Under tariff threat, Mexico less attractive to companies avoiding China trade war

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News about the tariff plan trump shook the Mexican peso and questioned the future ratification of the new North American trade agreement, a treaty revised during several months of painful negotiations previously required by the US president.

Just at the time when companies thought that a bargain made Mexico a tempting production alternative to China, Washington ’s new threats once again unbalanced.

Take the recent experience of the Tecma Group, an outsourcing company, in which there was a surge in interest from companies planning to move to Mexico, as Trump raised tariffs to 25% by $ 200 billion in Chinese goods.

According to Alan Russell, its chief executive officer and chairman, Tecma, which operates about 75 factories in Mexico, was "weekly" contacted by companies selling goods from furniture to ink pens looking for a way from China to Mexico.

Now, after Trump promised to introduce rising tariffs of 5% on all Mexican exports to the United States from Monday, if Mexico does not restrain the flow of migrants to the US border, these expected investments risk being frozen, says Russell,

"The board of directors is not going to say:" Yes, let's do it ”under the conditions of a 25 percent tariff,” said Russell.

Few figures are available to assess how widespread the transition to Mexico is from China. But evidence that Mexico is becoming the leading US trading partner as China exports less to the United States, combined with unconfirmed data, shows a significant trend.

Fuling Global Inc., a specialized plastics and paper manufacturer that launches manufacturing operations in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, suffered a similar blow.

The company said in an April letter that the planned plant "will help reduce a significant portion of China-U.S exposure." trade changes. "

Now it sounds outdated, but the company downplays concerns about Trump's latest change.

"Whatever we do in Mexico, this is for the long-term strategic growth of our company ... If we produce in Mexico, we will save a lot on freight and this will shorten the time for delivery. This is a huge advantage, ”said CFO Gilbert Lee.

If Trump copes with his tariff threat, Lee said that Fuling and his customers will initially bear the burden of costs, but ultimately "consumers will have to pay for it."

Similarly, the camera maker GoPro Inc decided in early May to transfer most of its products to the USA to Mexico from China in order to "shield us from possible tariffs,” then CFO Brian McGee told investors.


A GoPro spokesman said that the company is currently "closely following” the continuation of negotiations on an immigration transaction.

As a sign that such cases were part of a wider surge of interest in manufacturing in Mexico, the Southwestern McQuly Bi-national Industrial Association said that in the past six months, about 10 firms that expressed interest in investing in Mexico heard it, compared to 3 4 previous months, according to Gustavo Gonzalez, the president of the organization.

In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, Mexico overtook China and Canada in the first quarter of 2019 and became the main US trade partner for products.

Supplies from Mexico to the United States rose 5.4% in the first quarter, while shipments from China decreased by 13.9%.

UBS Bank said Mexico gained market share from China, selling products from the US tariff list for September 2018.

Companies already established in Mexico are concerned, but they say that it is too early to assess the impact of the new dispute.

They include manufacturers such as LG Electronics, which migrated a few years ago to build TVs in Mexico using imported components and send them to the United States without tariffs according to NAFTA.

The potential of US tariffs on all imports from Mexico can shake this supply chain and others like it.

Tariff uncertainty may induce companies to suspend their investment decisions in Mexico, said Gabriela Sony, investment director at UBS Global Wealth Management in Mexico.

"But if this is only 5% of the tariff instead of 25%, it may not change the game, because the peso has also depreciated,” she said.


Renault rift with Nissan widens over governance, casts shadow on alliance

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Renault, which owns 43.4% of the Japanese firm, made it clear that it would not allow Nissan to formally adopt the revised management structure at the shareholders meeting on June 25 - unless Renault is represented on the new Nissan committees.

The request, conveyed in a letter from Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senar a few weeks before the meeting, could destroy the new structure created after several months of discussion by an external committee and previously supported by Senard. Nissan responded to one of its most outspoken statements against its main shareholder, calling this demand "most regrettable."

"Nissan received a letter from Renault stating its intention to abstain from voting,” the statement says.

"Nissan considers Renault’s new position on this issue to be the most regrettable, since such a position contradicts the company's efforts to improve corporate governance.”

The split exposes the deep tension between the two automakers, the union of which was under pressure after the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn in November. What is now at stake may be even more than their extensive alliance, which includes Mitsubishi Motors.

Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are looking for ways to reanimate a rolled-out merger plan and get Nissan approval for this deal, Reuters reported on Monday. Therefore, Nissan is ready to convince Renault to significantly reduce its 43.4% share, two people told Reuters.

By abstaining from voting for management, Renault will effectively block the new management system, which includes three committees, since approval requires two-thirds approval. Nissan recently said it would abstain from voting on the FCA-Renault merger, although FCA and Renault later blamed the failure of this deal on the French government.

"The rights of Renault as a 43.4% shareholder in Nissan must be fully recognized, and at least one or two directors proposed by Renault must be members of each of the three committees,” says a letter to Renault, a copy of which is being considered. Reuters.

"As proposed now, it looks like it is not."

A source at Renault said the Senard letter was motivated by concerns about Renault’s underrepresentation on the new Nissan board of directors that appeared after Gosn’s arrest, who is currently awaiting trial and denies financial misconduct against him.

"This is not a final abstinence, and the position of Renault can still change,” said a source. "At the moment, Renault was not sure about the proper representation of the committee as the main shareholder of Nissan."

Renault has not yet received specific information about the proposed composition of each of the committees, another source with knowledge of the issue told Reuters.

A source at Nissan said that Renault CEO Thierry Bollor expressed a desire to participate in the work of the new Nissan committees to oversee the appointments and compensations of the executive bodies, as well as the planned corporate governance audit committee.

But such a move will raise concerns about a possible conflict of interest, as this will give Renault the right to vote in Nissan’s salaries and corporate governance, a Nissan source said.
"This is a shocking behavior on the part of a shareholder who has been saying for several months that he has supported us in strengthening our corporate governance,” said a Nissan source.

The source added that even if Renault blocks the committees, Nissan will still try to create similar management structures and make them as mandatory as possible.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mare in Tokyo after the G20 meeting at the weekend, told reporters that the solution to both problems is solved by the leadership of both companies. The French government owns 15 percent at Renault.

The split could put further pressure on Nissan’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa, who is increasingly confronted with Renault.

The Japanese news agency Jiji previously quoted the words of Saykawa: "We are preparing for a meeting of shareholders and discuss the necessary issues at the appropriate time. If there are differences of opinion (with Renault), then I would like it to be talked about. ”

In March, an external team appointed by Nissan recommended the formation of three committees to improve corporate governance. According to this proposal, Renault directors will have the right to work on the nominating committee, but will be suspended from the work of the remuneration and audit committees.

Both companies struggled to reestablish their relationship after Gosna’s arrest revealed growing tensions, including Nissan’s long-standing concerns about the capital structure of the alliance.

Nissan seems to have remained largely unaware of the mergers between Renault and Fiat Chrysler, who tried to work together to create the third largest automaker.


Nissan retains Saikawa as CEO, in likely rebuff of Renault

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According to sources in both Reuters companies, the reappointment of Saikawa is likely to be perceived as a rebuff from Renault SA, which pushed for a change of leadership as a prelude to merger talks. According to several people, Saikava, who has long opposed full integration, is seen as an obstacle to unification.

Nissan proposed that Renault executive director Thierry Bollor join the board of directors and Renault chairman of the board of directors Jean-Dominique Senard remain in it. The board will be increased to 11 members from eight, and seven external directors will be included. Proposals will be voted on by shareholders in June.

The composition of the Nissan board is of paramount importance for the Nissan-Renault alliance. Unequal relations between them - a smaller Renault has a large share in Nissan - has long been a source of friction.

The board unanimously supported Saykawa, although he acknowledged that he may not have done enough to curb Gosna, one of the outside directors said. Ghosn, accused of financial misconduct, denies wrongdoing.

"Although there are issues related to the responsibility of Saykawa, we consider it more constructive to focus on cooperation within the framework of the alliance, the restoration of Nissan and its strategic plan,” said Keiko Ihara.

"We had a lively debate, we didn’t rush to look at the risks ... but in the end all the directors agreed to the appointment,” she said, adding that Senar Renault agreed at a meeting earlier this week with a decision to leave Saykawa
However, a source close to Senard said that earlier this week there was not a single vote, unanimous or not, about the reappointment of Saikawa to the post of general director.
The boring work of Nissan for several months after the dramatic exile of Ghosn in November caused concern to the French automaker.

