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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

GM, DOE Partner On Jatropha Biofuel Research

March 31, 2010 4:48 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. will spend the next five years working with federal authorities to study whether oil from a weed can become a sustainable source for biodiesel, the automotive company said Tuesday. The partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy will study whether the jatropha plant can be a dependable biofuel crop.

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Body Parts Found At Medical Waste Company

March 31, 2010 4:39 am | by Maria Sudekum Fisher, Associated Press Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Officials in Kansas have been trying to identify several body parts, including six heads, found in a truck at a medical waste company. The body parts were found last week in 12 large red plastic tubs inside a delivery truck at Stericycle Inc., a company that disposes of medical waste.

Feds Investigate Boston Scientific Defibrillator Recall

March 31, 2010 4:34 am | by Tom Murphy, AP Business Writer

NATICK, Mass. (AP) — Investors shrugged off a report Tuesday that medical device maker Boston Scientific could face a fresh wave of regulatory problems thanks to a product recall investigation. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into the recent recall of defibrillators.

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Nissan Electric 'Leaf' To Cost $25,000 In U.S.

March 31, 2010 4:31 am | by Dan Strumpf and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

NEW YORK (AP) — Nissan's new electric car will cost just over $25,000 when it goes on sale in the U.S. in December, aiming to bring gasoline-free technology within reach of mainstream drivers. The Leaf, a four-door hatchback, will have a base price of $32,780, but it's eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

Ford Enters Luxury Hybrid Market With Lincoln MKZ

March 31, 2010 4:28 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will become a player in the small market for luxury hybrids this fall when it launches its first Lincoln hybrid, a gas-electric version of the 2011 Lincoln MKZ. Ford says the hybrid MKZ — to be introduced Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show — will be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan on the market, getting an estimated 41 miles per gallon in city driving.

Toyota's March Sales Jump 35 Percent

March 31, 2010 4:12 am

NEW YORK (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp's U.S. sales rocketed about 35 percent in March from a year before after Japan's top automaker offered sharp discounts to lure back consumers after massive recalls, U.S. media reported Tuesday. The forecast was provided by Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.

Nine Arrested For Drug Use At N.C. Goodyear Plant

March 31, 2010 4:08 am

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies have arrested nine employees at a North Carolina tire plant on drug charges after an undercover investigation prompted by employees' concerns. The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday that agents posing as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

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Laid Off Workers Win Appeal Over 'English-Only' Plant

March 30, 2010 5:04 am

Fresno, Calif. (AP) — A Federal appeals court has ordered a new trial for nearly two dozen women who were laid off from a Fresno plant for failing to get a perfect score on an English-only skills test. The workers had sued NIBCO Inc., an Indiana-based irrigation systems manufacturer, in 1999.

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Elkhart RV Manufacturer Expands, Adds 265 Jobs

March 30, 2010 5:02 am

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana recreational vehicle manufacturer is expanding its Elkhart operations and plans to hire up to 265 new workers by 2013. Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced Monday that it will invest more than $2.6 million to buy and equip a 125,000 square-foot manufacturing complex in Elkhart.

Toyota Promises Quality Control Overhaul

March 30, 2010 5:01 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — Toyota promised to respond faster to customer complaints as it held its first meeting of a quality experts committee set up to help salvage a reputation battered by massive recalls and reports of runaway vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp. appointed chief quality officers in key regions — including North America — where the biggest problems have surfaced to convey customer complaints quickly to its headquarters.

Wildlife Officials Protest Nestle Water Bottling Plant

March 30, 2010 4:54 am

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. (AP) — Foes of a proposed Nestle Waters North America bottling plant in Cascade Locks, Ore., on Monday handed state wildlife officials petitions bearing 3,700 signatures of people against the project. Nestle's plan is to tap a nearby spring that supplies an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery.

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Survey: More Companies Considering Chinese Relocation

March 30, 2010 4:42 am

NEW YORK — Multinational manufacturers are increasingly focused on accessing the growing China market while the number of companies viewing China purely as an export base continues to decline, according to the third annual China Manufacturing Competitiveness survey, jointly conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) and management consulting firm Booz & Company.

Geely To Put $900M More Into Volvo

March 30, 2010 4:23 am

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group expects to spend hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the $1.8 billion purchase price for Volvo Cars to make the Swedish car company profitable, Geely's chairman said Tuesday. Geely is projecting a total tab of $2.7 billion for its takeover of Volvo, with money beyond the purchase price to be spent on expanding production, chairman Li Shufu told reporters.

Edy's Adds Jobs As Consumers Demand "Comfort Food"

March 29, 2010 5:14 am

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Making ice cream is no cake walk. Some time ago, an Edy's Grand Ice Cream job candidate was asked what he thought working at the Fort Wayne plant would be like. The description smacked of Willy Wonka. "He thought there were these huge mixing bowls with guys standing on ladders stirring the ice cream with large wooden spoons," said Gaylord Brooks, a production floor leader and 15-year veteran at the local Edy's plant.

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Toyota Shares Prius Technology With Mazda

March 29, 2010 4:56 am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota will provide its key hybrid technology to Mazda under a licensing agreement reached Monday, the two companies said. Toyota Motor Corp., the world's leader in hybrids, will supply Mazda Motor Corp. the key components of its hybrid system used in the top-selling Prius, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Hormel Opens $80M Plant In Iowa

March 29, 2010 4:49 am

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — Hormel Foods Corp. officially opens its new $80 million plant in Dubuque, Iowa Tuesday — the first plant the company has built from the ground up in more than a decade. The plant has been operating for a couple months, but will host a grand opening. It's already producing microwaveable meals.

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Rio Tinto Sentencing "Very Harsh"

March 29, 2010 4:43 am

SHANGHAI, China — A Chinese court slapped four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto with jail terms of seven to 14 years on bribery and commercial secrets charges, unexpectedly harsh sentences that include a decade of imprisonment for Australian Stern Hu. The punishment for Hu was a "very tough sentence," Australia's foreign minister said after the verdict was read out Monday by the lead judge at the Shanghai People's Intermediate Court.

Employee Admits To Tainting Product Over Pay Concerns

March 29, 2010 4:25 am

BEIJING, March 28 (Kyodo) — A suspect caught in the poison dumpling case, which caused anxiety in Japan over the safety of foods imported from China, has admitted during questioning earlier this month that he tainted the food with pesticide, the Ministry of Public Security said Sunday.

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Ford Reaches Agreement To Sell Volvo

March 29, 2010 4:17 am

DEARBORN, Mich., March 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Volvo Car Corporation and related assets to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010, and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

Geely, Ford Could Finalize Volvo Sale Sunday

March 26, 2010 6:06 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A spokesman for Volvo Cars says that China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group could sign a binding deal to buy the Swedish automaker from Ford Motor Co. this weekend. Geely and Ford have earlier said that they expect to pen it by the end of March. Volvo spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said Friday that the deal could be reached on Sunday, "but it's not set in stone yet.

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