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Tesla said to raise $1.4B loan in China; Ford recalls 600,000 vehicles

TOP NEWS

* Tesla Inc. secured a 10 billion yuan, or $1.4 billion, credit facility from a group of Chinese banks for its Shanghai plant, Reuters reported, citing sources. Tesla previously secured a 12-month loan of up to 3.5 billion yuan due in March 2020. Tesla did not reportedly respond to requests for comment. The electric-car maker's stock was up 1.58% at $411.99 per share during premarket trading in New York.

* Ford Motor Co. issued two separate safety recalls in North America impacting more than 600,000 vehicles, due to a potentially faulty valve and a damaged spare tire bead area that could cause accidents. A recall for select 2006 to 2010 model year Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ cars was prompted by 15 reports of accidents and two injuries potentially related to a faulty valve, the company said.

CARMAKERS

* Union members at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said the carmaker has reassured them of jobs and a €5 billion investment plan after it announced its merger with France's Peugeot SA, Reuters reported, citing Rocco Palombella, head of the UILM metalworkers union. Palombella reportedly said that the company officials guaranteed that all 400,000 employees within the combined group will be retained.

* Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.'s Executive Chairman Anand Mahindra is stepping down from the position and will transition into a nonexecutive chairman role, effective April 1, 2020. Pawan Goenka will be reinstated as CEO and managing director and Anish Shah will join the company's board as CFO and deputy managing director.

* Mazda Motor Corp. is considering moving production of some of its models to Japan from Thailand as it combats with the continued appreciation of the Thai baht against key currencies, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The automaker's Thai plant produces 135,000 vehicles, including CX-3 SUV, annually.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Tesla and the State of Brandenburg in Germany have agreed to a contract for the electric-car maker to purchase 300 hectares of land near Berlin to set up its production facility, Bloomberg News reported, citing a statement by the state government. Brandenburg's Economy Minister Joerg Steinbach reportedly said that the "project can make further headway next year."

* Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., or NTT, agreed to jointly acquire a 30% stake in Dutch digital mapping company Here Technologies as the latter looks to diversify its shareholder base beyond automotive companies and accelerate its growth in the Asia-Pacific region. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, HERE said that Mitsubishi and NTT will acquire new and existing shares from current shareholders, including Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Volkswagen AG's Audi, Daimler AG, Continental AG and Bosch.

* Toyota Motor Corp. has co-developed a damage service system with Japan's Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. Ltd. The system uses driving data to visualize driving conditions and behavior at the time of an accident. It also uses artificial intelligence for advanced accident detection. Toyota will introduce the system in March 2020 in connected cars across its namesake and Lexus brands.

* General Motors Co. and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are discussing the automaker's petition to introduce self-driving cars without steering wheels, gear shifts and brake pedals on public roads, Reuters reported, citing James Owens, the NHTSA's acting administrator. Owens reportedly told the news wire that the agency will "definitely" arrive at a decision in 2020.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Travis Kalanick has sold more than 90% of his stake in the company, worth more than $2.5 billion, since the post-IPO lockup period expired. According to regulatory filings, Kalanick owned 8,220,429 shares as of Dec. 18, compared with 95,648,654 shares he owned before he started selling on Nov. 6.

* Singaporean ride-hailing company GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. will apply for a digital banking license in the country before the Dec. 31 deadline, the Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing Rueben Lai, head of Grab Financial Group. The license will reportedly allow the company to provide financial services, including deposits and lending, to consumers and businesses as it seeks to develop "the largest fintech ecosystem in Southeast Asia."

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Sales drop for most major auto markets in November

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.13% to 27,906.41, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% to 23,821.11.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.46% to 7,617.20, and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.07% to 1,153.34.

On the macro front

The durable goods orders report, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the new home sales 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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