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Trump open to talks with California; Nissan beats FY'17 expectations

TOP NEWS

* President Donald Trump urged carmakers to produce more vehicles within the U.S. and called the North American Free Trade Agreement "a horrible, horrible disaster for this country" at a meeting May 11 with automotive executives to discuss the proposed revision of emissions standards, Reuters reported. Trump reportedly said the White House is open for a "discussion with California on an expedited basis." Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's CEO Sergio Marchionne said he was "fully supportive" of President Donald Trump's relook at national auto emission standards and said the automaker would redirect its Mexico production "to a global market" in light of a revamped NAFTA, Reuters reported.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. beat market expectations for the fiscal full year 2017 ended March 31 but warned that profits will fall in the current fiscal due to a stronger yen and higher raw material prices. The company expects net income for the year ending March 2019 to be ¥500 billion, a 33% drop from its fiscal 2017 net income of ¥746.90 billion, or diluted earnings per share of ¥190.96, helped by the recent U.S. corporate tax reforms. The diluted EPS beat a consensus analyst estimate of ¥184.41 compiled by S&P Capital IQ.

CARMAKERS

* Daimler AG-owned Mercedes-Benz said it will resume work at its Alabama-based SUV production facility with a "modified production schedule" after work was halted May 10 due to a blaze at a parts supplier's factory in Michigan, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. will resume production of F-150 pickups May 18 at its Dearborn and Kansas City plants, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the automaker's plans.

* General Motors Co.'s South Korean unit GM Korea, which reached on May 10 a $7.15 billion turnaround deal with the government, expects to roll out 15 new and upgraded models in the country by 2023 and to turn a profit in 2019, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Detroit carmaker's local unit reportedly will spend $2.8 billion on "two new global vehicle programs" in the next 10 years, as well as partner with the South Korean government to research and develop future vehicle technologies like electric cars. In the meantime, GM Korea canceled a press briefing citing employee safety after a dozen of its about 2,000 temporary workers forced their way into the venue to demand full-time work contracts, Reuters reported.

* Isuzu Motors Ltd. issued its forecast for fiscal 2019 profit to be ¥110 billion, a year-over-year rise of 4.1% from its reported 2018 profit of ¥105.7 billion, on higher sales and cost-cutting initiatives. The Japanese automaker expects 2019 sales to grow 3.4% year over year to ¥2.140 trillion, compared with a 6% year-over-year increase in its 2018 sales of ¥2.070 trillion.

* Peugeot SA agreed to suspend an employee voluntary buyout plan at its Opel unit in the week of May 7 pending talks between Opel's management and Opel's works council scheduled for May-end, Reuters reported. Labor representatives reportedly had urged PSA to halt voluntary departures, saying it risked jeopardizing expertise in key areas.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Tesla Inc.'s Hong Kong division registered a new wholly owned subsidiary in Shanghai, Bloomberg News reported, citing China's National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System website. The new unit, which was registered with a capital of $15.8 million, will carry out technological development and services on electric vehicles, auto parts, batteries, energy storage facilities and solar panel products, according to the website. The move takes Tesla closer to producing its electric vehicles in China and establishing its first gigafactory outside the U.S.

* Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the U.S. electric carmaker will take orders for dual-motor all-wheel-drive and performance versions of its Model 3 toward the end of the week starting May 14. Production of these Model 3 versions will begin in July and one featuring air suspension tentatively could be out in 2019, Musk said. The company added 121 new stations and 1,324 Superchargers to its network in the first four months of the year, Electrek reported.

* Matthew Schwall, Tesla's director of field performance engineering, resigned May 7 from the U.S. electric car maker and joined Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving car unit Waymo LLC, The Wall Street Journal reported, according to people familiar with the matter. His departure comes amid Tesla's Senior Vice President of Engineering Doug Field taking a leave of absence "to recharge and spend time with his family" but has not left Tesla, Reuters reported, quoting a company spokesman.

* Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd.'s Didi Research America LLC secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California as of May 10, according to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles' website.

REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* Following a 30-minute trilateral meeting between top trade negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico on May 11, Canadian Minister of Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal said ministers from their countries would be heading home that day without a new deal. Getting the deal "right" without rushing it remains a priority regardless of looming deadlines, they said, adding that lower-level trade officials will continue negotiations in Washington.

* Germany's top financial regulator Bafin is investigating whether Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. Chairman Li Shufu violated disclosure rules in his roughly $9 billion investment in Daimler AG, the parent company of luxury auto brand Mercedes-Benz, Reuters reported, citing a letter from the German finance ministry. Bafin said Li should have disclosed the acquisition of a nearly 10% stake in Daimler Feb. 22 rather than Feb. 23. Geely reportedly said it informed markets in a timely fashion and the Feb. 22 disclosure was based on a new interpretation of legal provisions by Bafin, which was released May 9.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Volkswagen AG is recalling certain cars due to technical issues with the rear seatbelt lock mechanism, the company said in a statement May 11. The German carmaker is recalling about 220,000 new Polo cars in the coming weeks, while its Spanish Seat brand is recalling 191,000 vehicles, according to a Reuters report May 11.

* Mercedes-Benz is calling back 42,781 of its smart fortwo models, both cabriolet and coupe versions, of 2008-2009 make to fix an engine-compartment issue, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Separately, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is recalling 239,904 units of the Jeep Liberty SUV from 2004-2007 make to replace their rear lower control arms that could be prone to corrosion from water accumulation.

* U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Takata Corp.'s faulty airbags caused 278 injuries in the country and 15 fatalities, Reuters reported. Florida recorded the highest number of incidents at three deaths and 83 injuries so far, Nelson said, while about 16.4 million unrepaired inflators continue to be in operation in the U.S. as of March 30.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. forecast selling 7.55 million cars in total in 2018 after the two South Korean automakers posted sales of 427,408 vehicles across four key developing countries — Brazil, Russia, India and Mexico — from January through April-end, up 15.1% year over year from 371,213 units they sold a year earlier, the Yonhap News Agency reported. Sales in the four countries made up 18.4% of Hyundai's and Kia's overall global sales amid weak demand in the U.S. and China, Yonhap reported.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.35% to 31,541.08. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.47% to 22,865.86.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.20% to 7,709.21 and the Euronext 100 was down 0.13% to 1,069.30.

On the macro front

No notable reports due out today.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 8 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.