WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses cut back on their orders for heavy machinery, computers and autos in April, partly because the March earthquake in Japan has made components parts harder to come by. Orders to U.S. factories fell 1.2 percent in April and a measure that signals business investment dropped 2.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis Motor Speedway has not changed its master plan in the last century. It is still a test facility at heart. Engineers have spent 100 years improving engines, modifying fuel mixtures, and designing new safety features, and now the 2.5-mile is ready to roll into its second century as a high-tech proving ground for the American automotive industry.
DETROIT (AP) — Toyota says its U.S. sales fell 33 percent in May because of earthquake-related vehicle shortages. Toyota said sales of all Toyota and Lexus cars but one — the new Scion tC — declined from last May. Among SUVs and trucks, only the Tacoma pickup saw sales increase over last May.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to reduce the $1 million fine and $2 million in restitution he ordered paid by a Colorado company that admitted partial responsibility for the death of a Baton Rouge plant worker. On Tuesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson said Chemical & Metal Industries Inc.
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto sales cooled off in May after setting a torrid pace earlier in the year. General Motors' sales fell 1.2 percent as it offered fewer deals to customers and cut sales to rental car companies. The largest U.S. car company says it sold 221,192 vehicles last month, led by smaller, more fuel-efficient models.
DENVER (AP) — Federal prosecutors say Xcel Energy knew of workplace safety violations that led to the death of five workers. A defense attorney Wednesday shot back that it was an Xcel contractor that violated regulations and called the deaths an accident. Xcel Energy and a subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, are each charged in federal court with five counts of violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for the October 2007 fire inside a water tunnel at the Cabin Creek hydroelectric plant near Georgetown, Colo.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Wednesday that the government will lose about $14 billion in taxpayer funds from the bailout of the U.S. auto industry. In a report from the president's National Economic Council, officials said that figure is down from the 60 percent the Treasury Department originally estimated the government would lose following its $80 billion bailout of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Chinese investor Pang Da has placed a $22 million (€15 million) cash order for 630 cars from Spyker NV's ailing unit Saab, the Swedish car maker said Wednesday. The new order comes after an earlier one for 1,300 vehicles as part of last month's pact under which Pang Da agreed to buy a 24 percent stake in the Dutch company for €65 million.
SHANGHAI (AP) — China's manufacturers suffered sluggish growth in orders in May as widespread power shortages and inflation-fighting curbs on credit dampened demand, surveys showed Wednesday. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index fell to 52 from 52.
TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government wants the country's suit-loving salarymen to be bold this summer. Ditch the stuffy jacket and tie. And for the good of a country facing a power crunch, go light and casual. Japan's "Super Cool Biz" campaign kicked off Wednesday with a government-sponsored fashion show featuring outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the sweltering heat.
GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) — An employee injured in a fire at a Gallatin chemical plant last week has died. Eric Hulsey is the third employee killed in accidents at the Hoeganaes (HAY'-gan-eez) Corp. plant this year. A spokeswoman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center told The Tennessean that Hulsey died on Tuesday evening.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in May at the slowest pace in 20 months, the latest sign that a sharp rise in energy prices is hampering economic growth. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 53.
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota recalled 106,000 first-generation Prius hybrid cars globally on Wednesday for faulty steering caused by a nut that may come loose. The single minor accident suspected of being related to the problem was reported in the U.S., according to Toyota Motor Corp. The latest recall from Toyota, which has taken hit to its reputation from massive recalls worldwide, affects 48,000 Prius vehicles in Japan, starting with the first Prius models that went on sale in 1997, and those manufactured through 2003.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld a $5 million judgment to the maker of a patented deep fryer, but in a ruling that makes it harder to claim patent infringement. The justices voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of France-based SEB, S.A., on claims that a Hong Kong company copied features of its innovative home fryer in which the outside stays cool to the touch.
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota production in Japan will recover to 90 percent of pre-disaster levels in June, faster than the world's biggest automaker had projected and highlighting its power to bounce back from the supply disruptions caused by the March earthquake and tsunami. The disasters in northeastern Japan had damaged the plants of key parts suppliers, disrupting production at all Japanese automakers.
BOSTON (AP) — A recent rise in natural gas prices is unlikely to last, as U.S. nuclear capacity returns in coming weeks and gas demand consequently eases, a Raymond James analyst said on Tuesday. The analyst, J. Marshall Adkins, wrote in a research note that a surge in springtime nuclear plant refueling and maintenance "may be giving the natural gas market a temporary 'sugar high.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — General Dynamics Corp. has hired more than 100 employees to help work on a defense contract it was awarded by the Navy in December. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems ultimately hopes to hire 500 workers over the next five years to build, test and deliver the electronics systems for the Littoral Combat Ships.
HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia Corp. on Tuesday warned its second-quarter sales and margins will be much lower than expected as rivals challenge the world's largest handset maker in both smartphones and low-end devices. The announcement sent Nokia shares down more than 17 percent to a 13-year low of euro4.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has chosen businessman John Bryson to lead the Commerce Department, bringing another private sector player into an administration that has been making a concerted effort to improve its relationship with the business community. Bryson, 67, is a former chairman and chief executive officer of Edison International, a California-based energy company.
SHANGHAI (AP) — China has detained 74 people and suspended production at hundreds of battery factories in a widening crackdown on heavy metals pollution after dozens of people were sickened by lead and cadmium poisoning. The government in eastern China's Zhejiang province said Monday that some of the people were detained in connection with pollution that sickened 172 people, including 53 children, near a battery factory in the city of Taizhou.