* China suspended additional tariffs on some U.S. imports, including auto parts and vehicles, that were due to take effect Dec. 15 after the two countries agreed to the text of a phase-one deal to slow their trade war. The Chinese Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said other duties already imposed on U.S. imports will continue, except for the products on the exemption list.
* Chinese automaker BAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. is looking to double its stake in Daimler AG in a bid to secure a board seat and unseat Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. as the German carmaker's top shareholder, Reuters reported, citing sources who were briefed on the matter. BAIC currently holds a 5% stake in the parent of Mercedes-Benz, while Geely owns a 9.7% stake.
* Peugeot SA has secured backing from the French government, which owns 12% of the carmaker, for its merger with Italian-American rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. Peugeot directors have scheduled a meeting for Dec. 17 to review the final terms of the offer.
* Three days before he was sacked, former Renault SA CEO Thierry Bolloré demanded an independent probe into Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s investigation into former chief Carlos Ghosn, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a letter by Bolloré. The former executive, who believed that Nissan's probe was tainted due to conflicts of interest, reportedly said that the Japanese carmaker rejected his request.
* Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC is in early-stage talks with potential investors as the company reviews its funding requirements and options. The luxury carmaker said it plans to build "longer-term relationships" with potential investors that may or may not involve an equity investment.
* General Motors Co. announced that it will invest $1.5 billion to build next-generation midsize pickup trucks and upgrade its Missouri truck plant. The investment is expected to retain approximately 4,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs at the plant, the automaker said.
* Volkswagen AG is not considering alternatives to Turkey for its multibrand plant, Automotive News reported, citing sources. They added that the decision, which is on hold, is likely to be announced in February 2020.
ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
* Daimler AG-owned Mercedes-Benz is delaying the launch of its electric SUV EQC in the U.S., to 2021 from early 2020, and instead plans to focus on the development of the brand in Europe, the German carmaker said in an email to Bloomberg News. EQC deliveries in Europe reportedly began in early 2019.
* Volkswagen AG said it launched an initiative with Qatar to develop a public transport system for capital city Doha with electric and autonomous buses and shuttles. It expects to begin closed testing of autonomous buses in 2020 and will run trials in 2021. The project is expected to go live by the end of 2022.
* Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG said their joint ride-hailing service FreeNow's revenues will rise to more than €2 billion in 2019 and also announced expansion plans for their e-mobility joint venture, dubbed Your Now, under a new umbrella organization, effective Jan. 1, 2020, to focus on profitable growth. The companies said that the joint venture has 90 million customers, up 44% since the start of 2019.
* Uber Technologies Inc. submitted an appeal against the decision by London's transportation authority not to renew the ride-hailing company's operating license, Reuters reported, citing Transport for London director Helen Chapman.
* Uber Technologies is exploring a sale of its food delivery business, Uber Eats, in India to restaurant aggregator Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. They reportedly added that a deal could be announced as early as this week. Uber and Zomato representatives reportedly declined to comment on the matter.
POLICY, REGULATION AND SAFETY
* Ford Motor Co. issued a safety recall for more than 547,000 Super Duty SuperCrew pickup trucks for model years 2017-2019 over the risk of a post-crash interior fire.
* Subaru Corp. will recall 51,613 units of its Crosstek, Forester and Ascent vehicles for model year 2019 over a defective ventilation valve, according to a notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will launch a special investigation into the 12th crash involving Tesla Inc.'s 2018-make Model 3, Reuters reported. The safety agency reportedly said the crash could be linked to the vehicle's advanced autopilot driver assistance system when the car rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut.
* Jesus Seade, Mexico's deputy foreign minister for North America, denied claims that the country would be subject to labor enforcement inspectors after the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Reuters reported. Seade reportedly said the Mexican law prohibits appointments of any "disguised" labor reform inspectors in the country under the new trade agreement.
* Matthew Schneider, a lead U.S. attorney investigating the ongoing federal corruption scandal with the United Auto Workers' union, told Reuters in an interview that union leaders are still not fully cooperating with the government. Schneider reportedly added that the investigators are receiving more tips from the public that could potentially expand the probe. The UAW reportedly said in a statement that it "expressed a willingness to further work with the government on the issues of concern."
* Demand for luxury cars in South Korea rose sharply in 2019, with 360 units with price tags of 300 million won or above delivered between January and November, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing data compiled by Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association. The report added that the sale of cars priced at 200 million won was up 25% to 3,560 units. Among the top luxury car sellers were BMW-owned Rolls-Royce and Audi AG-owned Lamborghini.
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The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.65% to 27,508.09, and the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.29% to 23,952.35.
In Europe around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 2.19% to 7,514.52, and the Euronext 100 rose 1.00% to 1,143.74.
On the macro front
The Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the Housing Market Index and the Treasury International Capital report are due out today.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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