Automotive and Manufacturing Law

Clark Hill has provided breakthrough counsel at the center of the automotive world for more than a century. Within the steel and sweat of an emerging Detroit in 1890, we hung our first shingle and quickly became known throughout the region as the go-to automotive firm. We have not looked in the rearview mirror since.

We forged ahead like so many hardworking automotive manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and distributors with a relentless commitment to delivering. We’ve navigated steadfastly through the industry’s hills and curves of ever-changing consumer demands, production volume shifts and increasing government regulations—challenges that make the automotive industry so unique and demanding.

We are the destination for mission-critical, highly specialized issues ranging from labor disputes and supplier contracts to product liability and automotive recalls.

Whether you’re a multinational manufacturer, a family-owned car dealership, a national parts distributor, or a small tier-two parts supplier, we will help you navigate the road ahead with clarity and confidence.

We have assembled a global team of former automotive executives, manufacturers, suppliers, and general counsel to provide clients with best-in-class service and an unmatched level of experience. Our team, approach and firm framework ensure client responsiveness with speed and precision to every automotive legal matter.

We continue to lead and serve clients in all aspects of automotive matters, including:

  • Warranty cost allocation arrangements
  • Directed supplier arrangements
  • Purchase order terms and conditions
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations and investigations, including those involving the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act
  • NHTSA recall and product liability issues
  • Product liability lawsuits
  • Domestic and international mergers and acquisitions
  • Joint ventures
  • Distribution arrangements
  • Supplier and customer workouts and bankruptcies
  • Intellectual property arrangements and trademark infringement claims
  • General commercial arrangements
  • Resolution of warranty disputes between suppliers and auto manufacturers
  • National case management
  • Preferences
  • Terms & conditions
  • Capabilities in Manufacturing and Beyond

Capabilities in Manufacturing and Beyond

The automotive industry is deeply connected to the manufacturing world. These integrated sectors continue to evolve and expand alongside the rapid growth of the service sector and the green economy. With our heritage of achieving results, we provide comprehensive litigation, transaction and regulatory services critical to the daily operation of manufacturing companies.

Our proven experience helps manufacturers keep their focus on their core business. With attorneys and professionals who have led manufacturing and engineering businesses, We are a vital partner for manufacturing clients in labor and employment law, government regulations, risk management, real estate, contract preparation, corporate governance, succession planning, finance, litigation, mergers, and sales.


Representation of an automotive parts supplier in its acquisition of an after-market motorcycle parts manufacturing and supply company.

Advising a Tier 1 manufacturer of plastic automotive components on a capital restructuring with a private equity sponsor

Advising automotive suppliers in the analysis, negotiation and modification of OEM and Tier 1 customer purchasing terms and conditions

CNH Capital America LLC v. Trainor Grain & Supply, Co, et al., 478 B.R. 876, 78 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 782 (2012). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a lender claiming rights to crop proceeds under the Uniform Commercial Code against a grain elevator claiming setoff rights under both a contract and the Food Security Act.

Homeplace of Am., Inc. v. Salton, Inc. (In re Waccamaw’s Homeplace), 325 B.R. 524 (Bankr. D. Del. 2005). Defended a manufacturer in a $3.5 Million preference action in a week-long trial in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware

Advising a Canadian Tier 1 automotive supplier on the acquisition of an OEM vehicle assembly facility from a U.S. Tier 1 automotive supplier. 

Advising a U.S. steel manufacturer on the purchase of industrial manufacturing equipment in excess of $100 million from a Japanese supplier. 

Advising the City of New York on a vehicle supply agreement with Nissan North America for the Taxi of Tomorrow. 

Advising an industrial manufacturer on the sale of its plastics pipe business a Swiss piping systems manufacturer. 

