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BMW, Daimler mobility JV exits North America; Mercedes-Benz settles recall probe

TOP NEWS

* Share Now, the car-sharing joint venture between German carmakers Daimler AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, will exit North America and end operations in London, Brussels and Florence, effective Feb. 29, 2020. The business attributed the move to the volatility of the global mobility landscape and rising infrastructure complexities surrounding transportation in North America.

* Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz U.S. will pay $20 million to settle the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation into the automaker's vehicle recall practices, the NHTSA said. In 2018, the NHTSA started its investigation into the Daimler-owned company's timeliness and adequacy in notifying and reporting vehicle safety defects to its owners.

CARMAKERS

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chairman John Elkann said CEO Mike Manley will remain at the merged company alongside Peugeot SA CEO Carlos Tavares but did not specify Manley's role. Separately, Manley reminded employees to stay focused on the "aggressive goals and high expectations" it set for 2020 independently to planned merger with PSA, Reuters reported, citing an email to employees.

* Fiat Chrysler will use Peugeot's production platforms for its compact and midsize vehicles and retain its own production platforms for its pickups and larger models, Automotive News reported, citing industry sources. Peugeot's production architecture can accommodate gasoline, diesel or electric drivetrains, the report said.

* Jaguar Land Rover said it acquired all-terrain vehicle-maker Bowler for an undisclosed amount. The Tata Motors Ltd.-owned carmaker said the acquisition will boost its special vehicle operations portfolio.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Tesla Inc. shares closed at a record high $393.15 on Dec. 18, up 3.7%. The electric-car maker's stock price has grown 54% since the announcement of a profitable third quarter Oct. 23, giving it a market cap of $70.83 billion, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

* Chinese carmaker BAIC Motor Corp. Ltd.'s new-energy vehicle arm, BJEV, will invest 313.06 million yuan for a 51% stake in BAIC Zhenjiang, the carmaker's electric vehicle venture with Magna International Inc., Gasgoo reported, citing an announcement from BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co. Ltd. Magna Ireland will take a 49% stake in the venture, which will be renamed BAIC BluePark Magna Automobile Co. Ltd.

* Electrify America said it is partnering with Bank of America to install 140 electric-vehicle chargers at financial centers across the U.S. About 40 charging stations will be usable by 2020-end.

* India's Tata Motors Ltd. unveiled the NexonEV, its first electric SUV designed for the domestic market.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to pay $4.4 million to compensate customers or drivers that "experienced sexual harassment and/or related retaliation after January 1, 2014," the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, said. The commission said Uber "permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment." Uber will update its policies that handle sexual harassment complains and agreed to be monitored for three years by former EEOC Commissioner Fred Alvarez. Uber reported 3,045 incidents of sexual assault in its U.S. trips in 2018.

POLICY, REGULATION AND SAFETY

* Automakers would pay nearly $3 billion in tariffs over the next decade under President Donald Trump's new North American trade deal, according to an estimate released by the Congressional Budget Office. The office said the U.S. is expected to see a $2.97 billion jump in customs revenue through 2029 under the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

AUTO PARTS AND COMPONENTS

* The world's largest electric-vehicle battery-makers saw a sharp decline in sales in October as demand weakened in China and the U.S., Bloomberg News reported, citing SNE Research. China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. saw sales fall 17%, BYD Co. Ltd. sales dropped 66% and Japan's Panasonic Corp. sales fell 38% in the month. SNE added that "demand in the U.S. and China are expected to remain weak for the time being."

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

* Daimler will acquire the remaining 80% of its REV Coach LLC venture from its partner, REV Group Inc., for an undisclosed amount. The deal for the venture, which distributes Setra-brand motor coaches in North America, is expected to close by the first quarter of Rev Group's fiscal 2020.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng decreased by 0.30% to 27,800.49, while the Nikkei 225 was down 0.29% to 23,864.85.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased by 0.21% to 7,558.69, and the Euronext 100 increased by 0.01% to 1,140.42.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey report, the current account report, the existing homes sales report, the leading indicators report, EIA natural gas report, the Fed balance sheet and the money supply 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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