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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota's Quarterly Earnings Drop 39 Percent

February 8, 2011 3:32 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota reported a 39 percent slide in quarterly profit but raised its full-year forecasts as business booms in Asia and other emerging markets while image problems linger in the U.S. The results show a mixed picture for the world's biggest automaker, which is enjoying robust sales in Asia, Africa and South America while still trying to repair its reputation in the key U.

Michigan Man Develops Car With 'Universal' Parts

February 7, 2011 4:03 am | by Jameson Cook, The Associated Press

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (AP) — Colin Kelly Sikkila has an idea he believes helps make vehicles more affordable for car buyers and more profitable for automakers. A retired metal model maker at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Sikkila designed a model car that could be used as a blueprint for building a car with several identical parts on the front and back, such as the hood and trunk lids, doors, fenders and windows.

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Despite Hubbub, U.S. Does Not Cite China For Currency

February 7, 2011 3:58 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration declined to cite China for manipulating its currency to gain trade advantages against the United States. The Treasury Department on Friday noted that China last June said it would begin allowing its currency to rise against the dollar. The agency said the pace of revaluation has been too slow since and more rapid appreciation is needed.

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Ford To Expand U.S. Production By 13 Percent

February 7, 2011 3:50 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ford Motor Co. will increase factory production 13 percent in the first quarter because of higher demand for Ford and Lincoln brand cars and trucks, and further increases are likely through the year, company executives said Sunday. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said its sales to individual buyers rose 27 percent in January, a strong increase that shows demand for Ford products like the Explorer sport utility vehicle is on the rise.

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Chrysler CEO Complains About 'Shyster Rates' Of Bailout Interest

February 7, 2011 3:49 am | by The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chrysler's CEO apologized Saturday for the way he described the interest rates the U.S. and Canadian governments are charging on the bailouts his company received in 2008 and 2009. Sergio Marchionne, speaking Friday during an automotive conference in San Francisco, called the interest rates a "thorn" in his side and said that refinancing the two loans would mean no longer having to explain the "shyster rates.

Despite High Unemployment, Layoffs Decline Rapidly

February 7, 2011 3:46 am | by Derek Kravitz and Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. labor force has been split into two groups: the relieved and the desperate. Those who have a job are less likely to lose it than at any point in at least 14 years. Those who are unemployed are in trouble. Finding a job remains a struggle 20 months after the recession technically ended.

Obama, Business Leaders Seek Common Ground

February 7, 2011 3:42 am | by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama named Gene Sperling as his chief economic adviser, two of Sperling's early calls went to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue. Known for his pugilistic style, Donohue wasted no time. Come on over, he said.

Obama Proposes Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

February 4, 2011 3:58 am | by Ben Feller, AP White House Correspondent

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — President Barack Obama, turning briefly to his eclipsed domestic agenda Thursday, called on the nation's businesses to make fresh investments in clean energy technology that lay a foundation for long-term American prosperity. He proposed a new tax credit and other measures to encourage businesses to retrofit their plants and reduce costs — steps that he said would save $40 billion a year in utility bills.

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Photo Of The Week: American Productivity

February 4, 2011 3:47 am

In this Jan. 26, 2011 photo, Terri Lewis installs a fan on a diesel engine on the Volvo truck assembly line at the Volvo plant in Dublin, Va. The work force was more efficient last year with productivity rising at the fastest pace in eight years while labor costs fell for a second straight year, something that hasn't happened in nearly five decades.

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Prius Falls Hard From Top-Selling Spot In Japan

February 4, 2011 3:39 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Honda's Fit subcompact overtook Toyota's Prius gasoline-electric hybrid as Japan's top-selling car in January, its first return to that spot in nearly two years. The figures released Friday by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association show how the end of government subsidies for green cars have hurt sales of the Prius after holding the top spot in Japan for 20 straight months.

Wis. Meatpacker Settles Sex-Discrimination Lawsuit

February 4, 2011 3:36 am | by Dinesh Ramde, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin meatpacking company has agreed to pay $1.65 million to settle a sex-discrimination lawsuit accusing it of rejecting 970 female applicants over a two-year period, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Green Bay Dressed Beef LLC will pay the money in the form of back pay, benefits and interest, Labor Department spokesman Scott Allen said.

Thousands Fraudulently File For Electric Vehicle Credits

February 4, 2011 3:34 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Car companies like General Motors and Nissan are slowly rolling out rechargeable electric cars. But that didn't stop thousands of U.S. taxpayers, including prisoners and some IRS employees, from incorrectly claiming lucrative tax credits for the electric vehicles last year. A Treasury Department inspector general report says nearly 13,000 taxpayers erroneously claimed about $33 million in credits for plug-in electric and alternative vehicles during the first six months of 2010.

U.S. Adds 36,000 Jobs, Unemployment Falls To 9 Percent

February 4, 2011 3:31 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9 percent, based on a government survey that found that more than a half-million people found work. A separate survey of company payrolls showed a scant increase of 36,000 net jobs as snowstorms likely hampered hiring. That survey doesn't count the self-employed.

AMT Applauds Post Of Advisor To Obama Manufacturing Policy

February 3, 2011 4:49 am

Douglas K. Woods, AMT President McLean, Va. — AMT, The Association For Manufacturing Technology, applauds President Obama’s creation of a new post overseeing manufacturing policy. Ron Bloom was named Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy within the White House’s National Economic Council.

Chevron To Build A $1.4 Billion Plant In Mississippi

February 1, 2011 4:59 am

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — Petroleum company Chevron Corp. said Monday that it will build a $1.4 billion lubricants plant in Pascagoula, Miss., a project that will create roughly 1,000 construction jobs over the next two years. The facility will extend Chevron's existing refinery in Pascagoula, which employs more than 1,600 workers.

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Battle Over Calif. Global Warming Bill Cost $46 Million

February 1, 2011 4:56 am | by Don Thompson, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — More than $46 million was spent for and against a failed November ballot measure that would have suspended California's landmark global warming law, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. Out-of-state oil companies and their supporters spent $10.5 million promoting Proposition 23, while opponents spent more than $36 million.

Drugs, Tupperware, Printers Lead To Profitable 2010

February 1, 2011 4:27 am

Pfizer beats views despite slight profit decline  NEW YORK (AP) — Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit nearly quadrupled from a year ago when it was weighed down by restructuring charges, as revenue rose 6 percent, thanks to the addition of products from fellow drugmaker Wyeth, acquired late in 2009.

Intel Finds Design Flaw That Could Cost $1 Billion

February 1, 2011 4:02 am

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Intel Corp. on Monday said it has found a design flaw in a recently released chip, and is working with laptop makers to replace affected computers. Sales lost while the company rushes out a replacement chip, and the cost of replacing computers with the flawed chip, will cost the company $1 billion, it said.

Marchionne 'Micromanages' Chrysler Into Profitability

February 1, 2011 3:55 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler was collapsing when Fiat took control of the company just 19 months ago. Now, under the Italian automaker's detail-driven CEO, Chrysler is on the verge of turning its first profit since it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. Chrysler Group LLC on Monday said it dramatically narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter and 2010.

China's Manufacturing Boom Continues To Slow Down

February 1, 2011 3:53 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased further in January as authorities tightened controls on credit, though inflationary pressures continued to rise, according to data released Tuesday. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 52.

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