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Inside Automotive (Oct 30th, 2019)

1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA are reportedly discussing a merger, but there is no guarantee that a final deal will be reached. One of the possibilities is an all-share merger of equals, with PSA CEO Carlos Tavares assuming the role of CEO and FCA chairman John Elkann becoming chairman. Under one recent proposal, PSA would serve as the acquiring entity, which would result in PSA representatives having more seats on the board. FCA and PSA did not offer any comment on the potential deal. This news comes after merger talks broke down between FCA and another French automaker, Groupe Renault. — AUTO NEWS

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2. The first day of a new pickup system for ride-hailing and taxi passengers at Los Angeles International Airport was described as a “total disaster.” Arash Markazi, a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, tweeted that one friend waited over an hour for a ride, while other passengers waited up to an hour and a half. Transportation reporter for the LA Times, Laura Nelson, said there was confusion amongst travelers who did not know where to pick up their Uber or Lyft, or whether they would need a shuttle. The airport apologized to travelers who may have experienced an inconvenience with the rollout of the new system. — LA TIMES

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3. The Trump administration reportedly wants to dictate where automakers can produce vehicles and parts in order to qualify for duty-free trade under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The issue is currently being discussed by Trump Administration officials, automakers and congressional staff, as the White House is asking for specific language that would allow it to enforce these rules. USMCA, which already dictates stringent, new production rules for cars to qualify for free trade across borders, has been signed by leaders in all three countries but is still awaiting approval from the U.S. Congress. — BLOOMBERG

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4. In a feature story for The Verge, writer Sean O’Kane chronicles the saga of Faraday Future and argues the company can only succeed if it separates itself from founder Jia Yueting. The company’s new CEO, Carsten Breitfeld, has ambitious plans to put the company back-on-track and release the FF91, but production is still “months away.” The company faces a serious cash crunch, with bankruptcy serving as one way for it to restructure its debt. However, a potential bankruptcy could change Jia’s immigration status in the U.S. and may be forced to go back to his native China, where he has skirted government requests to situate his debts. — THE VERGE

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5. Porsche is allowing some buyers to initiate vehicle purchases online at 25 U.S. dealerships in a pilot program. However, buyers will be unable to complete the entire vehicle purchase process online, needing to head to a dealership to finalize paperwork and pick up the vehicle. Depending on the outcome of the pilot, the program may expand nationally. With this program, Porsche is directly addressing changing trends as consumers are using digital tools to research (and eventually purchase) vehicles. But the automaker must deal with complex franchise laws in the U.S. -- some which ban the sale of vehicles directly from OEMs. — AUTOBLOG

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6. Tesla has updated the Model X with new front seats. The new seats are designed to offer more comfort to passengers in the second row, as they are less bulky, which results in more legroom. The automaker is also adding a back pocket on the front-row seats, which will make it easier for passengers to store items. While sales of the SUV have been declining, Musk said the company continues to produce the vehicle for “sentimental” reasons. — ELECTREK

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7. Lyft has revamped its monthly subscription service, cutting the price and offering discounts on all rides. The ride-hailing company previously offered a $299 subscription, which offered 30 monthly rides, as long as the fare was under $15. Now, Lyft is offering its “Lyft Pink” membership, for $19.99 per month, which will offer 15 percent off all rides. The subscription will also offer three complimentary bike or scooter rides (up to 30 minutes), three free trip cancellations, waived loss and found fees and priority airport pickup. Those interested in early access can sign up here. — ENGADGET

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8. One Redditor offered a “public service announcement” on how Tesla Model 3 drivers can fix a rattle that occurs behind the steering wheel when the car is being driven at high speeds. Redditor /u/dnssup said the rattle sounds like paper shaking in the wind. His solution? Removing the wood dashboard and checking for stickers that have become loose. — /R/TESLAMOTORS - REDDIT

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9. The Tesla Model 3 has become the first electric vehicle approved as a yellow cab in New York City. The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has a process of approving certain vehicles for usage as yellow cabs in the city by medallion holders. The Model 3 has been added to that list and is currently the only battery-electric option available. There are other gasoline-hybrid vehicles on the approved list, including the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. — ELECTREK

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10. Over on the /r/justrolledintotheshop subreddit, one Redditor shared a picture of a BMW i3 electric motor. Redditor /u/rob_131 shared the picture of the compact-sized motor, which was removed due to a power electronics recall. The motor’s size was the focus of attention, with one other Redditor describing the motor as “cute.” — /R/JUSTROLLEDINTOTHESHOP - REDDIT

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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