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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

GM Set To Invest $890 Million To Upgrade V-8 Engines

April 27, 2010 4:05 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says it will spend $890 million at five factories to upgrade its V-8 engines to make them more fuel efficient. The automaker says the moves will preserve or create roughly 1,600 jobs at factories in Tonawanda, N.Y.; St. Catherines, Ontario; Bay City, Mich.

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Toyota Set To Recall Corollas Made In Brazil

April 26, 2010 4:54 am

SAO PAULO (AP) — Toyota's subsidiary in Brazil has agreed to recall an unspecified number of Corollas due to the risk of sudden acceleration, the Brazilian Justice Ministry has announced. Toyota do Brasil Ltda. will recall all vehicles made in Brazil since April 2008 and will fix loose floor mats that could interfere with the gas pedal and cause sudden acceleration, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website late Friday.

Colorado Town Prepares For Life Off The (Power) Grid

April 26, 2010 4:46 am | by Mark Jaffe

FOWLER, Colo. (AP) — Like many a town on the Eastern Plains, this farming community has seen better days, but now it has a new plan. It is going to disappear — from the electric grid. If all the town's plans — and there are many — come to pass, Fowler will generate its own electricity, biofuel and manure-based gas; and an empty canning plant will turn into a new solar-panel factory.

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Missouri Plant Worker Awarded $750,000 After Accident

April 26, 2010 4:40 am

MONROE CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Monroe City man has been awarded $750,000 after he was severely burned in an accident at the plant where he worked. Greg Beaver was burned by molten aluminum on Nov. 9, 2004 while working at the Pace Industries plant in Monroe City, which has since closed. He sued the former owner of the plant, Leggett & Platt, and Cintas Corp.

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Obama: Reform Wall Street, Save 'Big 3'

April 26, 2010 4:33 am | by Darlene Superville, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Saturday cited encouraging signs of an auto industry rebound as he promoted stronger financial rules that he said would help prevent a repeat of the crisis that pushed carmakers to the brink. Senate Democrats have set a test vote Monday on legislation to tighten federal oversight of the financial sector.

Chinese Automakers Take Aim At 'Green' Market Niche

April 26, 2010 4:30 am | by Chi-Chi Zhang, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) — The first Chinese-made car to hit the U.S. market might be an all-electric minivan that skips over gasoline technology and gets a head start on the auto industry's next era. BYD Inc., part-owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., hopes to start selling its five-seat e6 on the West Coast this year.

Upbeat Earning Reports Point To Improving Economy

April 26, 2010 4:21 am | by Ieva M. Augstums, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures pointed to a modestly higher open on Wall Street Monday after Caterpillar Inc. joined other companies in reporting more signs of an improving world economy. The big equipment maker, whose results are seen as an economic indicator, reported first-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations after a one-time charge related to health care expenses.

Canadians Plan 200-Job Alabama Auto Supplier

April 23, 2010 4:30 am

FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) — A Canadian auto supplier says it plans to invest $14 million to $16 million in a plant to be built in Fort Payne that will initially employ 200 people. Plasman Corp, part of A.P. Plasman Corp. of Windsor, Ontario, says the facility will do plastic-injection molding, painting and assembly of automotive exterior parts and tool repair.

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Automakers Relived As Auto Fleets Balloon

April 23, 2010 4:18 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — U.S. auto sales to fleets surged 47 percent in the first quarter compared to last year, an early sign of economic improvement as governments, construction businesses and rental-car companies began buying again. Automakers are expecting fleet sales to continue to climb.

Boeing Fined $500,000 For Nuclear Runoff

April 23, 2010 4:15 am

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Regional water quality regulators have fined Boeing Co. $500,000 for contaminated stormwater runoff at a former nuclear and rocket engine testing facility in eastern Ventura County. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a consent judgment Thursday also ordering Boeing to pay $75,000 in attorneys fees and civil penalties for days when contaminants exceeded permitted limits at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Spyker Producing 1,000 Saabs A Week

April 23, 2010 4:13 am

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Spyker Cars NV, the owner of Saab Automobile AB, said Friday it is producing Saab cars at the rate of 1,000 per week since resuming production in March. Spyker, the Dutch niche luxury car maker which in its 11-year history never made a profit, confounded critics by buying the much larger Saab from General Motors in January for $74 million (euro52 million) — less cash than Saab had on its books.

