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