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BMW may replace CEO; Ford needs to cut 23,000 more jobs, says Morgan Stanley

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BMW may replace CEO; Ford needs to cut 23,000 more jobs, says Morgan Stanley

TOP NEWS

* Bayerische Motoren Werke AG CEO Harald Krueger could be replaced by production head Oliver Zipse or another executive after his first term as CEO ends in May 2020, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Several members of the supervisory board are questioning whether he is the right choice to lead the company amid growing concerns that he is not aggressive enough in steering the carmaker's shift toward electric and autonomous vehicles, the people reportedly said. A decision on extending Krueger's tenure as CEO is due in July. A BMW spokesman declined to comment on CEO succession plans.

* Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas said Ford Motor Co. may need to issue another batch of layoffs as it needs 23,000 more job cuts to hit its target of $25.5 billion in cuts by 2022, Bloomberg News reported. Ford expects its global revenue to drop 5% and said it would cut 7,000 salaried jobs worldwide to save $600 million a year. Jonas said the carmaker's successful F-Series pickup helped "cover industry blemishes" after reporting 2018 pretax profit at $10 billion and could aid restructuring.

CARMAKERS

* As planned, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche stepped down after the carmaker's annual meeting, handing over the company's reins to Ola Kallenius. Speaking at the meeting, the outgoing executive said Daimler would examine all expenses in a bid to improve profitability. "Everything is under scrutiny: fixed and variable costs, material and personnel costs, investment projects, vertical integration and the product range," Zetsche said. The carmaker's board also proposed an annual dividend of €3.25 per share and confirmed its sales forecast for 2019 at 3.4 million vehicles sold by year-end.

* China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. will pause its plan to enter the U.S. as trade tensions between the two markets continue to worsen, Bloomberg News reported, citing a spokesman who said the plan is being reevaluated.

* S&P Global Ratings said Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s plan to reduce its fiscal 2019 dividend by 30% will make it more difficult for Renault SA to restore credit metrics corresponding to its current BBB rating over the next 18 months. Nissan expects to pay ¥40 per share in dividends for fiscal 2019, down from a fiscal 2018 dividend of ¥57 per share. Renault holds a 43.4% stake in the Japanese automaker. The rating agency's adjusted EBITDA and free operating cash flow measures for Renault include dividends paid out by Nissan.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Daimler's long-term issuer default rating, or IDR, at A- and upgraded the German carmaker's short-term IDR to F1 from F2, citing the company's strong business profile and robust credit metrics.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Toyota Motor Corp. could offer a self-driving system co-developed with Uber Technologies Inc. to Asian ride-hailing services, including Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and India-based ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.'s Ola, The Japan Times reported, citing sources close to the matter. The Japanese carmaker could also offer the system to China's Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. if U.S.-China trade relations improve, according to the report. Toyota runs a mobility service joint venture with Softbank called Monet. In April 2019, Toyota, General Motors Co. and Ford said they will join forces to help shape industrywide safety standards for level 4 and level 5 self-driving vehicles.

* Tesla Inc. stock continued to fall May 21 even as the electric-car maker lowered the base price of the carmaker's Model S sedan and Model X SUV. Tesla reduced May 20 the price of the high-margin Model S by $3,000 and of the Model X by 2,000, bringing the base price of the Model S at $71,250 and the Model X at $71,950, The Associated Press reported. Tesla's shares closed down 0.14% to $205.08 on May 21, falling 6 days in a row and rising only once since May 6.

* Nissan's Thailand arm said it signed Delta Electronics as its exclusive supplier for electric-vehicle chargers in the country, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The Japanese carmaker will start delivering its fully electric Leaf vehicle to customers in Thailand in May, with buyers willing to pay 1.99 million Thai baht to receive a free portable charger.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* Renault will team up with Vulog, a mobility tech startup, to equip its ZOE vehicles with car-sharing capabilities. Vulog, which develops technologies for car-sharing, ride-hailing and self-driving, said more than 2,500 Renault ZOEs will be released with its tech by 2019-end.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, Debbie Stabenow and Sherrod Brown urged Volkswagen AG "to immediately drop any efforts to oppose or postpone" a unionization vote affecting about 1,700 workers in its plant located in Chattanooga, Tenn., Reuters reported. On May 6, the National Labor Relations Board accepted Volkswagen's request to delay a vote by Volkswagen workers on unionization after the carmaker argued that a separate legal dispute over the UAW's earlier attempt to organize a smaller group of workers must be resolved first.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* Volkswagen's truck brand Scania said it will invest 1.4 billion Brazilian reais to modernize a local plant in São Bernardo do Campo, Reuters reported. The VW brand's investment comes as Ford's truck business plans to exit from South America.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng gained 0.18% to 27,705.94, while the Nikkei 225 ticked 0.05% higher to 21,283.37.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.43% to 7,359.80, and the Euronext 100 increased 0.10% to 1,050.06.

On the macro front

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report and the Federal Open Market Committee minutes 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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