Kia Profits Quadruple In Early 2010

April 23, 2010 4:10 am | by Kelly Olsen, AP Business Writer

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kia Motors said net profit quadrupled in the first quarter on stronger sales and equity gains from affiliated companies. Kia, South Korea's second-largest automaker, earned 398.6 billion won ($358 million) in the three months ended March 31, it said in a regulatory filing Friday.

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The New Detroit: Goodbye Cars, Hello Crops

April 23, 2010 4:07 am | by David Runk, Associated Press Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit, which revolutionized manufacturing with its auto assembly lines, could once again be a model for the world as residents transform vacant, often-blighted land into a source of fresh food. With growing interest in locally raised food, cities including New York, Los Angeles and Seattle are looking at ways to foster and manage urban agriculture.

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GE Transportation Mulls Rehiring 145 of 1,500 Laid Off

April 21, 2010 4:48 am

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — The union at GE Transportation's plant in Erie will vote Friday on some work rule changes necessary to bring back 145 of 1,500 workers laid off last year. The plan would recall 88 laid off workers permanently and 57 others for 12 weeks to fill a specific order. A company official says GE wants to be prepared should the market for locomotives improve.

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The 'Volvo King Kong' And Geely's Cheeky Past

April 21, 2010 4:44 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — Chinese tycoon Li Shufu's car company Geely has a knack for giving its vehicles oddball names: Gleagle, King Kong, Englon. Not as memorable for buyers of the King Kong and its stablemates is a standard of quality that's so-so even by the Chinese auto industry's standards. Zhejiang Geely Holding Co.

Poll: U.S. Makes Better Cars Than Asian Automakers

April 21, 2010 4:36 am | by Alan Fram, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a long romance with foreign rivals, America's love affair with the automobile is returning to its roots with a revived affection for U.S.-made cars. Slightly more Americans now say the United States makes better-quality vehicles than Asia does, with 38 percent saying U.

Volcano Disrupts Just-In-Time Manufacturers

April 21, 2010 4:10 am | by Samantha Bomkamp, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The strategy of keeping inventories lean paid off for U.S. manufacturers during the recession. Just-in-time delivery of parts makes even more sense when budgets are tight. Now that a giant ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland is disrupting global air freight, some manufacturers are finding that this strategy is backfiring.

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Ammonia Leak Leads To Evacuation Of 125

April 21, 2010 4:10 am

BIRDSBORO, Pa. (AP) — An ammonia leak at a kosher Pennsylvania poultry plant has led to the evacuation of about 125 people, including six who suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Emergency crews were called Tuesday night to the Mehadrin Kosher Poultry plant in Birdsboro, which is about 8 miles southeast of Reading.

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GM Repays $6.7 Billion Government Loan

April 21, 2010 4:08 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. has repaid the $8.1 billion in loans it got from the U.S. and Canadian governments, a move its CEO says is a sign automaker is on the road to recovery. GM CEO Whitacre will formally announce the loan paybacks Wednesday at the company's Fairfax AssemblyPlant in Kansas City, Kansas, where he will also announce that GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, both of which will build the next generation of the midsize Chevrolet Malibu.

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Complaining Lawers: Toyota's $16M Fine A 'Speeding Ticket'

April 20, 2010 4:55 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota agreed on Monday to a record $16.4 million fine for its slow response to sticking gas pedals — the equivalent of a little more than $2 for every vehicle the company sold around the globe in 2009. But the fine, the maximum under the law, could be simply a downpayment in the long run: The Japanese auto giant still faces dozens of private lawsuits, which have been combined before a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif.

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