Renault owns 43% of its larger partner, and analysts estimate that a 30% reduction in Nissan dividends this year will result in a loss of about 130 million euros (145 million dollars) from the profits of a French company.

According to Ihara, two Renault representatives were recommended to the French automaker on the Nissan board of directors to strengthen the alliance. Renault also recommended Bernard Delmas, who heads the French tire company Michelin in Japan.

The assumption about the future of Saykawa was widespread, and the composition of the board of directors after Nissan this week noted a 28% drop in annual profits and reduced dividends, highlighting its struggle to turn the page after Gosna.

The arrest of Gosna in Japan and the immediate resignation of Nissan complicated the partnership, since Renault refused to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alliance’s finances and kept its absent leader as chairman and CEO for another two months.
Ghosn is on bail and is awaiting trial in Tokyo.

Nissan shares fell 0.9 percent on Friday, down 0.9 percent from the Nikkei average.


Electric vehicle study sees opportunity for utilities

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A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, suggests a significant jump in consumer demand for electric cars, which still accounts for only a small proportion of car sales in the United States.

According to BCG estimates, by 2030, from 20 to 30 percent of all sales of new cars in the United States will be electric or hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles. According to the InsideEVs.com website, last year, hybrids with plug-ins and clean electric vehicles accounted for just 2 percent of all US auto sales.

BCG predicts that by 2030, up to 12 percent of all vehicles on US roads will connect to hybrid or pure electric, which will increase the "current network capacity” when charging in certain places or at certain times of the day.

The study authors suggested that utilities are considering expanding the range of their services and are exploring options such as subscription services that set a fixed charge for an EV charge, giving customers a free home charger that automatically charges the car for the night and during off-peak times.

Municipal services were also urged to consider the provision of consulting services, as well as software solutions for both consumers and commercial customers, for energy management and fleet management.


Kia, Hyundai expand U.S. engine fire recalls by 534,000 vehicles

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Kia said it is withdrawing 378,000 Kia Soul 2012–2016 cars due to engine damage and fire risk, while Hyundai and Kia are taking off 155,000 Tucson cars 2011–2013 and Sportage 2011–2012 due to possible leaks oil pan in a separate callback.

Last month, companies said they would withdraw 168,000 cars due to fire hazards.

Since 2015, South Korean automakers have recalled more than 2.3 million vehicles to eliminate the various risks of engine ignition in a series of reviews.

In November 2018, Reuters reported that federal prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into Hyundai and Kia to determine if vehicle reviews related to engine malfunctions were conducted correctly. Companies declined to comment on the study.

In May 2017, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a formal investigation into the recall of about 1.7 million Hyundai and Kia cars due to engine defects.

Hyundai said it met with NHTSA in December 2018 to discuss the company's analysis, and the agency said the company "expects Hyundai to issue a safety recall” 2011-2013 Hyundai Tucson.

According to the companies, there are no reports of accidents or injuries related to any new recall.

According to Kia, one new reminder on Thursday was caused by high exhaust gas temperatures that could damage the catalytic converter and possibly other parts. Dealers will upgrade software to prevent overheating of the catalytic converter.

Reuters reported in January that companies will offer software updates for 3.7 million vehicles that are not subject to recall. Automakers have said that the software update is aimed at protecting vehicles from internal damage, and they will also offer new extended warranties for engine problems.

A South Korean informant in 2016 reported a problem at NHTSA, which checked the timeliness of the three US reviews and whether they covered enough vehicles.

In 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 American Sonata sedans, saying that engine failure would cause the vehicle to stop, increasing the risk of an accident. At that time, Kia did not recall its cars, which use the same "Theta II” engines.

In March 2017, Hyundai expanded its initial US recall to 572,000 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles powered by Theta II engines, citing the same problem with industrial waste.
On the same day, Kia also recalled 618,000 Optima, Sorento and Sportage vehicles, each of which uses the same engine.

On Wednesday, the Car Security Center, which had requested NHTSA to withdraw additional vehicles, told Congress that Kia and Hyundai should withdraw more cars at risk of fire after reports of 300 fires that were not the result of a collision.


Volkswagen shuffles management responsibilities at core brand

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Volkswagen said that since March 1, Christian Sanger will lead VW's Digital Car & Services company and will lead collaboration across the entire software development group and the concept of intelligent mobility.

