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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Ford To Open Silicon Valley Lab

January 6, 2012 3:51 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is the latest automaker to open a research lab in Silicon Valley, where it hopes to scout out new technology and keep ahead of trends. The company said Friday that it plans to open the lab near Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in the first few months of this year.

Chrysler To Add 1,250 Jobs At Detroit Factories

January 6, 2012 3:49 am | by Corey Williams, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler will add 1,250 jobs at two Detroit factories next year — another sign that the once struggling automaker appears to be making a comeback. The Jefferson North Assembly Plant will get 1,100 new workers and a third shift to help build a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel model for North America.

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Fiat Gets Another 5 Percent Of Chrysler

January 5, 2012 7:34 am

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat has added 5 percent to its majority ownership of Chrysler. The Italian automaker got the added stake by making a car in the U.S. that gets 40 miles per gallon of gas. With the added shares, Fiat now owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler. The U.S. government, which bailed out Chrysler and funded its 2009 restructuring under bankruptcy protection, gave Fiat a 20 percent stake in Chrysler in July of 2009 in exchange for Fiat's management expertise and use of its technology.

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FDA Orders Safety Studies Of Surgical Mesh

January 5, 2012 7:32 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is ordering medical device manufacturers to study safety complications with surgical mesh widely used to repair women's pelvic problems. The announcement follows an April FDA report which found that women who have the surgical mesh implanted to support their reproductive organs are at greater risk of pain, bleeding and infection than women who have traditional surgery with stitches.

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Boeing 4Q Commercial Aircraft Deliveries Up

January 5, 2012 7:31 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Boeing Co. said Thursday its commercial aircraft deliveries rose 10 percent in the last three months of 2011, driven by widespread growth among its models and two deliveries of the aircraft maker's highly anticipated 787. Chicago-based Boeing Co. said it delivered 128 commercial airplanes in the fourth quarter, compared with 116 in the same period a year earlier.

Chief Says Cheap, Everyman Nano Is No Flop

January 5, 2012 7:29 am | by Tim Sullivan, Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Tata Nano, the dirt-cheap everyman's car that started with great fanfare but faced seemingly endless troubles, will eventually prove itself a strong product, the outgoing Tata chairman said Thursday. But he acknowledged the company had not handled its rollout well.

China Calls For Talks Over Carbon Charge

January 5, 2012 7:26 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — China urged the European Union on Thursday to heed objections to its plans to charge airlines for carbon emissions and to hold talks with opponents. The charges, which took effect Sunday, are aimed at curbing emissions of climate-changing gases but airlines oppose them as an improper tax.

GM To Modify Volt After Fires

January 5, 2012 7:24 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors will strengthen the structure around the batteries in its Volt electric cars to keep them safe during crashes, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday. GM will ask Volt owners to return the cars to dealers for structural modifications, said the person, who did not want to be identified because GM executives plan to announce the repairs later Thursday.

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Satcon Tech Plans To Cut 35 Percent Of Workforce

January 4, 2012 8:23 am

BOSTON (AP) — Satcon Technology Corp. said Wednesday it plans to cut 140 jobs, or about 35 percent of its workforce, and close a factory in Canada to reduce costs as demand slides for solar power installations around the world. The Boston company, which makes products for large-scale solar power installations, also will write down the value of some of its inventory to reflect a downturn in solar panel prices.

ID Solar Plant Gets Power Reprieve, For Now

January 4, 2012 8:21 am

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — At least for now, the lights will stay on at Hoku Corp.'s plant in Pocatello. Idaho Power Co. had threatened to shut off electricity after the Honolulu-based polysilicon maker missed a $1.9 million payment in November because of cash problems. But Tuesday, Idaho Public Utilities Commissioners set a schedule to hear out the dispute, with arguments set for meetings next Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Ford Unveils New EcoSport SUV

January 4, 2012 8:19 am

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian subsidiary of automaker Ford has unveiled a new version of its EcoSport SUV and says it will be sold in close to 100 countries. The car was introduced Wednesday in the Brazilian capital and at the Auto Expo show in New Delhi. Ford Motor Co.

Google Buys More Patents From IBM

January 4, 2012 8:18 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Google Inc. has bought another 188 U.S. patents and 29 patent applications from IBM Corp., IBM confirmed Wednesday. Google has been buying patents from IBM and others over the past year to bolster its defenses against lawsuits over its Android smartphone software.

Enough Signatures Collected To Challenge Plant

January 4, 2012 8:15 am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A group that wants to prevent weapons manufacturing at a Kansas City plant has gathered enough signatures to put two measures on the ballot. The city clerk's office said Tuesday that KC Peace Planters had collected enough valid signatures required to put the measures on the ballot.

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Boeing To Cut 2,160 Jobs At Wichita Plant

January 4, 2012 8:14 am | by Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Faced with defense budget reductions, the Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita by the end of 2013. The closure will cost more than 2,160 workers their jobs and end the firm's presence in a city where it has been a major employer for generations.

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Factories, Builders Boost 2011 Economy

January 4, 2012 4:08 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturers ended 2011 with their best month of growth since the late spring. And the struggling construction industry spent more on projects for the third time in four months. The data bolstered hopes that the economy is gaining momentum and helped Wall Street start 2012 with a bang.

Dollar Weakens On Positive Manufacturing Data

January 4, 2012 4:06 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Positive manufacturing and construction data from the U.S. made traders more willing to buy riskier currencies Tuesday. The dollar fell against the euro, pound, yen and most other currencies. Economic reports out of Germany and China were also strong. A trade group of purchasing managers said Tuesday that its U.

Brazil Employers Accused Of Slave-Like Conditions

January 4, 2012 4:03 am | by Stan Lehman, Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — Nearly 300 employers in South America's biggest country submit workers to slave-like conditions, Brazil's Labor Ministry said Tuesday. The ministry said in a statement that its "dirty list" increased by 52 and now has a total of 294 employers, from big to small. Reporter Brasil, a non-governmental organization that monitors slave labor in Brazil and efforts to combat it, praised the government's drive to eradicate slave-like working conditions, but said much remains to be done to eradicate the practice.

Boeing Plans Employee Meeting Amid Closure Study

January 4, 2012 4:00 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A decision about the possible closure of the Boeing Co.'s defense plant in Wichita appeared imminent after a mandatory meeting for all employees was set for Wednesday at the facility. Boeing officials said in November that the company was studying whether to close the Wichita facility, which specializes in modifying commercial aircraft for military or government operations, in order to address Pentagon budget cuts.

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Judge Tosses $322M Asbestos Verdict

January 4, 2012 3:58 am | by Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A Mississippi judge has thrown out a $322 million lawsuit verdict that had been hailed as the largest asbestos award for a single plaintiff in U.S. history. The case began to unravel last year after defense lawyers asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to remove the presiding judge because he allegedly neglected to disclose that his parents had been involved in similar asbestos litigation against one of the same companies.

Chrysler Caps Runaround With Strong December

January 4, 2012 3:57 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler's U.S. sales jumped 26 percent last year, capping a remarkable turnaround for a company that nearly collapsed in 2009. Chrysler Group LLC, now majority owned by Fiat SpA, sold 1.37 million vehicles last year, about 284,000 more than in 2010. It has introduced 16 new or revamped models in the past two years, vehicles that have fueled its recovery.

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