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FCA nears deal to sell Marelli to KKR; Major Tesla investor buys stake in NIO

TOP NEWS

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV could reach a deal as soon as October with Japanese parts-maker Calsonic Kansei Corp., owned by private equity firm KKR & Co., to sell off the Detroit carmaker's Magneti Marelli parts unit, Bloomberg News reported, according to people with knowledge of the talks. The purchase, which might involve divesting certain smaller businesses of Marelli, reportedly could be worth upward of €5.5 billion and comes a few weeks after FCA was reported to have ended talks with KKR as its €5 billion offer was deemed too low. Representatives for FCA and KKR refused to comment to the news outlet.

* Scottish institutional investor Baillie Gifford & Co., Tesla Inc.'s largest outside owner with a 7.72% stake in the U.S. electric-car maker, disclosed that it had built an 11.4% stake in Chinese electric-vehicle maker and Tesla competitor NIO Inc. Following the filing, NIO's recently floated stock jumped 22.35% to close at $7.39 on Oct. 9, valuing Baillie Gifford's investment at about $630.4 million.

CARMAKERS

* General Motors Co. will soon start using wind instead of fuel to power its manufacturing facilities, the Detroit Free Press reported, citing General Motors Renewable Energy Global Manager Rob Threlkeld. The automaker has teamed up with Michigan-based renewable power firm CMS Enterprises Co. to provide electricity from the wind farms that CMS owns in Ohio, Illinois and Texas, the report said.

* Peugeot SA's Opel unit said it will launch in 2019 an all-electric variant of its flagship Corsa model, an upgraded Vivaro light commercial vehicle, and additional editions and equipment versions of the carmaker's Combo model as part of Opel's strategy to focus on high volume and high growth segments. The next version of the Mokka X SUV is expected to launch in 2020, by which time Opel will have rolled out eight new or upgraded models. Further, the ADAM, KARL and Cascada models will be discontinued although they will remain on sale until the end of 2019.

* Abraham Schot, interim CEO of Volkswagen AG's premium car unit Audi AG, is "ready as an Audi boss" for the "long term," although it is "up to the [VW] board to decide that," German business magazine Manager Magazin reported. Schot, who was named to the position following the arrest of former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, reportedly does not have direct contact with the incarcerated Stadler.

* Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s China unit recorded a 6% year-over-year drop in September sales of 132,755 vehicles, compared with 141,281 units a year earlier, Gasgoo reported, citing a Honda China release. Another Chinese automaker, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd, followed suit, posting a year-over-year sales decline of 32.4% with a total of 177,284 vehicles delivered in the month, from 262,070 units sold in September 2017.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Honda Motor Co. Ltd. plans to invest 92 billion Indian rupees to set up a third plant in the country, in Gujarat, over the next decade, The Economic Times (India) reported, quoting Gaku Nakanishi, president and CEO of the Japanese carmaker's India unit. The strategy will help Honda bring out new hybrid and electric vehicle models as well as other models and upgrades, Nakanishi reportedly said.

* Ford Motor Co. has started producing the Work XL electric delivery van at its European base in Cologne, Germany, amid the clampdown on diesel emissions in the country, according to a release. The Work XL is equipped with a battery-electric drivetrain and a body designed specifically for StreetScooter GmbH, a subsidiary of logistics company Deutsche Post AG. Ford expects to produce about 3,500 units annually.

* Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit will rent out some of its GLC F-Cell fuel-cell vehicles to fleet operators, at €799 per month, to monitor real-world applications of the hydrogen-powered fuel technology, Bloomberg News reported. "Fuel cells will see a breakthrough — whether that's going to be in cars, vans or buses remains to be seen," Juergen Schenk, the head of Mercedes-Benz electric-drive system integration, reportedly said. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz said its third generation plug-in hybrid model, the S 560 e, is available to order from Oct. 10, starting at €96,065.

* Hyundai Motor Co.'s robotics arm Hyundai CRADLE invested an undisclosed sum in Massachusetts-based artificial intelligence startup Perceptive Automata, whose predictive analysis software enables automated vehicles to make rapid judgments about the intentions and awareness of pedestrians.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced the Fairness for Every Driver Act to end federal electric-vehicle tax credits and impose a fee on electric-vehicle drivers, according to a press release. The act would kill the tax credit of up to $7,500 that drivers can receive if they buy an electric vehicle in the U.S. "The electric-vehicle tax credit largely benefits the wealthiest Americans and costs taxpayers billions of dollars," Barrasso said in the release.

* The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, is inviting public comments, no later than Nov. 26, on a pilot to test certain self-driving cars in real-world scenarios that is expected to help "foster the safe development and implementation of ADS [automated driving systems] vehicle technologies" on roadways. As part of the pilot, the NHTSA is evaluating if it should obtain more information of near misses and other such incidents within 24 hours of their occurrence.

* The NHTSA said there is no "safest" vehicle among those achieving 5-star ratings on its three-crash vehicle tests after Tesla Inc. claimed its Model 3 sedan to feature "the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested" by NHTSA. The agency said it "does not distinguish" safety performance of cars beyond its 5-star rating.

* European national governments passed 20-4 a proposal to cut CO2 emissions by 35% from cars and vans by 2030 following over 13 hours of deliberations, Reuters reported. Talks with the European Parliament and the European Commission on the final version of the rules will begin Oct. 10, Reuters reported.

* U.K.'s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, or SMMT, launched a Brexit Readiness Program to help small and medium-sized British automotive companies in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Reuters reported. The trade body reportedly said the plan, which includes offering advisory services to firms on trade and tax regulations outside the EU, is a "contingency planning minefield." "With the clock ticking on negotiations, businesses must plan for all eventualities, including the worst," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes reportedly said.

* Israel plans to "reduce taxation on electric cars to almost zero" as the country mulls a total ban on new gasoline or diesel-powered cars after 2030, Reuters reported, quoting the country's Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. The primary challenge for the plans, which would be approved by the end of 2018, will reportedly be to create a "critical mass" of EVs that the government hopes to hit around 2025, with an estimated 177,000 such vehicles on Israel's roads.

* Tesla Inc. settled a dispute with the state of Nevada relating to over $655,000 in unemployment tax bills, as a spokesman for the electric-car maker said the discrepancy arose due to a clerical error, Bloomberg News reported. The company paid up its dues and Rosa Mendez, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, reportedly confirmed that the matter stands resolved.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* Canada's Linamar Corp. is in talks with automakers, including General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Ford Motor Co., to secure new contracts on the back of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which mandates 75% of a car's parts to come from North America, Bloomberg News reported, quoting the parts maker's CEO Linda Hasenfratz. The USMCA "is a very interesting opportunity" for the company especially as "none of the manufacturers have so far talked about how far off from 75% they are," Hasenfratz said. Any deal, however, would not materialize before about two years due to the lengthy lead time for auto components, the CEO reportedly said.

* California-based electric vehicle charging company ChargePoint Inc. formed a roaming agreement, effective January 2019, with Dutch peer EVBox that will allow EV drivers to use both of their charging networks across Europe and North America without registering multiple accounts or incurring extra fees.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.08% to 26,193.07, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.16% to 23,506.04.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.01% to 7,238.30, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.56% to 1,025.23.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications report, the Producer Price Index-Final Demand report, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report and the Wholesale trade report 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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