Counsel to several large Tier 1 automotive suppliers in the troubled supplier cases of General Motors Corporation (New York, N.Y.), Dura Automotive, Inc. (Wilmington, Del.), Delphi Corporation (New York, N.Y.), among others

Represented the Agent with respect to a $325,000,000 asset based credit facility involving multiple borrowers (one of which is a public company) and guarantors in the steel industry. The credit facility included a letter of credit facility available in foreign currency, an accordion feature, springing cash dominion and springing financial covenants.
Represented medical manufacturer with respect to its manufacturing and joint venture agreements, technology licenses, distribution agreements corporate governance issues, and other commercial matters.
Represented the purchaser of a company operating textile manufacturing and finishing facilities.
Counsel to a financial institution in connection with a $90,000,000 credit facility which included a $50,000,000 revolving credit facility and a $40,000,000 term loan facility for a holding company that owns and operates various equipment manufacturers and a marine transportation provider. The credit facilities provided for the recapitalization of the holding company and for working capital for the holding company and its subsidiaries and are secured by liens on all of the marine transportation provider's assets which include, among other things, various vessels, some of which were documented by the United States Secretary of Transportation
Counsel to a tubular and specialty steel company in connection with acquisition of a manufacturing facility in Ohio, including subdivision thereof to isolate areas of property affected by environmental contamination Acquisition of a Greenfield site in Kentucky for purposes of construction of a new manufacturing facility
Representation of the purchaser in the successful $12,500,000 asset acquisition of the largest fireworks manufacturer and show presenter in the United States. The representation included assisting the client in the closing of a credit facility to partially fund the acquisition.
Represented the Agent with respect to a $325,000,000 asset based credit facility involving multiple borrowers and guarantors in the scrap industry with a significant presence overseas. The credit facility involved the merger of two (2) publicly held companies and was closed in connection with a high yield bond offering secured by equipment and real estate. The credit facility included an accordion feature, springing cash dominion and springing financial covenants.
Representation of the administrative agent for the senior secured lender group in the Chapter 11 case of a steel manufacturer that involved the orderly liquidation of the company’s major steel-making components and obtaining court approval for the $40,000,000 sale of the company’s primary assets over the objections of an alternative purchaser.

Represented the Agent with respect to an asset based credit facility, the proceeds of which were used, among other things, to finance the acquisition by the borrower of substantially all the United States and Mexican assets of a company in the steel racking business. The credit facility was fully secured by all the assets of the borrower and was guaranteed by the borrower's Mexican subsidiaries, which guarantees were secured by assets in Mexico.

Counsel to the agent in connection with an approximately $41,000,000 debtor-in-possession financing of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of a steel storage systems manufacturer that involved the roll-up of the syndicate's pre-petition debt and the negotiation of a consensual, orderly liquidation of the debtor's domestic and foreign assets with the committee of unsecured creditors and a junior secured creditor.

Counsel to the administrative agent and lead arranger in connection with a $202,000,000 senior secured credit facility to finance the acquisition of the stock of a specialty metals company. The credit facility is secured by all assets of the loan parties, including all of the capital stock of each of the loan parties. The credit facility also involved the merger of the acquired company into the borrower, as well as the negotiation of a subordination agreement with third party lenders who helped to finance the acquisition.

Represented a Fortune 500 corporation in connection with the sale of a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility
Counsel to the administrative agent and lead arranger with respect to approximately $160,000,000 in senior secured credit facilities consisting of first lien, second lien and fully subordinated tranches as well as letter of credit and working cash sub-facilities for a specialized manufacturing company with U.S. and Canadian operations. The credit facilities provided for the recapitalization of and working capital for the loan parties and are secured by liens on substantially all of such parties' real and personal U.S. and Canadian assets.
Counsel to the administrative agent and lead arranger with respect to an $85,000,000 senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility including a letter of credit subfacility for a manufacturing company in the styrofoam business. The proceeds of the credit facility were used to refinance existing senior indebtedness of the company and were also used for general corporate and working capital purposes. The credit facility was secured by liens on substantially all of such company's personal property (excluding equipment).