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US probes Tesla car crash; Waymo-JLR sign electric, self-driving car pact


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US probes Tesla car crash; Waymo-JLR sign electric, self-driving car pact


* The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is opening an investigation into a Tesla Inc. crash near Mountain View, Calif. The agency said in a tweet that it is sending two investigators to examine the post-crash fire and steps needed for a safe removal of the vehicle from the accident scene. Tesla's shares dropped nearly 8.3% March 27, shaving off nearly $4 billion in market capitalization.

* Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving car unit Waymo LLC and Tata Motors Ltd.-owned Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC entered into a long-term partnership to design a premium electric, fully self-driving vehicle for its transportation service. Waymo will add 20,000 Jaguar I-PACE cars, which will feature its self-driving technology, to its fleet in the next few years, according to a March 27 official blog post. Waymo plans to launch a self-driving ride-hailing service in 2018.


* BYD Co. Ltd. shares dropped nearly 10% after the Chinese carmaker warned that China's planned subsidy cuts for new-energy vehicles may cut its quarterly profit by as much as 90%, Reuters reported. While Beijing is looking to become a world leader in greener transport, it has been looking to phase out financial subsidies for the sector. The revised guidance puts profits for the three months to March between 50 million Chinese yuan and 150 million yuan, versus 605.8 million yuan a year ago, according to the report.


* Uber Technologies Inc. has suspended indefinitely its autonomous vehicle testing programs in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Toronto, according to a letter by Brian Soublet, deputy director of California's Department of Motor Vehicles. Soublet's letter to Uber said the company's license to test autonomous vehicles in California will end March 31 and that it must apply for a fresh permit in the future.

* Aptiv PLC's autonomous vehicle startup NuTonomy resumed driving tests in Boston following a pause after Uber's fatal self-driving car accident, Reuters reported.

* California-based chipmaker NVIDIA Corp. also suspended tests of self-driving vehicles globally after Uber's self-driving car accident, Reuters reported, citing a source at a company-sponsored conference.


* Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is facing a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. over alleged manipulation of emissions, Reuters reported. According to a case filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, BMW Group's X5 and BMW330d models allegedly release nitrogen oxide emissions "many times higher than their gasoline counterparts," and the vehicles' "promised power, fuel economy, and efficiency are obtained only by turning off or turning down emission controls." BMW Group, which previously refuted claims about using illegal software to mask emission levels, reportedly was not available for comment.

* European Union authorities are probing whether Volkswagen AG benefited unfairly from a tax agreement with Luxembourg, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Nicolai Laude, a spokesman for the German automaker, which could be forced to pay "millions of euros" in back taxes, reportedly said the company's tax practices are "in line with applicable laws." Luxembourg's finance ministry and the European Council declined comments to Bloomberg News.


* Melrose Industries PLC promised not to sell or reorganize its business for five years in a last-ditch effort to win the support of GKN PLC shareholders and the British government in its hostile takeover bid to acquire the U.K. engineering company. "Melrose fully stands behind its plan to work for the improvement of not only GKN, but the U.K. economy as well," the takeover specialist said in a statement.

* Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., said it will streamline its complex ownership structure. Under the restructuring, the group's auto parts maker unit Hyundai Mobis Co. Ltd. will spin off its module manufacturing and after-sales businesses and merge them with logistics firm Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd., Reuters reported. Additionally, the group's Chairman Chung Mong-koo and Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun will buy stakes in Mobis held by Kia Motors, Glovis and Hyundai Steel. The move is conditional upon approval by shareholders of the respective sister companies May 29.

* Lee Dong-gull, the chairman and CEO of Korea Development Bank, said Kumho Tire Co. Inc. will go under court receivership April 2 unless the tire maker's labor union agrees by March 30 to a 45% stake sale to Chinese peer Qingdao Doublestar Co. Ltd. for 646.3 billion South Korean won, Yonhap News agency reported. The union reportedly opposes the deal on fears that Qingdao Doublestar might withdraw from the country after obtaining Kumho's proprietary technology.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 2.34% to 30,070.29, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.34% to 21,031.31.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.17% to 6,987.95, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.68% to 995.15.

On the macro front

The Bank Reserve Settlement report, the MBA mortgage applications report, the GDP report, the international trade in goods report, the pending home sales index, the EIA petroleum status report and the Farm prices report are due out today.

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