Ford and VW Electric Models May Be Delayed by Trade-Secret Fight



Christoph Rauwald and Susan Decker | Bloomberg

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG warned a swirling legal dispute between two South Korean battery suppliers could threaten their plans to start producing electric vehicles in the U.S.

The dispute between SK Innovation Co. and LG Chem Ltd. could undermine Ford’s intention to make an electric version of the F-150 in Michigan from 2022 and VW’s efforts to build battery-powered cars in Tennessee the same year. In filings with the U.S. International Trade Commission, the carmakers warn the U.S. against banning imports of components SKI needs to manufacture batteries that LG Chem says were developed using stolen trade secrets.

“To avoid a catastrophic supply disruption,” lawyers for VW said in a May filing, the trade commission should allow SKI to fulfill its contract to produce batteries in Georgia even if it finds that the supplier violated trade rules. “Any remedial orders should seek to avoid collateral damage to SKI’s existing customers,” they said.

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