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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China's Voracious Demand For Cars Falls Dramatically

March 9, 2011 3:38 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China's voracious demand for cars eased in February, as surging gasoline prices, the end of government subsidies and a major holiday took a toll on the world's biggest auto market. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Wednesday that total sales including buses and trucks fell 33 percent in February from the month before to 1.

Japanese See Potential In Mississippi Manufacturing

March 9, 2011 3:30 am | by Molly Davis, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Japanese ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that he sees potential in energy and manufacturing for more economic partnership between Mississippi and his country. "Automobiles is a very promising area, but we are looking at various fields, electronics and nuclear powerplants as well," Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki said at a Mississippi Museum of Art luncheon.


Toyota Aims For Industry-First 10 Million Annual Sales

March 9, 2011 3:23 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. is aiming for an auto industry first by reaching annual sales of 10 million vehicles by 2015 even as it acknowledges that overly rapid growth was at the root of its recall fiasco. Toyota President Akio Toyoda gave the 10 million figure Wednesday while outlining the company's "global vision" in his first major strategy announcement since the recall crisis that hit a year and a half ago.


Crane Topples At Steel Plant: One Dead, One Injured

March 9, 2011 3:22 am | by Hasan Dudar, Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A 40-foot-tall movable platform toppled over at a New Castle steel plant Tuesday, killing one worker and seriously injuring a second, authorities said. The injured worker was on top of the scissor lift at the Alleghany Ludlum Steel Corp. when the accident happened, Henry County Emergency Medical Service chief Ron Burns said.


'Old GM' To Pay $50.6 Million For Environmental Slip-Ups

March 8, 2011 4:06 am

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a $50.6 million deal to settle some environmental claims against the old General Motors Corp. The deal covers 34 sites in 11 states. It brings the settled environmental claims against old GM to more than $800 million, but more claims remain.

Hutchinson Technology To Cut 30 To 40 Percent Of Workforce

March 8, 2011 3:41 am

HUTCHINSON, Minn. (AP) — Hutchinson Technology will cut 30 percent to 40 percent of its U.S. work force as part of a consolidation plan, the company said Tuesday, sending shares plummeting 10 percent before the market opened. The cuts amount to between 680 and 910 of its 2,275 workers. Hutchinson said its needs fewer employees now because of advancements in manufacturing technology.


Are We Experiencing A Little Benefit Envy?

March 8, 2011 3:35 am | by Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

When Erin McFarlane looks at public workers, she sees lucrative pension benefits she doesn't ever expect to get. And it makes her mad. "I don't think that a federal employee or government employee is worth any more than anybody else who does their job and does it well," said the Slinger, Wis., woman.


Toyota: Global Hybrid Sales Have Topped 3 Million

March 8, 2011 3:29 am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that global sales of its hybrid models have topped 3 million vehicles on the back of brisk demand for the Prius. The world's No. 1 automaker has sold more than 3.03 million gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles worldwide since 1997 when Toyota first rolled out the Prius in Japan, it said.


Food Distributor Plans On Selling Company To Its Workers

March 8, 2011 3:25 am

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — The owners of a Goshen-based food distributor say they plan to sell the company to its 280 employees rather than risk selling it to a company that might move it. The Goshen News reports that Becky and Paris Ball-Miller will sell the company to its employees over the next 10 years.

Ford CEO Mulally Gets $56.5 Million Stock Reward

March 8, 2011 3:23 am

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has rewarded CEO Alan Mulally with stock worth $56.5 million before taxes. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., the man who hired Mulally, got stock worth $42.4 million. The Dearborn, Michigan, company disclosed the awards in filings Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Magna Rebounds Quickly After Devastating Plant Fire

March 8, 2011 3:20 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Part of a Michigan auto parts factory that was damaged by fire last week started producing again over the weekend, easing a parts shortage that had forced two auto companies to shut down some assembly lines. The fire Wednesday at a Magna International Inc. plant caused General Motors Co.


Western Digital Buys Hitachi Unit For $4.3 Billion

March 7, 2011 3:49 am

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Hard drive maker Western Digital Corp. is buying Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 billion in cash and stock. Western Digital said Monday that the deal includes $3.5 billion in cash, plus 25 million of its common shares. The stock is valued at $750 million based on the company's Friday closing stock price of $30.


Caterpillar Workers, UAW Approve Six-Year Contract

March 7, 2011 3:47 am

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The United Auto Workers says employees of Caterpillar Inc. have approved a new labor agreement. The UAW says a majority of members at Caterpillar approved the new six-year contract in voting Sunday. The union did not provide specific numbers on how members voted. The contract covers about 9,500 hourly production and maintenance workers at Caterpillar facilities in the Illinois cities of Peoria, Aurora, Decatur and Pontiac, and those in York, Pa.

Robot Connects Va. Manufacturer And Dominican Republic

March 7, 2011 3:43 am | by Rebecca Layne, Associated Press

CLEAR BROOK, Va. (AP) — In a house in the Dominican Republic, Erwin Deininger moves a computer mouse. Thousands of miles away in Frederick County, a 4-foot-tall state-of-the-art robot comes to life in a small factory, out of place among the old wood paneling and mechanical pencil sharpeners that adorn the walls and the steel machines that grind and crank on the factory floor.

Iowa Town Braces Itself For Electrolux's Departure

March 7, 2011 3:39 am | by Jane Curtis, Associated Press

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) — The end is rapidly approaching for Electrolux's presence as a major manufacturer in this town. As the scheduled March 31 closing date nears and production lines fall irreversibly still, the cavernous building will gradually fall silent. And, more than 4,000 miles away, corporate leaders in Stockholm, Sweden, will deliver to AB Electrolux stockholders the results of the multinational appliance manufacturer's efforts to pare down expenses and improve a different line: the corporate bottom line.


GM Restarts Lordstown Plant After 5-Day Shutdown

March 7, 2011 3:35 am

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Work will resume at a General Motors plant in northeast Ohio on Tuesday following last week's shutdown caused by a fire at an auto parts plant in Michigan. Tom Mock of General Motors Co. says shifts will begin at the Lordstown plant near Youngstown after significant progress has been made by Magna International Inc.


China's Trade Surplus Could Fall As It Reduces Exports

March 7, 2011 3:27 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's imports will rise and its politically volatile trade surplus should shrink this year as Beijing builds up a consumer-based economy to reduce reliance on trade, the commerce minister said Monday. The government's 2011 economic blueprint calls for nurturing self-sustaining growth by promoting consumer spending.

Foul-Smelling Plant Causes Local Children To Vomit

March 4, 2011 3:40 am

COACHELLA, Calif. (AP) — It's the Mecca everyone wants to make a pilgrimage away from. Complaints of foul odors sickening residents of the California desert community of Mecca have prompted a smog control agency to step up an air monitoring effort on Thursday. The South Coast Air Quality Management District said it has concluded that a waste recycling facility just north of Mecca is the source of the stinky fumes.


Economists: Factory Orders Rose 2 Percent In January

March 4, 2011 3:32 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses likely ordered more manufactured goods from U.S. factories in January, but much of the gain is expected to come from a sharp rise in volatile aircraft orders. Economists expect factory orders rose 2 percent in January. The new report will be released at 10 a.m. EST Friday.

GM Cancels Shifts Due To Fire At Major Supplier

March 4, 2011 3:29 am | by David Runk, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. canceled production shifts at assembly plants in Flint, Mich., and Lordstown, Ohio, and made changes at several others because of a fire at an auto parts plant in Michigan that makes interior components for a number of automakers, the company said Thursday.



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