DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is almost certain to claim the title of world's biggest automaker this year, retaking the top spot from Toyota, which has been hurt by production problems since the Japanese earthquake and still can't escape the shadow of major safety recalls. The No. 1 title, a morale booster for the winner's employees and managers, would cap GM's remarkable comeback from bankruptcy.
SHANGHAI (AP) — Some of the new Chinese cars unveiled at this week's Shanghai Auto Show are affordable for millions of buyers — a happy development for Beijing that might prove costly for the global automakers producing them. General Motors Co. unveiled the 630 sedan, the first model from its new Baojun badge developed with Chinese joint venture partners.
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's car production in Japan plummeted a staggering 62.7 percent in March due to a parts supply crunch following the earthquake and tsunami. Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top-selling automaker last year, said Monday its domestic production in March was 129,491 vehicles — the lowest since 1976 when Toyota began maintaining production figures.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S.-based automaker, is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the market opens on Tuesday. Ford had a very successful 2010, earning $6.6 billion, more than double what it made in 2009 and its largest profit since 1999. The company also cut the staggering debt it amassed to stay in business and avoid bankruptcy protection during the recession.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter net income rose 53 percent as demand for its tools rose in all business segments. The company said net income increased to $56.2 million, or 96 cents per share, from $36.8 million, or 63 cents per share. Sales rose 11.
ATLANTA (AP) — Kia Motors announced plans Thursday to begin manufacturing the Optima midsize sedan at itsplant in Georgia, a move expected to add about 700 jobs at the complex. Production on the 2012 Optima is set to begin in the third quarter of this year, Kia Motors said. The plant in West Point currently employs about 2,300 people and the work force is expected to grow to nearly 3,000 by year's end, according to the company.
Federal labor regulators are accusing Boeing Co. of illegally retaliating for a 2008 union strike by adding a non-union assembly line in South Carolina for its new 787 passenger jet. The complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board said the remedy should include moving the South Carolina assembly work back to Washington state, where it would be under union jurisdiction.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. said it is suing Apple Inc. for patent rights violations, only days after Apple sued Samsung for the same reason. Samsung is accusing Apple of violating its rights to 10 smartphone and computer patents. The company filed lawsuits Thursday in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers have begun checking the level of radiation on cars to be exported from the country in a bid to ease worries among foreign consumers, an industry group said Friday. The automakers will inspect radiation inside cars and on tires before shipment, said Hirokazu Furukawa, a spokesman for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's global car production, disrupted by parts shortages from Japan's earthquake and tsunami, won't return to normal until November or December — imperiling its spot as the world's top-selling automaker. President Akio Toyoda apologized to customers for the delays due to the March 11 disasters that damaged suppliers in northeastern Japan, affecting automakers around the world.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Boeing Co. announced Tuesday that the roof of its new 787 jet assembly plant will be covered with solar panels and its South Carolina operation will be powered entirely with renewable energy. South Carolina Electric & Gas will install and maintain the thin panels that will cover the space of about eight football fields atop the massive assembly building.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.