The UK automotive industry is big business: in 2015 it generated revenues of £71 billion and accounted for more than 814,000 jobs worldwide. Eighteen of the world's 20 largest automotive suppliers have a base in the UK. British motorsport also continues to dominate globally: seven of the current ten Formula 1 teams are established here.
Our knowledge covers the entire automotive sphere, encompassing both the commercial manufacturing industry and the dynamic world of motorsport. Our Automotive Group acts for the major car marques, suppliers, distributors, dealers, Formula 1 teams, professional drivers and sponsors, as well as investors, private enthusiasts and collectors of vintage cars.
Why we are different
We don't just provide legal advice. We are problem-solvers, creating innovative solutions to enable our clients to overcome hurdles other law firms would find insurmountable. For example:
- When the Caterham F1 team ran out of money at the end of the 2014 season, we set up a crowdfunding scheme to enable it to race in the final grand prix.
- When the margins of the luxury German car marques were being severely hit by cheap copies of their alloy wheels, we won a landmark High Court decision which throttled the replica wheel industry.
- When BMW wanted to buy part of Rolls Royce, our lawyers found a way to split the ownership of the Rolls Royce brand between automotive and aerospace.
Our Automotive Group advises on all the issues you might face, including brand protection, corporate and commercial, regulatory and compliance, restructuring and insolvency, competition, employment, property and dispute resolution.
Our automotive experience
- Advising BMW, MINI, Audi and Mercedes on intellectual property issues, in particular brand protection and anti-counterfeiting. In 2012, we obtained a landmark High Court decision in relation to the rights protecting alloy wheel designs.
- Advising on partnering agreements between major car manufacturers (including BMW, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Renault and Nissan) and equipment manufacturers.
- Acting on product recalls for car and motorbike manufacturers.
- Acting on an Office of Fair Trading investigation into price fixing and market sharing between one of the world's largest car manufacturers and its vehicle dealerships.
- Acting for JSP, a major supplier of parts to the leading car manufacturers.
- Advising the UK's leading provider of real-time traffic information to in-car sat navs on all aspects of the supply chain, including intellectual property protection, mobile data collection and processing, and broadcasting of the traffic information.
- Tax advice to the Volkswagen Group, Ford, Vauxhall and Toyota. Currently advising Mercedes-Benz Financial Services on one of the most important VAT cases of 2015, which has been referred by the Court of Appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
- Acting on numerous cases involving automotive fraud, including obtaining injunctions for luxury car retailers to recover vehicles and prosecuting a claim for a major car parts manufacturer which was the victim of supplier fraud.
- In relation to classic and super cars, advising on their acquisition and sale, disputes over their authenticity and renovation, obtaining injunctions to prevent their sale and freezing injunctions against fraudulent suppliers.
- Advising the automotive recruitment consultancy HCP International Ltd.
Our motorsport experience
- Acting for the Marussia and Caterham Lotus F1 teams on all legal issues, including contracts with drivers and sponsors, agency, supply and sponsorship agreements, licensing, broadcasting, corporate, employment and competition law issues, and various commercial disputes.
- Acting for various racing drivers and their management companies.
- Advising on the competition law issues arising under Formula 1's Concorde agreement.
- Acting on the administration and subsequent sell-off of two Formula 1 teams.
- Representing the Peugeot works rally team on its sponsorship agreement with Phillip Morris (Marlboro).
- Advising the Tottenham Hotspur team on the inclusion and participation of its car in the Superleague Formula.