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MMM Advises HK Motors in Auto Development Agreement, Italian Company Italdesign Giugiaro Agrees to Design New Hybrid Cars


Attorneys with Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP recently advised U.S.-based HK Motors on a development agreement that is an important step toward opening a new auto plant that could have a big economic impact on both the Southeast, and the environment.

HK Motors is planning to build a new automotive plant in Baldwin County, Alabama with an initial investment estimated at $1.5 billion. Its plant will build low-emission vehicles with hybrid engines that use compressed natural gas (CNG), electricity and gasoline. HK Motors’ plans for the Alabama plant include the production of sedans, a SUV, multi-purpose vehicle, crossover utility vehicle, van, taxi and two high and medium range commercial vehicles. HK Motors hopes to be the first large-scale manufacturer of solely environmentally-friendly vehicles. Production is expected to begin in 2013.

One sign of HK Motors’ progress toward building the plant came on January 19, when the firm signed a development agreement with Italdesign Giugiaro to design and engineer the fleet of hybrid cars the company will manufacture at this facility. Alabama Governor Bob Riley and more than 300 guests attended a signing ceremony in Montgomery, which featured a new concept car. The development agreement is worth $500 million.

Italdesign Giugiaro is an automobile design and engineering company based in Turin, Italy. Founded in 1968, the company is known for its famed automobile designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and for its collaborations with such automobile legends as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bugatti, Daewoo, DeLorean, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Saab, Suzuki, Toyota-Lexus and Volkswagen, among others.

“We have chosen Italdesign Giugiaro in view of its more than four decades of expertise in the field of integrated services to the automotive industry, from styling research and engineering to production start-up though prototyping and testing,” said HK Motors Vice Chairman Charles Huang. HK Motors Chairman Yung Yeung and Giugiaro previously worked together to design the “zhonghua”, the first sedan independently developed by a Chinese company.

Morris, Manning attorneys Dr. Tim Tingkang Xia, Sandra Gardiner and Larry Street advised HK Motors in connection with the development agreement. The firm also advised HK Motors on its organizational structure, production agreements and financing matters, in addition to its assistance with intellectual property and employment issues as well as technology transfer deals and local government incentives. The full Morris, Manning team includes partners David Calhoun, Sandra Gardiner, Jeff Schulte, Larry Street, Jason D’Cruz and Thomas Gryboski as well as attorneys Stephanie Simon, Kevin Wright, Bill Holley, Chris Glass and Daniel Sineway. The firm’s team also includes supporting professionals Dr. Ming Jiang, Dr. Peter Zhou, Han Zhang, Jane Smith and Sylvia Tsai.

About Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Morris, Manning & Martin ( is a full-service commercial law firm representing domestic and international clients throughout the United States. Our mission is to be the firm of choice for clients seeking the most creative, comprehensive and effective legal services available. Our legal solutions are delivered by industry-focused, diverse, involved lawyers who are dedicated to our clients’ success, whether in a transaction, in court or in the everyday course of business.

Morris, Manning & Martin enjoys national prominence for its healthcare, intellectual property, capital markets, environmental, green industry, insurance, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and technology practices. The firm has offices in Atlanta, Savannah, Raleigh-Durham, Taipei, Beijing and Washington, D.C.


Media Contact: Terri Thornton, Thornton Communications (404) 932-4347