New Articles

U.S. Holds Advantage as Auto Industry Shifts to Autonomous Vehicles, New Report Shows

U.S. Holds Advantage as Auto Industry Shifts to Autonomous Vehicles, New Report Shows

The United States is well-positioned to emerge as a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), but a new report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top-ranked science and technology policy think tank, shows that tariffs on automotive imports would threaten its competitive advantage in the automobile industry. The report recommends that, rather than impose tariffs, Congress and the administration should adopt a more robust set of innovation policies to strengthen and secure America’s CAV leadership.

“The automobile industry is moving in a new direction focused increasingly on connected and autonomous vehicles. Because the United States already has a competitive advantage in IT hardware and software, the U.S. auto industry has a significant opportunity to reemerge as a global leader,” said ITIF President Rob Atkinson, lead author of the report. “The goal now should be to continue building on America’s strengths, not to impose tariffs that disrupt the market. In order to leverage America’s competitive advantage, the administration should make sure it is the most attractive location in the world to develop, test, and produce autonomous vehicles.”

The new report offers a series of policy recommendations to ensure America’s continued leadership in CAVs, including: ensuring the U.S. regulatory system tilts toward experimentation, testing, and deployment of AVs, harnessing the tax code to enable AV innovation and competitiveness, ensuring companies in the United States have access to a world-class engineering and computer science workforce and supporting industry cooperative, pre-competitive research and development.

“Autonomous vehicles may still be in early development, but there is little doubt they are the future of transportation,” said Caleb Foote, ITIF research assistant and co-author of the report. “The administration should make the most of this opportunity by ensuring the country’s regulatory and innovation policies related to AVs are the best in the world.”

Port of Hueneme Sets Cargo Volume Record

Oxnard, CA – The Port of Hueneme realized its highest international trade year in its 77 year history and its second highest year for domestic and international freight combined.

The benchmark year included a 30 percent increase in auto exports. The total tonnage for FY 2013-2014 came in at a strong 1,438,596 metric tons representing a less than 1 percent decrease from last year’s all-time high.

“This represents a continuing path to economic recovery keeping the Port at strong trade levels,” according to a statement issued by the port.

Strong growth in freight activity was seen in the Port’s niche markets of automobiles, high and heavy cargos, fresh produce, fertilizer, and domestic commodities. Automobile imports boasted a robust 7.1 percent increase over last fiscal year while exports exploded by 31 percent over 2013 scoring the second best year on record.

A large percentage of the export increase was driven by more foreign manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Acura operating from new facilities within the US and sending their US-manufactured vehicles to the Asian market. Hyundai/Kia leads the import arena with a strong 10 percent growth.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) is the leading shipper handling agricultural and heavy equipment cargo at the port, and provides shipping and technical processing for automobiles. The company also handles the bulk of the high and heavy cargo, as well as the transport and processing of automobiles.

On the fruit side of the Hueneme’s business portfolio banana imports remained strong at 655,589 metric tons. Other fresh fruits and vegetables handled by port customers grew by 1.6 percent.

Other customers of the port includes Yara North America Inc., who manages the liquid bulk fertilizer and Air1 Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) through the port and across North America.

DEF is a high purity solution of urea in water, used to chemically reduce NOx emissions from trucks, buses and other units powered by diesel engines. Yara North America is the world’s largest producer and supplier of Air1 and the Port of Hueneme is a key supply point for the company’s western US customer base.

Volumes of ‘shallow draft’ cargo such as fish, lube oil, and vessel fuel were down marginally for the year, while the offshore domestic oil trade held steady.

The Port of Hueneme moves $8 billion in goods each year and consistently ranks among the top ten US ports for automobiles and fresh produce.


Alfa-Romeo to Expand North American Dealership Network

Auburn Hills, MI – An initial group of 86 dealers have been awarded Alfa Romeo franchises in the US and Canada.

According to the Italian auto maker, 82 of the new dealers are located in 33 states, with California, Texas, and Florida having the largest concentration of dealerships.

There are four Alfa Romeo dealers in Canada in this first group.

The initial pool of dealers was drawn from existing FIAT and Maserati brand dealers.

“The 86 dealers will be the first to sell the all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe and limited-edition 4C Launch Edition when the iconic Italian sports car brand returns to the North American market later this year,” the company said, adding that it anticipates that its North American dealership network will eventually exceed 300 franchises.