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JLR to suspend Solihull works; Daimler, Geely in China ride-hailing JV talks

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JLR to suspend Solihull works; Daimler, Geely in China ride-hailing JV talks

TOP NEWS

* Tata Motors Ltd.'s Jaguar Land Rover Ltd. manufacturing plant in Solihull, England, will shut down for two weeks later this month after the company's sales took a major tumble in China and slipped in other markets. The announcement came the same day the company reported 12.3% year-over-year decline in September global sales to 57,114 units, comprising an 18.8% decrease in Land Rover sales partially offset by a 4.4% increase in sales of Jaguar cars over the period. "As part of the company's continued strategy for profitable growth, Jaguar Land Rover is focused on achieving operational efficiencies and will align supply to reflect fluctuating demand globally as required," a statement emailed to S&P Global Market Intelligence said. "The decision to introduce a two week shutdown period later this month at Solihull is one example of actions we are taking to achieve this. Customer orders in the system will not be impacted and employees affected will be paid for the duration of the shutdown," it said.

* Daimler AG is said to be working with Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. on a ride-hailing and car-sharing joint venture in China, Bloomberg News reported, according to people familiar with the matter. The 50-50 JV, which could utilize Denza electric vehicles made by the German carmaker's Chinese JV with BYD Co. Ltd., would compete with ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. in the country. Daimler and Geely spokesmen declined to comment to Bloomberg.

CARMAKERS

* Toyota Motor Corp. workers downed tools Oct. 8 at the company's Durban, South Africa-based assembly plant and another warehouse in Johannesburg on account of a strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Reuters reported, quoting Toyota South Africa spokesman Clynton Yon. The union is demonstrating over issues including staff recruitment, bonuses and transport allowances and reportedly said it will expand the strike to "affect all Toyota plants nationally."

* Volkswagen AG is placing an unspecified number of workers at the German automaker's Taubaté factory in Brazil on a 20-day furlough, the second such occurrence in recent months, due to decreased exports to neighboring Argentina, the largest export market for cars made in Brazil, Reuters reported, citing a VW release. The site employs some 3,500 workers, and the union representing the VW workers reportedly confirmed the move without giving further details.

* Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. recorded September sales of 124,429 units, up about 14% year over year, helped by domestic demand in China for Geely's New Emgrand and Boyue models. The carmaker's total sales volume in the first nine months of 2018 rose 37% year over year to 1,136,858 units, achieving about 72% of Geely's 2018 sales volume target of 1,580,000 units.

* Volkswagen AG reported deliveries in September of 485,000 vehicles, down 18.3% year over year from 593,700 units a year earlier, due to an expected impact from the delay in implementation of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure emissions norms on VW cars. As a result of the WLTP-related delays, VW Group delivered 91,100 vehicles in Europe in the month, a drop of 42.6% year over year. The automaker expects to be "ready for the end-of-the-year sprint" from November, according to Jürgen Stackmann, VW board member for sales.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV started production of a plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Renegade model at its Melfi vehicle assembly plant in Italy. FCA will invest more than €200 million in the new engine. The model will be ready for market launch early 2020 and pre-production units are scheduled in 2019.

* Aeva, a startup founded by former Apple Inc. employees Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, is shipping some of its products, which include an integrated lidar-camera device that creates a 3D map of moving objects, to a few "automotive partners," tech magazine Wired reported, quoting Salehian. Salehian, whose firm's technology could be useful for self-driving cars, reportedly declined to name any specific carmaker.

* German auto-parts maker Bosch will pilot, beginning in December, an app-based, electric van-sharing service at five toom hardware stores, a unit of retail chain Rewe, in the cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Troisdorf and Freiburg. Bosch supplies powertrain parts for the electric vans, to be provided by StreetScooter GmbH, which will be used in the pilot. Based on its popularity, Bosch plans to expand the service with other partners like furniture stores, supermarkets or electronics stores.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* European national governments remain divided on CO2 emissions cap targets ahead of talks regarding the European Parliament's proposal for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2030, Reuters reported. Germany, which has said stricter regulations would hurt the automotive sector and related jobs, is reportedly backing a 30% cut by 2030, compared with 2021 levels, while France, the Netherlands and other EU members want to retain the 40% target proposed by the Parliament. Austria, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, is proposing a 35% reduction in the hope of reaching a consensus, following which further discussions on a final version of the regulation could start as early as Oct. 10, the wire agency reported.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Fabricated aluminum products manufacturer China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. said it signed a deal with Britain's Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of Tata Motors Ltd., to become the Jaguar's tier-one supplier. Under the agreement, China Zhongwang said it will supply extrusion products to Jaguar Land Rover. The company said the collaboration marks its first foray into the supply chain of automakers outside China.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Ford Motor Co. picked ad agency BBDO as the carmaker's new marketing partner, beginning Nov. 1, severing an over 70-year partnership with WPP, the Detroit Free Press reported. The company said it will create over 100 new in-house marketing positions involved in brand design, media tools and partnerships, and digital labs as part of the rejig that is expected to accrue $150 million in annual efficiencies. Ford, which also appointed Wieden + Kennedy as an innovation partner for specific projects, added that WPP will remain a "key part" of Ford's multi-agency team.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* Volkswagen AG is close to hiring Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to work on the potential listing of the company's heavy-truck division, Traton Group, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources.

* Italian two-wheeler company Piaggio & C. SpA began online sales of an electric variant of its iconic Vespa scooter called Vespa Elettrica. The Vespa Elettrica, priced at €6,390 with a range of 100 kilometers, will be available at Piaggio dealerships across Europe in November followed by launches in the U.S. and Asia at the start of 2019.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.11% to 26,172.91, and the Nikkei 225 declined 1.32% to 23,469.39.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.32% to 7,209.38, and the Euronext 100 was down 0.39% to 1,024.09.

On the macro front

The Redbook report is 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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