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Renault shares plunge 15% on lowered outlook; GM to invest $7.7B in US plants

TOP NEWS

* French automaker Renault SA lowered its full-year 2019 revenue outlook due to "an economic environment less favorable than expected" and costs to comply with regulations, causing its shares to nosedive nearly 15% during Oct. 18 morning trading in Paris. Renault expects revenue to fall between 3% and 4% versus 2018, from close to 2018 levels it projected in July. The company also expects its group operating margin to be about 5%, down from a prior expectation of about 6%. Renault said its third-quarter revenue fell 1.6% year over year to €11.3 billion from €11.5 billion.

* General Motors Co. agreed to invest $7.7 billion across different plants in the U.S. to create and save 9,000 jobs as part of its deal with the United Auto Workers, The Detroit News reported, citing pages of the contract. The carmaker will invest $5.7 billion across five plants, with $3 billion slated to build electric trucks and vans at Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which GM unallocated nearly a year ago along with plants in Warren and Lordstown, Ohio, and Baltimore. The more than monthlong strike will continue until the deal is ratified, following which workers will receive a pay raise and a deal ratification bonus of $11,000.

CARMAKERS

* Toyota Motor Corp.'s Korean arm began offering discounts for gasoline models along with low-interest loans and gasoline gift certificates worth up to 2.5 million won in a bid to boost its sales in the country, The Nikkei Asian Review reported, citing a spokesperson. Toyota and other Japanese carmakers have been reporting record drops in sales as Tokyo-Seoul relations continue to deteriorate.

* Subaru Corp. will suspend production at its Gunma plant in Japan for about a week after Typhoon Hagibis flooded operations at some of its suppliers, The Japan Times reported. The shutdown began in the afternoon of Oct. 16.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s incoming CEO Makoto Uchida told reporters that the carmaker is on the path to recovery, but it might be "a gradual process." Uchida said his mission is to "restore business performance and regain trust in Nissan," Reuters reported.

ELECTRIC AND AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

* Tesla Inc. increased the price of its most affordable Model 3 Standard Range Plus by $500 after several upgrades, including an additional 10 miles of range. The electric-car maker's highest-selling vehicle will now retail for $39,490 and have a 250-mile range.

* Telematics company TomTom NV said it will add data from electric-vehicle charging platform ChargeHub to its in-vehicle maps. The partnership will bring up the number of charging stations integrated in TomTom's maps to over 300,000, the release said.

* Truck-maker AB Volvo (publ) said it formed a new business area to develop and commercialize self-driving transportation solutions. Volvo Autonomous Solutions will focus on services for customers in mining, ports and transport between logistics centers.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* U.K.-based telecom group Vodafone signed a deal with California drone specialist EHang Inc. to develop air taxis and an air traffic control system for drones in Germany, the Financial Times (London) reported, citing EHang founder Hu Huazhi.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will hold a hearing Nov. 19 in a bid to find the cause of the March 2018 crash where a self-driving car from Uber Technologies Inc. killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz., marking the first death attributed to an autonomous vehicle, Reuters reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve said the UAW strike against General Motors caused national factory output to drop 0.5% year over year in September, The Detroit News reported. The strike, which began Sept. 16, caused auto production to fall 4.2% year over year during the month.

* Toyota Motor Corp. is conducting the final phase of its recall of vehicles installed with defective Takata Corp. airbag inflators in the U.S. ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's planned schedule. The Japanese carmaker said replacements for the faulty inflators are now available for certain vehicle models including Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Scion xB, Sequoia, Sienna, 4Runner, RAV4, Tundra, Yaris and various Lexus variants.

AUTO PARTS AND EQUIPMENT

* German auto-parts maker Continental AG on Oct. 17 opened a tire plant in Mississippi. The plant, near the city of Clinton, will create 2,500 jobs when it reaches full capacity.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Volkswagen's brands sold 904,200 vehicles worldwide in September, up 9.2% year over year due to an extraordinary decline of in September 2018 sales when new European emissions regulations called WLTP were introduced. Europe deliveries surged 31% year over year to 336,300 vehicles. Sales in North America dropped 9.9% to 73,700 vehicles, while Asia sales dipped 0.8% year over year to 412,400 vehicles delivered.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

* Volvo Group said orders plunged 45% year over year in the third quarter, Reuters reported. Volvo expects the heavy truck market to drop 14% in Europe and 29% in North America in 2020, CEO Martin Lundstedt said.

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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 was down 0.48% to 26,719.58, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.18% to 22,492.68.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.02% to 7,184.10, while the Euronext 100 was down 0.24% to 1,093.13.

On the macro front

The leading indicators report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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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