VW Brand Chief Operating Officer Ralph Brandstätter will take responsibility for ensuring the quality and value development of the VW brand for passenger cars and take responsibility for small, compact and medium-sized production lines.

"This change will provide the CEO with more opportunities to fulfill the strategic tasks facing the group,” Volkswagen said in a statement referring to Diess.

Diss, who is the head of the VW brand, will retain the post of head of the VW product safety committee, and Frank Welch, who is currently the head of VW technical development, will be able to devote more time to his work as head of the research and development group, says company message.


Ford recalls 1.48 million F-150 pickups in North America over transmissions

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Ford said that on some trucks of the 2011-2013 model year with a six-speed automatic transmission, an unintended shift to first gear without warning may occur, which could lead to loss of control over the car. Ford is aware of five accidents, including one report of a stroke potentially associated with this problem.
Recall 1.26 million trucks in the United States and 221,000 in Canada. Dealers will upgrade transmission control software, and the company will notify customers next month.

In March 2016, Ford has withdrawn 153,000 American Ford F-150, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator cars for 2011-2012 due to a similar problem with downshifts. Ford spokeswoman Monique Brentley said the main reason was different from the new recall.
In December 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating whether this review should be extended to almost 1.4 million cars in 2011–2013 after 123 complaints and two accidents, but there were no reports of injuries.

The agency said that an unexpected downshift "can lead to a sudden slowdown of the car without warning. It can also skid or block the rear tires, increasing the risk of a collision. ”

The investigation continues.
Ford also said it is releasing two other reviews. One of them covers 28,200 Lincoln Continental cars in North America in 2017 for door latches, which may not work due to the accumulation of silicon and may lead to the door opening while driving.

Ford said he did not know of any reports of accidents or injuries. Dealers will replace door latch assemblies in all four doors.

Ford also speaks of 4,200 Ford Mustang, Lincoln Nautilus and Lincoln Navigator 2019 models for complete instrument sets that remain empty when starting cars. Dealers will update the software. There are no reports of failures due to recall.


Lawyers suing Fiat Chrysler in diesel case seek over $100 million

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The lawyers said that on Tuesday evening they reviewed more than 4 million pages of documents and participated in almost 100 testimonies, as they were looking for up to $ 99.5 million in legal fees and $ 7 million in expenses.

On January 10, the Italian-American automaker announced that it had settled civil lawsuits with the US Department of Justice, the state of California and diesel engine owners, that it was using illegal software that produced false results of diesel emissions tests.
Fiat Chrysler estimated the value of the settlements at about $ 800 million, and this amount could potentially increase to more than $ 900 million with legal fees. Settlement court hearings are scheduled for later Wednesday in San Francisco.

The settlement includes $ 311 million. US civilian penalties to US and California regulators, up to $ 280 million. United States for the settlement of claims of owners of diesel engines and extended guarantees in the amount of $ 105 million. USA.

German car supplier Robert Bosch GmbH, who provided emission control software for Fiat Chrysler cars, also agreed to pay $ 27.5 million. US to settle claims owners of diesel engines.

Under the terms of the agreement, 307.5 million. Doll. The US from Fiat Chrysler and Bosch will give owners an average of $ 2,800 to receive software updates for diesel engines.

The settlement covers 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel engines from the 2014–2016 model year, according to the US Department of Justice, which is also conducting a criminal investigation.

The settlement also includes $ 72.5 million. US as a fine for civilian states and $ 33.5 million. USA in the form of payments to California to offset excess emissions and consumer requirements.

The huge punishment was the latest result of strict compliance by the US government with regulations on vehicle emissions after Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) admitted deliberate evasion of emission rules in September 2015.
Fiat Chrysler will be required to collaborate with suppliers of catalytic converters in the secondary market to increase the efficiency of 200,000 converters in 47 states that do not yet require the use of high-performance automotive gasoline catalysts in California. Officials of the Ministry of Justice estimate that these efforts will cost between $ 50 and $ 70 million.

Regulators said Fiat Chrysler used "defeat devices” to trick emissions tests in actual driving conditions; Fiat Chrysler did not accept responsibility.


Tesla urges tariff exemption for Chinese-made car computer 'brain'

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"Increased tariffs for this particular part cause economic damage to Tesla through increased costs and an impact on profitability,” the company said in a statement that was not previously reported in the government.

