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Automotive

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Overview

Our Clients

Katten's Automotive attorneys advise a wide range of participants in the automotive and heavy equipment industries, including manufacturers and their captive finance subsidiaries, suppliers, dealers, trade associations, and independent auto and equipment finance companies.

Our Services

We counsel clients on a broad spectrum of matters, including corporate and commercial transactions, litigation, real estate transactions, secured financings, capital markets offerings, employee benefits and tax planning, environmental and other regulatory compliance, intellectual property, and bankruptcy.

We are involved in all aspects of structuring retail operations, from advising on contract agreements to the administration of employee benefit plans. Auto manufacturers seek our counsel throughout the bankruptcy process and on the resulting government involvement.

As counsel to the Auto Industry Forum, a trade association of auto and light-duty truck manufacturers, we advocate on behalf of the group before the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state environmental agencies and the legislature on matters related to Clean Air Act regulation of manufacturing facilities. We work with in-house counsel for auto manufacturers to challenge and change regulations that threaten expansion or continued operations. Our attorneys also address the unique land use and environmental issues faced by automotive dealers and servicers. We represent major auto makers on Clean Air Act compliance issues for their manufacturing facilities before the EPA and state environmental agencies, obtaining and appealing permitting actions and advising on ongoing compliance matters.

Katten attorneys coach auto manufacturers on customs issues, patent concerns, and implementation of regulatory compliance policies. We defend against class action suits and other consumer complaints. Our attorneys draft warranty disclaimers and consumer finance disclosures.

Clients seek our counsel on a wide range of financing and capital markets transactions, including publicly registered and privately placed offerings of asset-backed securities, warehouse financing facilities and whole loan purchases and sales. We have broad experience with transactions involving all of the major types of assets financed by these companies, including retail loans, retail leases and dealer floorplan finance receivables. Our attorneys handle the complicated financing of dealership acquisitions and sales along with related real estate transactions.

We also advise on regulatory initiatives affecting securitization financing programs, such as Regulation AB II and the Dodd-Frank Act, and are actively involved in our clients' advocacy efforts with the relevant regulatory agencies. Our attorneys have acted as drafting counsel for several comment letters submitted to regulatory agencies, including letters submitted by industry trade organizations and by a group of automobile asset-backed securities issuers consisting of the major captive finance and independent automobile finance companies.

With experience in corporate, finance, real estate, litigation, regulatory and compliance matters, Katten's Automotive practice guides clients through all phases of their business operations.

Experience
  • Representation of a captive auto finance company on all of its US securitization and structured finance transactions, including:

    • more than 35 publicly registered and Rule 144A issuances of asset-backed securities backed by retail auto loans, retail auto leases and dealer floorplan finance loans, totaling more than $45 billion;
    • more than 25 warehouse or committed finance facilities with financial institutions for retail auto loans, retail auto leases, dealer floorplan finance loans and dealer mortgage loans;
    • more than 15 transactions for the company's single-seller commercial paper conduit, totaling more than $20 billion, together with maintenance of the conduit's liquidity facility with more than 40 financial institutions;
    • more than 10 cross-border Rule 144A offerings of asset-backed securities issued by the company's Canadian and German affiliates;
    • a first-of-its-kind program involving the issuance of revolving asset-backed securities that were mandatorily exchangeable into unsecured corporate debt of the company when it achieved an investment grade rating; and
    • a committed purchase facility for dealer floorplan finance loans in the People's Republic of China for the company's Chinese affiliate.
  • Regulatory counsel to the Auto Industry Forum, a coalition of major automakers, on all Clean Air Act regulatory requirements governing manufacturing facilities before the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Representation of the Auto Industry Forum, a coalition of major automakers, in challenges in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to the US Environmental Protection Agency's regulations governing air toxic emissions from commercial, industrial and solid waste incineration units.
  • Representation of a major automaker in Clean Air Act enforcement action.
  • Representation of a major automaker in obtaining environmental permits for plant expansion.
  • Representation of a captive finance company in a Rule 144A term securitization backed by construction equipment and heavy-duty truck receivables.
  • Counsel to the financial services arm of a multinational automotive corporation in connection with the establishment of an automobile lease origination platform, set-up of the associated lease securitization facility and the issuance of the first asset-backed notes under the facility.
  • Counsel in connection with obtaining an applicability determination from US Environmental Protection Agency finding that emissions vehicle assembly testing should not be regulated at manufacturing plants.
  • Representation of several specialty finance companies on their securitization and structured finance programs involving sub-prime auto loans, including publicly registered and Rule 144A issuances and warehouse and committed finance facilities with financial institutions.
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