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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Manufacturers To Focus On Chinese IP Theft, Not Currency

January 18, 2011 3:32 am | by Martin Crutsinger and Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies have long demanded that China let its currency rise to make U.S. exports cheaper. But as President Hu Jintao visits Washington this week, U.S. companies are stressing other goals: Stopping the theft of intellectual property. And getting a fair chance to win government contracts.

German CEO Fired After Calling Own Product 'A Stupid Idea'

January 18, 2011 3:29 am

BERLIN (AP) — A German company involved in the building of European navigation system Galileo says it has removed its chief executive after he was quoted in a cable obtained by WikiLeaks as describing the project to a U.S. official as "a stupid idea." OHB-System AG said late Monday that the supervisory board decided to revoke Berry Smutny's appointment as CEO.

UAW: Let Us Branch Out To Foreign Automakers

January 18, 2011 3:25 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The future of the United Auto Workers union is directly tied to its ability to sign up workers at U.S. plants owned by foreign-based car companies, the union's leader said Monday. In a speech to union members, UAW President Bob King laid out in stark terms the importance of the union's work to organize a plant owned by a Japanese, South Korean or German competitor to the Detroit Three.

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U.S., China Clash On 'Cooperative' R&D Projects

January 17, 2011 3:44 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — In late 2009, President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao announced an ambitious array of joint clean energy research projects touted as a mark of a maturing relationship and an alliance to fight climate change. A year after Obama's visit to China, the envisioned partnership has largely evaporated.

GM Expands Recall On 2011 SUVs For Locking Axles

January 17, 2011 3:36 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — General Motors is expanding an earlier recall of some 2011 model-year trucks and SUVs to fix a problem that could cause the vehicles' rear axles to lock. The recall, originally announced in December, now covers 26,751 Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC trucks and SUVs. The models affected are: Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Cadillac EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Colorado, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe; and GMC Canyon, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL.

Deere CEO's Income Tripes During First Year

January 17, 2011 3:32 am | by Josh Funk, AP Business Writer

The compensation for Deere & Co.'s CEO nearly tripled in 2010 as Samuel Allen completed his first full year in the top job at the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, but Allen's $12.3 million compensation remains less than his predecessor received in 2009. Predecessor Robert Lane received compensation worth $14 million in his last year leading the company.

The Unemployed: Looking For Work, Not A Dream Job

January 17, 2011 3:30 am | by Jenny Munro, Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Forty-five-year-old J.P. Stathakis never thought he'd find himself in the legion of the unemployed, but there he was, a graduate of The Citadel, sucked under in the recession's tidal wave in 2009. Now he is thankful for his job on the maintenance crew at Borg Warner in Seneca, where he operates a forklift, among other duties.

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Toyota Working On Rare Earth-Free Electric Motor

January 17, 2011 3:28 am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp., maker of the popular Prius hybrid car, is developing a new type of electric motor to cut its dependence on rare earth metals and lower costs, a company spokesman said Monday. The new technology will help free the world's No. 1 automaker from relying on China, which produces 97 percent of the global output of rare earths needed for many high-tech products, including the current generation of hybrid gasoline-electric motors.

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J&J Recalling 47 Million Packages Of Prescription Drugs

January 17, 2011 3:24 am

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa (AP) — Johnson & Johnson said Friday it is recalling nearly 47 million packages of Tylenol, Sudafed and other nonprescription drugs manufactured at a Pennsylvania facility that has already been subject to a series of massive recalls, battering the company's household brand.

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Intel Profits, 'Pulse' Of Technology Sales, Gets Stronger

January 14, 2011 4:02 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sales of server chips saved Intel Corp.'s fourth quarter, as net income jumped 48 percent mainly on strong demand from corporations. Yet the sour economy and the rise of smaller and sleeker gadgets such as the iPad have hurt consumers' appetite for new PCs, depressing that part of Intel's business.

OSHA Fines U.S. Steel For Coke Plant Explosion

January 14, 2011 3:57 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Federal officials have fined U.S. Steel and a subcontractor a total of $175,000 for safety violations found after a coke plant explosion injured at least 15 workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday it cited the companies following a probe of the July 14 explosion at the Clairton Coke Works near Pittsburgh.

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Industrial Production Hits 5-Month High In December

January 14, 2011 3:48 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industrial production rose in December by the largest amount in five months, providing the economy with solid momentum heading into the new year. Activity at the nation's factories, mines and utilities increased 0.8 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Industrial production was up in every month but one in 2010.

Renault Suspends Executives In Industrial Espionage Case

January 14, 2011 3:29 am | by Greg Keller, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Renault said Thursday it has filed a criminal complaint in connection with a suspected case of industrial espionage at the French car maker that has rocked France's industrial sector. The complaint "against persons unknown" follows Renault's discovery of "serious misconduct detrimental to the company" and in particular to its "strategic, technological and intellectual assets," the car maker said in a statement.

U.S. Trade Deficit Drops To Lowest Point In 10 Months

January 14, 2011 3:26 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit edged down to the lowest point in 10 months as exports, helped by a weaker dollar and rising foreign demand, climbed to the highest level in more than two years. The trade deficit narrowed to $38.3 billion in November, down 0.3 percent from October's revised $38.

Ford Says Raises Are Out, Bonuses Are In

January 14, 2011 3:22 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will give bonuses but not pay raises to its U.S. and Canadian white-collar workers as the company tries to keep its costs down to stay competitive with other global automakers. Spokeswoman Marcey Evans said Ford surveyed 21 peer companies, including General Motors and Chrysler, and determined that its salaries are competitive.

GM's CEO: We're A Year Behind On R&D

January 12, 2011 4:04 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — A big cut in research and development spending while General Motors was in bankruptcy protection set the company's new product plans back by about a year, its top executive told reporters Tuesday. Chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson said GM is working to accelerate vehicle plans that were postponed when R&D spending was cut to $5 billion per year as the company was trying to save money during its 2009 stay in bankruptcy protection.

Photo Of The Day: Scenes From Detroit

January 12, 2011 3:54 am

A Volvo electric C30 is shown after being crashed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) The Audi exhibit is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) The floor of the North American International Auto Show is shown in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan.

Nissan Spends $118 Million To Restructure Miss. Plant

January 12, 2011 3:41 am | by Alan Sayre, AP Business Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday that production of its 2012 NV commercial van will begin Jan. 19 at its expanded plant in Canton, Mississippi, marking its first venture into the U.S. commercial vehicle market. The NV offering will be aimed at commercial van customers through a network of about 240 Nissan commercial dealers, with sales set to begin in the spring.

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Geithner Continues Year-Long Scolding Of China's Currency

January 12, 2011 3:35 am | by Marin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — China's currency is substantially undervalued and Beijing is moving too slowly to fulfill its promise to let it rise, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday. Geithner said it's in China's own interests to accelerate the pace of currency reform. He said the undervalued yuan is increasing the risk of inflation that will harm Chinese growth.

Dana Holding To Pay Toyota $25 Million For Faulty Frames

January 12, 2011 3:28 am

MAUMEE, Ohio (AP) — Dana Holding Corp. said Wednesday it will pay $25 million as part of a settlement with a subsidiary of the automaker Toyota Motor Corp. for warranty claims related to frames produced by Dana's former structural products business. Dana plans to take a fourth-quarter charge as a result.

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