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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China's EV Rules Scare Away Foreign Automakers

April 20, 2011 4:50 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — The toylike electric cars at the Shanghai Auto Show are a glimpse of the high-tech automotive future China's leaders are pursuing — and a harbinger of possible disputes with its trading partners. Geely's two-seat McCar, Dongfeng's Shuaike microvan, the four-seat M1 REEV from Chery and others promise a range of more than 100 kilometers (60 miles).

Ford Unveils New Taurus, With Hands-Free Parking

April 20, 2011 4:43 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is revamping its Ford Taurus sedan with three new, fuel-efficient engine choices and a hands-free system that automatically parks the car. The 2013 Taurus has its debut Wednesday at the New York Auto Show and will go on sale next spring. The sixth-generation Taurus was a strong seller when it went on sale in the summer of 2009.

Elecrolux Chooses Charlotte For Vacuum-Making Expansion

April 20, 2011 4:36 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Vacuum manufacturer Electrolux North America will create 200 jobs in Charlotte over the next four years by consolidating positions from across the United States. Gov. Beverly Perdue announced the move, saying the company will spend $14 million in the expansion.

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Four Missing After Devastating Blast At Czech Factory

April 20, 2011 4:28 am

PRAGUE (AP) — A huge nitroglycerine explosion occurred at a factory in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, leaving nine people injured and four missing, officials said. The blast destroyed one building at the plant and smashed windows in a large area around the facility, which makes explosives for customers including the Czech military, said firefighter spokeswoman Vendula Horakova.

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Toyota Extends Cuts At North American Factories

April 20, 2011 4:26 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. has extended production cuts at its North American factories into early June as it struggles to deal with parts shortages caused by the earthquake that hit Japan. The disruptions caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami continue to spread. Toyota has warned dealers to expect shortages well into this summer, and has changed paint colors on many models because of chemical shortages from a supplier.

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The Gulf Oil Spill, One Year Later: Hurting And Healing

April 20, 2011 4:22 am | by Cain Burdeau, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — It was the catastrophe that seemed to crush a way of life, an oil rig exploding in the darkness and plunging the Gulf Coast and its people into months of chaos. One year after the nation's worst offshore oil spill began, solemn ceremonies will mark the disaster Wednesday and underscore the delicate healing that is only now taking shape.

Automakers Unveil Ambitious Plans To Dominate China

April 19, 2011 4:58 am | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Global automakers unveiled ambitious expansion plans for China on Tuesday, targeting the country's newly prosperous drivers as the industry struggles to recover from Japan's tsunami. Nissan Motor Co. plans to raise sales by about 15 percent to 1.15 million vehicles this year, said CEO Carlos Ghosn.

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Once-Great Industrial Crane Company Now Dismantled

April 19, 2011 4:54 am | by Susan Harrison Wolffis,

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — At its peak, more than 1,000 people worked at Lift-Tech International, a quiet company in Muskegon Heights that built some of the most sophisticated industrial hoists and cranes in the world. Now all that's left is rubble. On June 30, 2010, the company closed its doors forever, leaving a gaping hole not only in the landscape it dominated for almost 120 years, but also in thousands of lives.

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GM Unveils New 2013 Malibu: More Power, Less Gas

April 19, 2011 4:52 am

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors has set out to refine the current Chevrolet Malibu midsize car with the 2013 version to be unveiled Tuesday. The new car, GM's first midsize sedan to be sold globally, is designed to have better aerodynamics than the current version, and its all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is designed to perform better than the current version yet be fuel efficient.

Apple Sues Samsung For Devices That 'Slavishly Copy' iPhone

April 19, 2011 4:48 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. has sued Samsung Electronics Co., saying the South Korean company's Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers copy Apple's popular iPad and iPhone. In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Apple alleges the product design, user interface and packaging of the Galaxy products "slavishly copy" Apple.

Grainger Rakes In Healthy 1Q Revenue

April 19, 2011 4:42 am

NEW YORK (AP) — W.W. Grainger Inc. surpassed most Wall Street expectations in the first quarter thanks to its ability to raise prices. The industrial supply company reported its quarterly results after the market closed on Monday and in addition to unexpectedly health margins, Grainger boosted its outlook for the year.

J&J Profits Slip 23 Percent On String Of Recalls

April 19, 2011 4:39 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — Health care giant Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday its sales rebounded but its profit dropped 23 percent in the first quarter, due to higher expenses, costs of recalls and litigation and a tax gain that boosted results a year ago. Adjusted earnings topped analysts' expectations.

Survey: U.S. Economy Recovering Despite Global Unrest

April 18, 2011 4:44 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Economists say the U.S. economy is gaining strength despite political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. A survey from the National Association for Business Economics finds that economists are hopeful that the broader economy is substantially improving, with rising employment reported for the fifth quarter in a row.

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VW Starts Tenn. Passat Production, Unveils All-New Beetle

April 18, 2011 4:36 am | by Bill Poovey, Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Workers starting production of a cheaper, larger Passat at Volkswagen Group of America's new plant in Chattanooga have a message for car shoppers: It's a winner. But there are questions. The name is familiar but this Passat is different. Why risk buying an unproven car? Why trust workers who have no track record? VW's Chattanooga Operations said in a statement Friday that the first 2012 Passats destined for the marketplace will roll off the line next week to be sold in the second half of this year.

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GM Aims To Double Sales In China To 5 Million

April 18, 2011 4:29 am

SHANGHAI (AP) — General Motors Co. said Monday it plans to double the number of cars it sells in China to 5 million by 2015. GM China President Kevin Wale said he's optimistic the company can achieve the "ambitious" target, which is more than twice the 2.35 million vehicles it sold in 2010.

Japan Taps U.S.-Made Robots For Reactor Clean-up

April 18, 2011 4:22 am | by Jacob Adelman, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — In this country of break-dancing androids and artificially intelligent pets, nuclear cleanup crews on the tsunami-ravaged northern coast are depending on U.S.-made robots to enter damaged reactor units where it is still too dangerous for humans to tread. Utility workers seeking to regain control of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are deploying robots from Bedford, Mass.

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CAT CEO's Pay Quadruples To $10.4 Million

April 18, 2011 4:20 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

Caterpillar Inc. quadrupled Doug Oberhelman's compensation last year when he was promoted to the top job at the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, but his $10.4 million compensation was less than half what the retiring chief executive received, according to an Associated Press review of a regulatory filing Friday.

ThyssenKrupp Exec Convicted Of Murder Over Plant Blaze

April 18, 2011 4:17 am

TURIN, Italy (AP) — A top ThyssenKrupp executive was convicted of murder in Italy on Friday for a 2007 plant blaze that killed seven workers in Italy, news reports said. The court in Turin sentenced ThyssenKrupp's CEO for Italy, Harald Espenhahn, to 16 1/2 years in prison, as had been requested by the prosecutors, ANSA and LaPresse news agencies said.

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Proterra Unveils First Greenville-Made Electric Bus

April 15, 2011 4:53 am

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — An electric bus manufacturer has publicly unveiled its first Greenville-made bus, sending the unit to Pennsylvania for further testing. Proterra LLC on Thursday sent its first bus to the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center at Penn State University to complete testing required to unlock federal subsidies for bus purchases.

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Illinois Man: I Didn't Take Military Tech To China

April 15, 2011 4:45 am | by David Porter, Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — An Illinois man pleaded not guilty Thursday to taking restricted military data from his former job at a New Jersey technology company and presenting it at two conferences in China last fall. Sixing Liu, wearing a green prison jumpsuit, did not speak during the brief hearing before U.

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