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Fiat Chrysler sweetens Renault deal; Nissan to halve CEO's FY'19 pay

TOP NEWS

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is in talks to improve the terms of its proposed merger with Renault SA to win the support of the French government, Reuters reported, citing sources. The Italian-American carmaker is reportedly planning to provide improved jobs guarantees, offer a special dividend to Renault shareholders and establish the combined company's head office in France.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will halve CEO Hiroto Saikawa's pay for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, due to "matters related to the misconduct led by the company's former Chairman," Carlos Ghosn. The move comes after the carmaker posted a 57.3% year-over-year fall in net profit for fiscal 2018 and warned that it expects profit to almost halve again in fiscal 2019.

CARMAKERS

* Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG named Franz Reiner as chairman of the Daimler Financial Services AG board, effective immediately. He replaces Klaus Entenmann, who has retired. Harald Wilhelm has taken over from Bodo Uebber as chairman of the unit's supervisory board. On July 24 Daimler Financial Services will be renamed Daimler Mobility and will handle fleet management, insurance and leasing services.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said the company's electric pickup truck will ideally have a maximum base price of $49,000, Electrek reported, citing comments Musk made on the Ride the Lightning podcast. The executive said the vehicle will look very different to present day trucks and aims "to be a better truck than an [Ford] F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911."

* Hyundai Motor Co. will spend 7.6 trillion won over the next decade to develop its hydrogen fuel cell systems, the Financial Times reported, citing fuel cell division head Sae Hoon Kim. The South Korean carmaker, which also owns Kia Motors Corp., is offering its full fuel cell system to other carmakers to encourage widespread adoption of new-energy fuels.

* Chinese real estate developer China Evergrande Group said it acquired Protean Holdings, a Swedish developer of in-wheel electric motor technology, Gasgoo reported. In April, Bloomberg News reported that Evergrande was planning to acquire two Dutch electric-vehicle makers, DAF Trucks and VDL, as part of its goal of becoming the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer within three to five years.

* Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. introduced a new hydrogen fuel cell bus in a bid to strengthen its position in China's zero-emissions market, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. According to the report, the F12 has a range of 500 kilometers after 10 minutes of refueling and will be sold under the Yuan Cheng Auto brand.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* Mexican Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will meet June 3 in Washington to discuss the proposed imposition of tariffs on Mexican imports, Reuters reported. President Donald Trump announced May 30 that he will apply tariffs of 5% on all Mexican goods June 10 and increase them by up to 25% if Mexico does not do more to reduce illegal immigration into the U.S. Shares in major carmakers, many of whom manufacture cars in Mexico for the U.S. market, sank following the announcement.

* Porsche CEO Oliver Blume confirmed reports that his office was among those raided by German prosecutors on suspicion that the sports-car maker's tax adviser bribed a government auditor to obtain confidential tax information, Automotive News reported, citing German-language newspaper Handelsblatt.

* A Tesla Model S vehicle was destroyed after it caught fire while charging in Antwerp, Belgium, Electrek reported, citing local news. The electric-car maker has been investigating incidents where Model S vehicles caught fire or exploded in parking lots in Hong Kong and Shanghai, respectively.

* Mercedes-Benz is recalling 44,900 vehicles in China due to a tire problem, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing China's State Administration for Market Regulation.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* General Motors Co.'s Korean arm saw sales rise 0.4% year over year in May to 41,060 vehicles, Yonhap News Agency reported.

* May sales of Hyundai Motor Group's name brand fell 7.7% year over year to 357,515 automobiles. The carmaker's Kia brand reported a 3.4% decline in monthly sales to 239,059 vehicles sold worldwide.

* Tata Motors Ltd. sold 40,155 automobiles in May, down 26% year over year.

* Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. sold 134,641 autos in May, down 22% from the prior-year period.

* Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. sold 45,421 vehicles in May, down 3% from the prior-year period.

* Renault Samsung, the carmaker's South Korean arm, sold 14,228 vehicles in May, down 11.6% on weak demand, Yonhap News Agency reported.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* Indian motorcycle maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd sold 652,028 motorcycles and scooters in May, up from 574,366 in April.

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Auto sector would suffer under latest tariffs on Mexico; critics decry policy

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.08% to 26,880.45, and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.92% to 20,410.88.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.39% to 7,133.74, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.39% to 1,018.09.

On the macro front

The PMI manufacturing index, the ISM manufacturing index and the construction spending 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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