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Continental shifts strategy as Q2 profits drop; Tesla may raise price in China

TOP NEWS

* Continental AG reported second-quarter earnings that missed analysts' expectations and announced a major strategy shift that will see the German automotive-components maker cut investment in combustion engine parts and shun solid-state battery production. Basic and diluted earnings per share for the April 1 to June 30 period slumped to €2.42, down 41% from €4.11 in the same quarter of 2018 and lower than the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus mean estimate for GAAP EPS €2.61.

* Tesla Inc. is considering raising prices of its vehicles in China from September after China allowed the yuan to weaken past the 7-per-dollar level Aug. 5 for the first time in more than a decade, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. Tesla imports all the cars it sells in China but is building a gigafactory to manufacture the Model 3 in China, which will help it minimize the impact of the trade war and tariffs.

CARMAKERS

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Mike Manley said the carmaker will not have to pay any fines for Europe's new CO2 regulations in 2019 and 2020, Automotive News reported. The Italian-American carmaker will be compliant due to a purchase of about €1.8 billion in electric vehicle credits from Tesla and roll out of three plug-in hybrid versions of Jeep models and an all-electric Fiat 500.

* Workhorse Group, the electric-truck maker that reportedly plans to take over General Motors Co.'s shuttered plant in Lordstown, Ohio, reported its second-quarter sales at $6,000, or about $70 per day, Bloomberg News reported. The truckmaker saw its shares plummet 35% to as low as $2.66 each, the report added.

* Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz brand said German customers could receive €3,000 in subsidies to upgrade exhaust filters on their diesel vehicles in a bid to avoid new driving bans on old diesel vehicles in inner-city areas, Reuters reported.

* Volkswagen AG said nearly all of its 2020 models will include its telematics system Car-Net, in-vehicle Wi-Fi, software for front assist and blind-spot monitoring, and a rear traffic alert system. The carmaker's Jetta, Jetta GLI and Tiguan electric vehicles will also be equipped with wireless charging.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* BYD Co. Ltd. said it sold 16,567 new energy vehicles in July, 12% lower than the same period last year and 38% below June. The Shenzhen-based company saw battery electric vehicles sales grow 16% year over year to 9,515 vehicles, while plug-in electric vehicle sales fell 35% to 6,495.

* The U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration sent Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk a cease-and-desist letter in 2018 after the electric-car maker allegedly made false claims that the Model 3 had the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle tested by the regulator, Bloomberg News reported, citing documents posted by legal transparency group Plainsite. The watchdog subpoenaed the carmaker for information on several crashes and then referred the matter to the FTC, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will expand its six-year partnership with EVgo Services LLC by installing 200 direct current fast chargers across the U.S. The new fast chargers are capable of transferring 100 kilowatts of power.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. contributed significantly to vehicle activity in six major cities during September 2018, according to a study commissioned by the ride-hailing rivals. Uber and Lyft vehicle activity were highest in San Francisco County, according to the study, contributing about 12% to 14% of vehicle miles traveled. The rest of the activity was from other passenger and freight vehicles, the study said.

* Japanese tech giant Softbank, which invested billions into companies including Uber, Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd., GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and India's Ola Cabs, is looking to strengthen its grip on Indian mobility sector beyond the ride-hailing services, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing sources. Softbank is reportedly in talks with India's Bounce, Vogo and Drivezy, though no offers have been made yet.

* Indian car-rental platform Drivezy will expand into 10 cities in the U.S. in the next 12 months, Press Trust of India reported, citing CEO Ashwarya Singh. Drivezy plans to roll out a 1,000-car fleet into U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle by 2020 as part of its plan for international sales to comprise 20% of its revenue.

* U.S.-based transit provider Via, which allows its app users to access ride-sharing services and public transportation networks, will expand its services across Chicago and provide first-and-last-mile rides to all CTA and Metra stations for a fixed rate of $2.50.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* About 350,000 workers in India's automotive industry have been laid off since April amid declining sales and production cuts, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Of the figure, motorcycle and automobile manufacturers reportedly laid off about 15,000 workers while component-makers dismissed 100,000 staff. The rest of the job cuts were at dealers, Reuters said, adding that many have closed.

* India's new BS-VI emission norms are expected to worsen the country's already-declining sales in 2021, IANS news agency reported, citing statements from analysts and industry insiders.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Adient PLC posted a 74% year over year drop in net income to $36 million the fiscal third quarter ended June 30 but shares of the auto seating company surged 32% as the profits were better than market expectations. Adjusted diluted EPS came in at 38 cents, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence normalized EPS estimate of 34 cents. The company recorded a one-time restructuring cost of $334 million.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Automobile imports in China surged 17.2% year over year to about 530,000 vehicles in the first six months of 2019, Gasgoo reported, citing data from the China Automobile Dealers Association.

* Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand sold 188,857 vehicles globally in July, up 12.7% year over year on strong double-digit growth in Europe, China and the U.S.

* China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. saw July sales tumble 24% year over year to 91,375 automobiles.

* Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand sold 360,045 vehicles worldwide in the first half of 2019, up 10% year over year on increased demand in China and for its ES sedan and UX crossover.

* Anfavea, Brazil's national automaker association, said sales in July grew 12% year over year to 243,600 vehicles, Reuters reported. Production for the month climbed 8.4% to 266,400 automobiles.

MOTORCYCLES

* Motorcycle-maker Benelli Q.J. Srl canceled plans to set up a plant in India after the country proposed a ban on all two-wheelers with combustion engines up to 150cc by 2025, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing a statement by Vikas Jhabakh, Benelli India's managing director.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

* Daimler received an order for 48 of its electric eCitaro buses from German public transport provider ÜSTRA.

* Self-driving freight startup Kodiak Robotics Inc. said it began first commercial deliveries with its self-driving trucks. The artificial intelligence company also said it will continue to test its trucks in a new plant in north Texas.

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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 rose 0.08% to 25,997.03, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.33% to 20,516.56.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.91% to 7,236.71, and the Euronext 100 gained 1.40% to 1,037.19.

On the macro front

The EIA petroleum status report and the consumer credit consensus 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.

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.