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Ghosn's detention extended to Jan. 11, 2019; Tesla adds 2 independent directors


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Ghosn's detention extended to Jan. 11, 2019; Tesla adds 2 independent directors

Editor's note: The Daily Dose will not be published Jan. 1, 2019, because of the New Year holiday. This feature will return Jan. 2, 2019.


* A Tokyo court extended the detention of former Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. chairman Carlos Ghosn until Jan. 11, 2019, as prosecutors brought fresh charges of financial misconduct against Ghosn, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. Meantime, a seven-member special committee formed by Nissan in the wake of Ghosn's dismissal will begin talks as early as mid-January 2019 and suggest measures to improve the carmaker's corporate governance, The Japan Times reported, citing informed sources. The panel reportedly also will evaluate if Nissan's alliance with Renault SA, which owns 43.4% of Nissan, has negative implications for Nissan's governance.

* Tesla Inc. appointed Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as independent directors, effective Dec. 27, satisfying one of the terms of the carmaker's settlement with the SEC over CEO Elon Musk's failed take-private move. Ellison is the founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of software company Oracle Corp. and purchased 3 million Tesla shares earlier in 2018, Tesla said. Wilson-Thompson serves as executive vice president and global chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.


* Ferrari NV said it will buy back €1.5 billion of its common stock by 2022. The sports-car maker aims to begin the multiyear share buyback program with the repurchase of €150 million worth of shares between Jan. 1, 2019, and June 27, 2019. The repurchased shares will be used to meet obligations from the company's equity incentive plan. The program will replace Ferrari's previous repurchase program.

* Chinese state-owned carmaker BAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. said Jiangxi Changhe Automobile Co. Ltd., which is 76.68% owned by BAIC Motor's parent, BAIC Group, agreed to buy certain assets of BAIC Motor and another of its unit, Zhuzhou Sales, for 531.7 million yuan. The assets include fixed assets, production equipment, projects under construction, development expenses, intangible assets and other assets held by a BAIC-affiliated unit and Zhuzhou Sales.

* The Seoul Metropolitan Police additionally charged a Bayerische Motoren Werke AG executive and other BMW officials as part of a criminal probe in South Korea over a series of fire incidents involving BMW cars in the country, KBS World Radio reported.


* Chinese car rental service UCAR INC. agreed to acquire a 67% stake in carmaker Beijing Borgward Automobile Co. Ltd. from Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd. for 4 billion yuan. Beijing Borgward Automobile reported sales of 5.1 billion yuan in 2017.

* Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he is looking forward to visiting China soon for the groundbreaking of the electric carmaker's Gigafactory in Shanghai.


* German auto companies opposed the transport ministry's backing of using retrofits to avoid diesel vehicle bans, Reuters reported. The ministry released Dec. 28 a document that sets out guidelines on getting regulatory approval for retrofitting older diesel vehicles, removing legal hurdles for upgrading exhaust emissions filtering systems on older diesel cars. German auto lobby group VDA said carmakers and parts makers cannot guarantee a vehicle in which third-party exhaust purification systems have been retrofitted. Volkswagen AG said such retrofits could cause "increased fuel consumption" and "reduced performance," while BMW Group said selling new cars through incentives and ramping up electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a better alternative, Reuters reported.

* Erosion in the Turkish automotive market, where sales fell 34% year over year to 609,000 vehicles in the first 11 months of 2018 due to weakness of the lira, poses a "significant external headwind" for Ford Motor Co.'s European operations as well as for Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., which forecasts the Turkish market to almost halve to 550,000 units in 2019 from a high of 1 million units in 2016 and 2015, Automotive News Europe reported. Local joint ventures of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault reportedly are vulnerable to the downturn, the magazine reported, citing LMC Automotive analyst Carol Thomas.


* FCA's Chrysler brand began a recall in China, starting Dec. 29, of 1,806 imported Jeep Wrangler vehicles made between Aug. 7, 2017, and Sept. 20, 2017, to fix faulty brake switches that could allow vehicles to be moved from the parked position without pressing the brake pedal, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the country's State Administration for Market Regulation. Chrysler also reportedly recalled 742 Pacifica models, made between April 19, 2017, and March 6, 2018, as the cover of their manual park release plugs could be removed without a tool, which increases the chances of the plugs getting released inadvertently and causing the vehicles to roll, potentially resulting in collisions.

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The day ahead

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

Most Asian markets were closed ahead of the New Year's holiday.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.14% to 6,724.79 and the Euronext 100 was ahead 0.18% to 914.56.

On the macro front

No notable reports are due out today.

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