COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|9 Months Ended
Oct. 03, 2021
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
NOTE 11. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
We are subject to numerous lawsuits and claims arising out of the ordinary course of our business, including actions related to product liability; personal injury; the use and performance of our products; warranty matters; product recalls; patent, trademark or other intellectual property infringement; contractual liability; the conduct of our business; tax reporting in foreign jurisdictions; distributor termination; workplace safety; and environmental matters. We also have been identified as a potentially responsible party at multiple waste disposal sites under U.S. federal and related state environmental statutes and regulations and may have joint and several liability for any investigation and remediation costs incurred with respect to such sites. We have denied liability with respect to many of these lawsuits, claims and proceedings and are vigorously defending such lawsuits, claims and proceedings. We carry various forms of commercial, property and casualty, product liability and other forms of insurance; however, such insurance may not be applicable or adequate to cover the costs associated with a judgment against us with respect to these lawsuits, claims and proceedings. We do not believe that these lawsuits are material individually or in the aggregate. While we believe we have also established adequate accruals for our expected future liability with respect to pending lawsuits, claims and proceedings, where the nature and extent of any such liability can be reasonably estimated based upon then presently available information, there can be no assurance that the final resolution of any existing or future lawsuits, claims or proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
We conduct significant business operations in Brazil that are subject to the Brazilian federal, state and local labor, social security, tax and customs laws. While we believe we comply with such laws, they are complex, subject to varying interpretations and we are often engaged in litigation regarding the application of these laws to particular circumstances.
On April 29, 2019, we announced that we were conducting a formal internal review of our emissions certification process and compliance with emission standards for our pick-up truck applications, following conversations with the EPA and CARB regarding certification of our engines in model year 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 trucks. This review is being conducted with external advisors to ensure the certification and compliance processes for all of our pick-up truck applications are consistent with our internal policies, engineering standards and applicable laws. In addition, we voluntarily disclosed our formal internal review to the regulators and to other government agencies, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SEC, and worked cooperatively with them to ensure a complete and thorough review. We fully cooperated with the DOJ's and the SEC's information requests and inquiries and, based on communications with these agencies, we do not expect further inquiries. During conversations with the EPA and CARB about the effectiveness of our pick-up truck applications, the regulators raised concerns that certain aspects of our emissions systems may reduce the effectiveness of our emissions control systems and thereby act as defeat devices. As a result, our internal review focuses, in part, on the regulators’ concerns. We are working closely with the regulators to enhance our emissions systems to improve the effectiveness of all of our pick-up truck applications and to fully address the regulators’ requirements. Based on discussions with the regulators, we have developed a new calibration for the engines in model year 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 trucks that has been included in all engines shipped since September 2019. During our ongoing discussions, the regulators turned their attention to other model years and other engines, most notably our pick-up truck applications for RAM 2500 and 3500 trucks for model years 2013 through 2018. Due to the continuing nature of our formal review, our ongoing cooperation with our regulators and the presence of many unknown facts and circumstances, we cannot predict the final outcome of this review and these regulatory processes, nor whether, or the extent to which, they could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and cash flows.
Guarantees and Commitments
Periodically, we enter into guarantee arrangements, including guarantees of non-U.S. distributor financings, residual value guarantees on equipment under operating leases and other miscellaneous guarantees of joint ventures or third-party obligations. At October 3, 2021, the maximum potential loss related to these guarantees was $49 million.
We have arrangements with certain suppliers that require us to purchase minimum volumes or be subject to monetary penalties. At October 3, 2021, if we were to stop purchasing from each of these suppliers, the aggregate amount of the penalty would be approximately $90 million. These arrangements enable us to secure supplies of critical components and IT services. We do not currently anticipate paying any penalties under these contracts.
We enter into physical forward contracts with suppliers of platinum and palladium to purchase certain volumes of the commodities at contractually stated prices for various periods, which generally fall within two years. At October 3, 2021, the total commitments under these contracts were $54 million. These arrangements enable us to guarantee the prices of these commodities, which otherwise are subject to market volatility.
We have guarantees with certain customers that require us to satisfactorily honor contractual or regulatory obligations, or compensate for monetary losses related to nonperformance. These performance bonds and other performance-related guarantees were $105 million at October 3, 2021.
Periodically, we enter into various contractual arrangements where we agree to indemnify a third-party against certain types of losses. Common types of indemnities include:
•product liability and license, patent or trademark indemnifications;
•asset sale agreements where we agree to indemnify the purchaser against future environmental exposures related to the asset sold; and
•any contractual agreement where we agree to indemnify the counterparty for losses suffered as a result of a misrepresentation in the contract.
We regularly evaluate the probability of having to incur costs associated with these indemnities and accrue for expected losses that are probable. Because the indemnifications are not related to specified known liabilities and due to their uncertain nature, we are unable to estimate the maximum amount of the potential loss associated with these indemnifications.