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Harley-Davidson Q3 profit falls 24%; Hyundai to become mobility group, says heir

TOP NEWS

* Motorcycle-maker Harley-Davidson Inc. saw third-quarter GAAP net income drop 24% year over year to $86.6 million, missing the S&P Global Market Intelligence estimate of $91.60 million, due to slowing demand in the U.S. Consolidated revenue was $1.27 billion versus $1.32 billion a year ago and retail sales dropped 1.2% year over year to 58,522 motorcycles.

* Hyundai Motor Group's heir-apparent Chung Euisun said he will transition the group, which owns Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., into a mobility group. Chung said cars will account for 50% of the group's portfolio, while private air vehicles will take 30% and the remainder will be for the robotics business, The Korea Times reported. Chung, who is executive vice chairman of the chaebol, said Hyundai's new focus is"not about manufacturing a nice car" but to "roll out innovative services and solutions together with the cars."

CARMAKERS

* Volkswagen AG production head Andreas Tostmann said the company is not looking for alternative locations after it halted plans to build a car factory in Turkey as it is still "watching developments," Reuters reported. The statement comes amid reports that the carmaker is in talks with Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania for the plant.

* Renault SA Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said he wants the carmaker's damaged alliance with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. "to take off in 2020," Reuters reported, citing Senard's comments to France Inter radio. The executive said its primary focus will be its industrial projects with Nissan and that reviving its failed merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is secondary, adding that reducing Renault's 43.4% stake in Nissan is not impossible, "(but) this is not what we're focused on."

* General Motors Co. strike entered the sixth week and will continue at least till Oct. 25 as workers review the proposed four-year contract for ratification, Automotive News reported. Despite the deal improving wages and pathways to permanent employment, the strike could continue beyond Oct. 25 if the union rejects the deal.

* Volkswagen-owned Spanish carmaker Seat resumed production after suspending five shifts due to protests in Barcelona, Automotive News reported, citing a VW group representative. The shutdown Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 resulted in a loss in the production of 3,500 vehicles.

* Peugeot SA said board and strategy committee member Helle Kristoffersen will resign to join Total. Kristoffersen was also a member of Peugeot's Asia business development committee.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the Swedish carmaker will reimburse all charging costs for its electric and hybrids vehicles for the first year of ownership, The Detroit News reported. The Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.-owned company said buyers of its 2021 model-year vehicles can log charging data through a smartphone app and submit the data for reimbursements. Volvo Cars recently unveiled the XC40 Recharge, the first car in its Recharge line.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. produced its first electric drive systems in its newly constructed Shanghai plant, Automotive News reported, citing a release. The 66,000-square-meter site, which is jointly owned and operated with local company Huayu Automotive Systems, produced the systems for Volkswagen's electric vehicles, the release said. The plant will produce gears, inverters and electric motors and start deliveries in the second half of 2020.

* Valeo SA said it expanded its tech center in Wuhan, China, to further develop technology and parts for autonomous and intelligent vehicles, Automotive News reported. The French auto parts and software company started operations at part of the center, which spans 3,000 square meters and will employ over 1,000 engineers to develop software and hardware for cameras, radar, lidar, smart cockpits and sensors.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the government will update its regulations to relax safety regulations on self-driving cars, The Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing a written interview. Chao said the Trump administration, which plans to foster technological developments and lower costs of autonomous vehicles, will insist on having only one national fuel economy standard and will continue its legal battle with a group of states led by California, which is trying to tighten emissions standards.

* Dongfeng Yueda KIA, a joint venture between China's Dongfeng, Kia Motors and Jiangsu Yueda Investment, is set to recall 69,324 vehicles in the Chinese market over safety concerns due to faulty engines, Xinhua News reported, citing China's State Administration for Market Regulation's statement.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Chinese automaker Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd. said it lost between 160 million yuan and 550 million yuan during the third quarter after its local ventures with Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. saw sales plunge, Automotive News reported, citing a filing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Changan's own-brand sales dropped 19% year over year to 580,000 vehicles during the quarter, Changan Ford sales plunged 58% to 129,000 vehicles and Changan Mazda saw a 25% drop to 96,000 vehicles.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

* Hyundai Motor is considering raising its ownership in Sichuan Hyundai Motor, its 50/50 Chinese joint venture with Sichuan Nanjun Automotive Group Co. Ltd. to build cargo trucks and buses, Reuters reported, citing an emailed statement. The South Korean carmaker reportedly plans to boost the joint venture's competitiveness amid the changing market conditions in China.

* Renault introduced its first hydrogen fuel-cell buses, which have triple the range of their fully electric variants and can be charged in five to 10 minutes. Renault KANGOO Z.E. Hydrogen will roll out in 2019 and Renault MASTER Z.E. Hydrogen in 2020. Renault's hydrogen technology was developed in partnership with Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin SCA-owned Symbio.

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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 gained 0.23% to 26,786.20.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lifted 0.37% to 7,189.91, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.11% to 1,091.46.

On the macro front

The Redbook Index for retail sales, the existing homes sales report and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index 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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