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Daimler recalls 744,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles; UK new car sales hit 6-year low

TOP NEWS

* Daimler AG will recall 744,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the U.S. with 2001-2011 model years due to concerns over faulty sunroofs, Reuters reported, citing a company statement.

* New car registrations in the U.K. dropped 2.4% in 2019 to 2.3 million vehicles, marking a third consecutive year of decline and a six-year low, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The association cited weak business and consumer confidence, general political and economic instability, and confusion over clean air zones as reasons for the decline. Registrations of diesel vehicles fell 21.8% during the year, while registrations of electric-battery cars grew 144%.

CARMAKERS

* Daimler is in talks with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.-owned Volvo Cars to collaborate on developing combustion engines in a bid to cut costs, Reuters reported, citing German magazine Automobilwoche. The new division is reportedly expected to become operational by the end of March.

* Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has joined Israeli startup Otonomo Technologies Ltd.'s car data marketplace that offers connected-car services, Reuters reported, citing company statements. Mitsubishi will reportedly introduce the initiative in the U.S. and Europe in 2020, followed by a rollout in Japan.

* Beijing Automotive Group Co. Ltd. expects 2020 vehicle sales to remain flattish at about 2.35 million units due to a slowdown in the Chinese automotive market and severe competition, Bloomberg News reported, citing BAIC General Manager Zhang Xiyong. "The Chinese auto market has been sliding and competition is getting more and more brutal," Xiyong said. Xiyong reportedly added that revenue for the year is expected to come in at 520 billion yuan.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said its Ariya Concept electric crossover will make its North American debut at CES 2020. The new crossover features an advanced driver assistance system, a twin-motor all-wheel-control system and a smart route planner.

* German auto-parts manufacturer Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG. partnered with ABT Holding Co. unit ABT e-Line GmbH to electrify light commercial vehicles, beginning with Volkswagen AG models.

* Shares linked to Tesla Inc. or lithium batteries were the highest gainers on the CSI 300 Index in Shanghai on Jan. 6, Bloomberg News reported. Stocks of Tesla suppliers, including solar-glass maker Changzhou Almaden Stock Co., appliances-parts maker Zhejiang Sanhua Intelligent Controls Co. and Ningbo Tuopu Group Co., reportedly rose to record highs.

POLICY, REGULATION AND SAFETY

* A maintenance worker was killed at an Italian light vehicles plant owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Peugeot SA's joint venture Sevel, Reuters reported, citing an FCA spokesman. FCA said it was working with authorities to investigate the cause of death, the report added.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will seek public comments on its plans to curb emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants from heavy-duty trucks, Reuters reported. The agency is expected to propose new limits in early 2020. Truck companies including Navistar International Corp., Cummins Inc. and Daimler Trucks North America LLC reportedly back the proposed revision to emissions rules.

* Japanese Justice Minister Masako Mori said Japan could, in principle, request that Lebanon extradite former Nissan Motors-Renault SA head Carlos Ghosn, Reuters reported. Japan has tightened its immigration measures since Ghosn fled the country in late December 2019.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Valeo SA expanded its last-mile food delivery partnership with Chinese logistics company Meituan Dianping by developing an autonomous electric droid prototype, Valeo eDeliver4U. The droid can deliver up to 17 meals per trip, the auto-parts supplier said.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Tesla Inc.'s shares closed Jan. 3 up 3% after the company said it delivered a record 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2019. The figure beat analysts' estimate of 106,000 vehicles, according to Wedbush Securities.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's U.S. division sold 542,519 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down 2% year over year. Sales for full year 2019 were 2.2 million, down 1% from 2018.

* Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 6.1% drop in U.S. sales for December 2019 to 207,373 vehicles, compared with 220,910 in December 2018.

* General Motors Co.'s fourth-quarter sales fell 6.3% year over year to 735,909 vehicles. Sales for the full year decreased 2.3% to 2.9 million units.

* Kia Motors Corp.'s U.S. sales rose 8% year over year to 51,229 units in December 2019. For the full year, sales increased 4.4% to 615,338 units.

* Chinese electric-car maker NIO Ltd. delivered 3,170 vehicles in December 2019, a 25.4% month-over-month increase. Cumulative deliveries of the company's flagship ES6 and ES8 SUVs reached 31,913 during the month.

* Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reported a 10.3% year-over-year increase in U.S. sales to 9,915 vehicles for December 2019. Full-year sales rose 2.5% to 121,046 units.

* Jaguar Land Rover said it sold 13,801 vehicles in the U.S. in December 2019, slightly down year over year. The Tata Motors Ltd.-owned automaker reported a 3% increase in annual U.S. sales to 125,787 vehicles.

* Subaru Corp.'s U.S. sales fell 3.4% to 62,364 vehicles in December 2019. For the full year, U.S. sales grew 2.9% year over year to 700,117 units from 680,135 units, marking the company's 11th consecutive year of sales growth.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

* Ford Motor Co. received the first two Digit robots produced by Agility Robotics as part of its partnership with the robotics company to explore last-mile doorstep delivery. Ford will test the two-legged robots by connecting them with its commercial vehicles for a package delivery service.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng lost 0.79% to 28,226.19, while the Nikkei 225 was down 1.91% to 23,204.86.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.94% to 7,550.50, and the Euronext 100 fell 1.13% to 1,144.27.

On the macro front

The PMI Services Index and TD Ameritrade IMX 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.