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Uber says 3,045 sexual assaults reported in 2018; Lyft sued over assaults

TOP NEWS

* Uber Technologies Inc. reported 3,045 incidents of sexual assault in its U.S. trips in 2018, including 235 cases of rape. Despite the total incident reports dropping 16% compared to 2017 figures, the number of reported rapes increased from 229 in the prior year. The ride-hailing company said it is committed to the safety of its users and has launched a Safety Toolkit in its app, where users can share trip data, call trusted contacts or contact emergency services.

* A group of 19 women sued Lyft Inc. for allegedly covering up sexual assault reports and failing to implement safety measures that could have prevented the incidents, The New York Times reported, citing Michael Bomberger, who represents the group. Bomberger, who also filed a suit for 14 women in September, said Lyft is focused on "silencing the victims and protecting their brand." A Lyft representative responded that the ride-hailing service introduced over 15 safety features and that one in five employees is focused on improving safety.

CARMAKERS

* China's Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd. will cut its stake in Peugeot SA to help the latter's proposed merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Reuters reported, citing sources. Dongfeng, which holds 12.2% of Peugeot with a 19.5% voting stake, will present the plan to its shareholders after consulting with banks and advisers.

* Renault SA approached Henri Poupart-Lafarge, the CEO of transport solutions company Alstom SA, for the chief executive post at the French carmaker, Automotive News reported, citing local business television channel BFM Business. Poupart-Lafarge could compete with SEAT President Luca de Meo, Faurecia S.E. CEO Patrick Koller and interim boss Clotilde Delbos, who are also reportedly vying for the role.

* Chinese carmaker BAIC Motor Corporation Ltd. and Daimler Greater China will jointly invest 500 million yuan in Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Leasing Co. Ltd., or MBLC, to comply with regulations from the Ministry of Commerce, Gasgoo reported. Daimler Greater China will invest 65% and BAIC will fund 35% of the amount.

* Volkswagen AG named Klaus Bischoff the head of its Group Design and Jozef Kabaň as its chief designer for the passenger cars brand, effective April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020, respectively.

* Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC opened a new dealership in Johannesburg, South Africa. The facility hosts the carmaker's new DBX SUV in its nine-car display area.

* Volkswagen said all of its models, starting with the Golf 8 launching in 2020, will need to be brought to maintenance every 24 months instead of every 12 months.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said Tesla Inc.'s stock price could soar to $500 in a bull case of Cybertruck being a success and sales of its vehicles in China increasing to 200,000. Jonas gave the carmaker's shares a bear case value of $10. The analyst, however, maintained his hold rating on the stock, with a price target of $250, as he questioned the sustainability of a potential surge. Tesla's shares were trading at $330.37 at market closing on Dec. 5.

* Two variants of Tesla's Model 3 electric sedan were recommended for China's subsidies for new-energy vehicles, Reuters reported, citing the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

* Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.-owned Volvo Cars invested an undisclosed amount in self-driving software company Apex.AI.

POLICY, REGULATION AND SAFETY

* The United Auto Workers named acting President Rory Gamble as president until June 2022. Gamble replaces Gary Jones, who took a leave of absence amid a federal probe into widespread corruption in the union.

* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute said vehicles should display when passengers in rear seats are not wearing seatbelts. The think-tanks urged regulators to require vehicles to add a visual display showing seatbelt status for every seat.

* The European Automobile Manufacturers Association called for the EU to create "real market demand" for low- and zero-emission vehicles by providing "meaningful incentives" like charging and refueling infrastructure.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Adient PLC CEO Doug DelGrosso said the struggling seat-maker could break even in 2020, but said 1,300 salaried employees will not work or receive pay from the week of Thanksgiving and from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3, Automotive News reported. DelGrosso believed it was "the right thing to do" and that his "back to basics" strategy will pay off in the next year.

* German parts-maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG began constructing its €90 million research and development center in China, Automotive News reported. The center, which will open in 2023 and focus on self-driving and e-mobility, will mark the company's third such site in the country.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* German luxury-car maker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG sold 225,662 vehicles worldwide in November, up 1.4% year over year, thanks to a sharp sales growth in China and the U.S. Sales in China grew 12.1% to 68,366, while demand in the U.S. grew 7.6% to 34,280. Back home, sales dropped 2.9% to 28,833, with European sales falling 5.1% to 91,457.

* Daimler's Mercedes-Benz sold 209,058 vehicles worldwide in November, up 5.3% year over year. Deliveries jumped 11% to 57,901 in China, 5.8% to 30,872 in Germany, and 8.7% to 33,721 in the U.S.

* Volkswagen's Audi AG sold 163,350 vehicles in November, up 23.1% year over year due to strong growth in Europe, North America and China.

* Volkswagen's Jetta brand said it delivered 30,000 vehicles in China after entering the market with the launch of its VS5 SUV and VA3 sedan in September.

* Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. said it sold 143,234 vehicles in November, up 1% year over year.

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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 was up 1.07% to 26,498.37, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.23% to 23,354.40.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.81% to 7,195.32, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.50% to 1,119.24.

On the macro front

The employment situation report, the consumer sentiment report, the wholesale trade report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the consumer credit 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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