DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday that it is recalling nearly half a million minivans and SUVs because of a pair of mechanical issues. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is recalling 205,896 Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans made during the 2004 and 2005 model years, because their torque converter output shaft may fail.
TOKYO, Jan. 11 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it has donated external power-supply units to the Miyagi prefectural government, which can supply electricity through the automaker's Prius hybrid vehicles in times of emergency. The power-supply units have a maximum output of 1,500 watts and are able to simultaneously power most household electrical appliances, including televisions and personal computers, by drawing electricity from the automobile's onboard drive battery, Toyota said.
DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai Motor Co. announced plans Tuesday to build a Michigan testing facility to help examine the effects of extreme hot and cold temperatures for vehicle development, a project that Gov. Rick Snyder said illustrates the kind of help the state can provide to encourage business expansion.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Bombardier Aerospace unveiled plans Tuesday to expand its Learjet site in Wichita, creating 450 new jobs and providing a much-needed boost to a city still stinging from Boeing's announcement that it plans to close its defense plant here. The mood was upbeat this week at Bombardier's plant as Kansas Gov.
DETROIT (AP) — Fiat hopes to start fresh in North America after a disappointing first year. The Italian brand sold fewer than 25,000 Fiat 500 subcompacts in the U.S. and Canada in 2011, only halfway to its goal of 50,000. Its network of new dealers was slow to get up and running.
POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A struggling manufacturing plant has filed a complaint with the state utility regulator accusing Idaho Power Co. of overcharging on its electric bills. Hoku Materials included the allegation in its response filed Monday with the Public Utilities Commission, the latest development in the Hawaii company's squabble with the state's biggest utility.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is seeking bankruptcy protection, blaming its pension and medical benefits obligations, increased competition and tough economic conditions. The Chapter 11 filing on Wednesday comes just two years after a predecessor company emerged from bankruptcy proceedings.
MOSCOW (AP) — Some recent failures of Russian satellites may have been the result of sabotage by foreign forces, Russia's space chief said in comments apparently aimed at the United States. Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin stopped short of accusing any specific country of disabling Russian satellites, but in an interview Tuesday in the daily Izvestia he said some Russian craft had suffered "unexplained" malfunctions while flying over another side of the globe beyond the reach of his nation's tracking facilities.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Bell Helicopter plans to build its next new commercial helicopter model at its facility in the Texas Panhandle. A Bell Helicopter spokesman on Monday would not specify how many jobs could be created in Amarillo by work on the Magellan project. William Schroder declined to release further details, other than final assembly, product test flights and delivery of the Magellan will be done at the Amarillo facility.
DETROIT (AP) — Buick is trying to break into the market for small luxury SUVs with its new Encore. The company wants the Encore, unveiled Tuesday at the Detroit auto show, to be more upscale than the Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V, which are also small SUVs build on car rather than truck frames.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Defense Department to restore the requirement that all steel used in military contracts be made in the United States. Schumer is visiting Klein Steel in Rochester, N.Y. this morning. He says the military got all of its steel from domestic producers like Klein for 35 years until 2009, when the Defense Department dropped the made-in-the-USA requirement as demand soared due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tim Cook could well end up being the highest paid CEO in America in 2011, after Apple Inc. granted him a million restricted stock units last August for taking the reins shortly before co-founder Steve Jobs died. An Associated Press review of a securities filing shows Cook's pay package was valued at $378 million.
DETROIT, Jan. 10 (Kyodo) — Japanese automakers showed their recovery from last year's devastating disaster in their home country by introducing new hybrids and other models with better fuel economy and improved performance on the second day of the annual North American International Auto Show that opened Monday.
Alcoa Inc. on Monday started off the earnings season by posting its first net loss in more than a year. The New York manufacturing giant's profits dwindled in the fourth quarter with fewer orders for its products as uncertainty grew about the impact of Europe's debt crisis on the global economy.
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. is on track to retake the title of world's top-selling automaker, riding strong sales in the U.S. and China to beat Volkswagen and Toyota. GM, which lost the crown to Toyota in 2008 after holding it for more than seven decades, won't release global sales numbers until later this month, but it's on pace to finish 2011 at around 9 million cars and trucks, at least 800,000 more than its German and Japanese rivals.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — AT&T on Monday said it will sell a Nokia smartphone running Microsoft's Windows Phone software. The device represents Nokia and Microsoft's best chance yet to break Apple and Google's hold on the U.S. smartphone market, the world's most lucrative. Nokia Corp.
BEIJING (AP) — China's import growth showed an unexpectedly sharp drop in December in a new sign the world's second-largest economy is slowing. December growth in imports fell to 11.8 percent, barely above half the previous month's 22.1 percent gain, customs data showed Tuesday. Exports rose 13.
HOUSTON (AP) — The family of a man who was fatally shot by an undercover suburban Dallas police officer during a drug bust has filed a lawsuit alleging that a badly designed flashlight mounted on the officer's handgun led to the death. Michael Anthony Alcala, 25, was shot and killed on Oct.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Talking to the TV is usually a sign of extreme agitation, mental instability or loneliness. TV manufacturers are set to make it a more rational behavior this year, with a range of sets that respond to speech. LG Electronics on Monday said it will sell a remote with its high-end flat-panel TVs that contains a microphone.
FRANKFURT (AP) — German automaker Volkswagen AG expects a tough 2012 even as it reported record sales of more than 8 million vehicles last year that put it ahead of Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. Volkswagen said in a statement on Monday that it delivered 8.156 million vehicles in 2011, a 14 percent rise over the previous year.