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Ghosn's release appeal rejected; Fiat Chrysler nears diesel emissions settlement

TOP NEWS

* The Tokyo District Court rejected Carlos Ghosn's appeal against his prolonged detention, Japan Times reported, citing a court statement. The ousted Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. chairman's team will appeal for Ghosn's release at a higher court, according to the report. Separately, sources said Ghosn had planned to extend a ¥3 billion loan to a Saudi businessman through Nissan but abandoned the plan due to potential legal problems.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is nearing a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over claims that the carmaker manipulated diesel emission tests of about 104,000 vehicles, Reuters reported Jan. 9, citing a person briefed on the matter. The source told the news outlet that the settlement, which reportedly could be disclosed as early as this week, could include "substantial" civil fines and would likely require the company to offset excess diesel emissions. The company's stock was up nearly 4% during intraday trading at Milan Stock Exchange.

CARMAKERS

* Workers at General Motors Co.'s Oshawa assembly plant held protests, stopping production as the carmaker decided to go ahead with its decision to shut down the Ontario plant, Reuters reported. Despite appeals from local legislators and Canada's auto union, the carmaker said in a letter that it cannot pursue the union's suggestions as they involve "substantial incremental costs and a further deterioration of GM's competitive position."

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles appointed Carl Smiley to the new position of chief purchasing and supply chain officer. The carmaker also appointed Smiley to its group executive council, expanding the purview of the company's highest operational body over the supply chain management. The company added that Scott Thiele will serve as its head of supply chain in North America, in addition to his current role as head of purchasing in the region.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Volkswagen AG will establish a new renewable energy and charging services company for the group brands as well as customers outside the group to meet the industry's growing reliance on electric energy as electric car adoption increases. The new unit, called Elli Group GmbH, will be headquartered in Berlin with Thorsten Nicklass as CEO. Nicklass is the former CEO of Digital Energy Solutions, a joint venture between Volkswagen's German peer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and industrial materials manufacturer Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG.

* Self-driving startup Aurora expects to receive at least $500 million from Sequoia Capital in its next funding round, which would value it at over $2 billion, Recode reported, citing sources. The startup, founded by executives from Google, Tesla Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., creates self-driving software and reference architecture and has no plans to build autonomous cars. Aurora and Sequoia declined to comment.

* Walmart Inc. is working with autonomous vehicle startup Udelv to test the delivery of groceries in Surprise, Ariz., through self-driving cargo vans. Burlingame, Calif.-based Udelv offers last-mile delivery through autonomous cargo vans that have compartments connected to mobile apps for easy and secure access.

* Chinese on-demand food delivery company Meituan Dianping formed partnerships with French auto parts supplier Valeo SA, U.S. visual computing company Nvidia Corp. and automotive design company Icona to support its driverless delivery push. The Beijing-based company recently raised $4.2 billion in its Hong Kong IPO.

* E.ON SE and Danish electric mobility operator CLEVER A/S formed a joint venture to build and operate "ultra-fast" chargers for electric vehicles along freeways in Scandinavia. The joint venture plans to link cities in Denmark, Norway and Sweden through 48 charging sites slated to be operational by 2020. Of the total, 28 co-financed sites will be built in Denmark and Sweden, while 20 sites in Norway outside of the funding scope will also be deployed. The project is being implemented under the European Commission's Connecting Europe Facility program.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* New Jersey's gaming regulator banned Tesla from doing any business with its casinos for the next five years and terminated its existing arrangements, NJBiz reported, citing a letter from the Division of Gaming Enforcement, or DGE. The electric-car maker allegedly avoided completing vendor registration, DGE director David Rubeck reportedly said. Representatives from Tesla and the DGE did not return requests for comment, according to the report.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* ZF Friedrichshafen AG partnered with Microsoft to develop services for automated driving, vehicle motion control, integrated safety and electromobility. ZF will also use Microsoft's cloud platform Azure to provide fleet management solutions and predictive maintenance applications. Microsoft will also team up with LG Corp. to strengthen the South Korean conglomerate's autonomous and connected vehicle business.

* Toyota Motor Corp. teamed up with telecommunication companies AT&T Inc. and KDDI Corp. to enable 4G LTE connectivity for select new Toyota and Lexus cars and trucks. The feature will start with 2020 model year vehicles in the fall of 2019 across the U.S., the Japanese carmaker said. Cars will have Wi-Fi hotspots so car owners can stream, browse and share entertainment among multiple smartphones and tablets while on the road. The connected services will also allow users to start a car or its heat or air conditioning remotely.

* Panasonic Corp. unveiled its connected vehicle data platform Cirrus by Panasonic V2X solution at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019. The technology, known as vehicle to everything, or V2X, pertains to the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa. V2X is designed to improve safety and mobility on the road.

* Veoneer Inc. appointed Mats Backman as its CFO. Backman joins the Swedish advanced driver assistant and automated driving systems provider from Autoliv Inc., from which Veoneer was spun out in 2018.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Philippine regulators rejected PT Go-Jek Indonesia's offer to operate its ride-hailing service in the country due to foreign ownership laws, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The decision keeps Singaporean rival GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. as the dominant ride-hailing operator in the country. The Indonesian ride-hailing service attempted to enter the Philippines with its local affiliate Velox Technology Philippines, which may yet appeal the decision.

TRUCKS AND MOTORCYCLES

* In 2018, Daimler AG's passenger cars division sold a total of nearly 2.44 million cars, up 0.6% year over year, with Mercedes-Benz selling 2.31 million cars, up 0.9%. The company's sales growth was driven by China, which saw Mercedes-Benz sales grow 11.1% to 652,996 cars.

* Toyota Motor North America Inc. teamed up with PACCAR Inc.'s Kenworth Truck Co. to make zero-emission trucks. The companies will develop 10 zero-emission Kenworth T680 trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains made by the Toyota unit.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng increased 2.27% to 26,462.32, while the Nikkei 225 increased 1.10% to 20,427.06.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 1.02% to 6,931.58 and the Euronext 100 was up 1.05% to 939.02.

On the macro front

The MBA mortgage applications, EIA petroleum status report and 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.

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.