Tesla, led by technical billionaire Elon Musk, is one of many companies, including American automaker General Motors Co No. 1, to warn of rising costs associated with the tariff war between the two largest economies in the world.
The Chinese-made computer that Tesla used in a car assembled in Fremont, California, had an import of $ 16 billion. United States, which in 2018 was charged with 25 percent tariffs in the United States Trade Mission.

In an edited request published by the USTR on December 17 on a government website, Tesla did not identify the supplier of the computer. But he said that he could not find another manufacturer "with the required specifications, in the requested amount and in the time required for further growth of Tesla".

Tesla, who called the computer model 3 "the brain of the vehicle," added that "the choice of any other supplier would postpone the program (model 3) for 18 months with the installation of clean rooms, line testing and staff training."
The use of a new supplier "significantly increases the risk of poor quality parts, which can lead to general problems with vehicle quality, which may affect the safety of our vehicles and consumer acceptance of the final product," added Tesla in her request for tariff reductions.

Tesla declined to comment on the issue of tariffs on Friday. But this led to aggressive cost cutting because it works to achieve production goals for the Model 3, which has become the top-selling luxury sedan on the US market along with the larger model S.

Other automakers have been looking for similar exceptions, but have not yet received a response.

In late July, GM requested an exemption from the 25 percent US tariff on its Chinese-made Buick Envision sports car. Envision accounted for almost 15 percent of Buick's US sales last year, although sales fell 27 percent.
In October, GM also looked for exceptions for about two dozen parts, including the ignition buttons and transmission bearings. Nissan Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also filed requests for parts exclusion, while Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] requested an exception for electric bikes rented through the Uber app.

The Trump administration has introduced 25 percent tariffs totaling $ 50 billion. US annual exports of China and 10 percent tariffs for an additional $ 200 billion. USA in China's exports. Tariffs were in response to what the Trump administration calls China's dishonest trading practices.


Nissan files claim against Ghosn's sister in Brazil court

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The court report of December 11, which was reviewed by Reuters, showed that the Japanese automaker filed a lawsuit against Claudine Bishara de Oliveira. The list stated that Nissan acts as a plaintiff, and Oliveira - as a defendant with the theme "unfair enrichment”. Further details were not immediately available.

Nissan said that the lawsuit, which provides for the suspension of the statute of limitations on a document created three years earlier, will allow him to continue the lawsuit.
"At the moment, this is just a notification to protect the interests of Nissan from the statute of limitations," the company replied in response to a question by e-mail. "This is not just a request for sentencing Oliveira."

Nissan refused to clarify the document or the charges against Oliveira. A representative of the Ghosn family did not respond to a request for comment on the filing. Oliveira did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brazil-born Ghosn was arrested last month and charged this week in Japan for allegedly understating his income. Nissan also accuses him of diverting company funds to pay for personal expenses. Since his arrest, he has been detained in Japan.
Sources familiar with this question told Reuters that the Gosna office formed an advisory role for Oliveira and gave her compensation, although Nissan's internal investigation found no evidence that such work was done. Sources requested anonymity because the information is not publicly available.

A representative of the Ghosn family did not respond to a request for comment.
Nissan is already struggling with Ghosn and his daughter Caroline to maintain an apartment on the waterfront in Rio de Janeiro, which Ghosn used when he ran the company, and which, he says, may contain evidence of wrongdoing. Ghosn and his daughter were sued to pick up what they called personal items, such as photographs, jewelry, watches, and books.
On Thursday, Nissan faced a setback, as the appellate judge ruled that Gosn or his daughter should be allowed into the apartment within 24 hours to receive personal belongings. The decision provided for the presence of two judicial officers, as well as the presence of Nissan representatives.

It was not immediately clear whether Nissan could appeal this decision.

The apartment in Rio de Janeiro became the center of a side battle with the criminal investigation in Japan, which, according to Nissan, was the result of an internal investigation of Gosn’s offense on the advice of an informant. Nissan says that he found three safes in the apartment that could contain evidence of Gosna’s alleged crimes.

In court documents, Gosna’s lawyers said that since Nissan entered the apartment after his arrest, the automaker could "insert objects or documents that could jeopardize its good reputation.”


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