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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Toyota's March Sales Jump 35 Percent

March 31, 2010 4:12 am

NEW YORK (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp's U.S. sales rocketed about 35 percent in March from a year before after Japan's top automaker offered sharp discounts to lure back consumers after massive recalls, U.S. media reported Tuesday. The forecast was provided by Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.

Nine Arrested For Drug Use At N.C. Goodyear Plant

March 31, 2010 4:08 am

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies have arrested nine employees at a North Carolina tire plant on drug charges after an undercover investigation prompted by employees' concerns. The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday that agents posing as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

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Laid Off Workers Win Appeal Over 'English-Only' Plant

March 30, 2010 5:04 am

Fresno, Calif. (AP) — A Federal appeals court has ordered a new trial for nearly two dozen women who were laid off from a Fresno plant for failing to get a perfect score on an English-only skills test. The workers had sued NIBCO Inc., an Indiana-based irrigation systems manufacturer, in 1999.

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Elkhart RV Manufacturer Expands, Adds 265 Jobs

March 30, 2010 5:02 am

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana recreational vehicle manufacturer is expanding its Elkhart operations and plans to hire up to 265 new workers by 2013. Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC announced Monday that it will invest more than $2.6 million to buy and equip a 125,000 square-foot manufacturing complex in Elkhart.

Toyota Promises Quality Control Overhaul

March 30, 2010 5:01 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOYOTA, Japan (AP) — Toyota promised to respond faster to customer complaints as it held its first meeting of a quality experts committee set up to help salvage a reputation battered by massive recalls and reports of runaway vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp. appointed chief quality officers in key regions — including North America — where the biggest problems have surfaced to convey customer complaints quickly to its headquarters.

Wildlife Officials Protest Nestle Water Bottling Plant

March 30, 2010 4:54 am

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. (AP) — Foes of a proposed Nestle Waters North America bottling plant in Cascade Locks, Ore., on Monday handed state wildlife officials petitions bearing 3,700 signatures of people against the project. Nestle's plan is to tap a nearby spring that supplies an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery.

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Survey: More Companies Considering Chinese Relocation

March 30, 2010 4:42 am

NEW YORK — Multinational manufacturers are increasingly focused on accessing the growing China market while the number of companies viewing China purely as an export base continues to decline, according to the third annual China Manufacturing Competitiveness survey, jointly conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) and management consulting firm Booz & Company.

Geely To Put $900M More Into Volvo

March 30, 2010 4:23 am

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group expects to spend hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the $1.8 billion purchase price for Volvo Cars to make the Swedish car company profitable, Geely's chairman said Tuesday. Geely is projecting a total tab of $2.7 billion for its takeover of Volvo, with money beyond the purchase price to be spent on expanding production, chairman Li Shufu told reporters.

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Edy's Adds Jobs As Consumers Demand "Comfort Food"

March 29, 2010 5:14 am

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Making ice cream is no cake walk. Some time ago, an Edy's Grand Ice Cream job candidate was asked what he thought working at the Fort Wayne plant would be like. The description smacked of Willy Wonka. "He thought there were these huge mixing bowls with guys standing on ladders stirring the ice cream with large wooden spoons," said Gaylord Brooks, a production floor leader and 15-year veteran at the local Edy's plant.

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Toyota Shares Prius Technology With Mazda

March 29, 2010 4:56 am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota will provide its key hybrid technology to Mazda under a licensing agreement reached Monday, the two companies said. Toyota Motor Corp., the world's leader in hybrids, will supply Mazda Motor Corp. the key components of its hybrid system used in the top-selling Prius, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Hormel Opens $80M Plant In Iowa

March 29, 2010 4:49 am

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — Hormel Foods Corp. officially opens its new $80 million plant in Dubuque, Iowa Tuesday — the first plant the company has built from the ground up in more than a decade. The plant has been operating for a couple months, but will host a grand opening. It's already producing microwaveable meals.

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Rio Tinto Sentencing "Very Harsh"

March 29, 2010 4:43 am

SHANGHAI, China — A Chinese court slapped four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto with jail terms of seven to 14 years on bribery and commercial secrets charges, unexpectedly harsh sentences that include a decade of imprisonment for Australian Stern Hu. The punishment for Hu was a "very tough sentence," Australia's foreign minister said after the verdict was read out Monday by the lead judge at the Shanghai People's Intermediate Court.

Employee Admits To Tainting Product Over Pay Concerns

March 29, 2010 4:25 am

BEIJING, March 28 (Kyodo) — A suspect caught in the poison dumpling case, which caused anxiety in Japan over the safety of foods imported from China, has admitted during questioning earlier this month that he tainted the food with pesticide, the Ministry of Public Security said Sunday.

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Ford Reaches Agreement To Sell Volvo

March 29, 2010 4:17 am

DEARBORN, Mich., March 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Volvo Car Corporation and related assets to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010, and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals.

Geely, Ford Could Finalize Volvo Sale Sunday

March 26, 2010 6:06 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A spokesman for Volvo Cars says that China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group could sign a binding deal to buy the Swedish automaker from Ford Motor Co. this weekend. Geely and Ford have earlier said that they expect to pen it by the end of March. Volvo spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said Friday that the deal could be reached on Sunday, "but it's not set in stone yet.

Late 2009 Economic Growth Teases Manufacturers

March 26, 2010 5:05 am | by Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The burst of energy the economy showed at the end of last year isn't likely to be repeated anytime soon. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the economy grew at a 5.6 percent pace in the October-to-December quarter in its third and final estimate of economic activity during the period.

Toyota Ceasing Production In France, UK For 9 Days

March 26, 2010 4:42 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota said Friday it is stopping production at its factories in France and Britain for a total of nine days amid falling sales that the company partly attributed to its recent recall woes. The world's No. 1 automaker will suspend output at it plant in France for four days starting April 6, said spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi.

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Siemens AG: Industrial Sector To Stabilize This Year

March 26, 2010 4:39 am

FRANKFURT (AP) — Siemens AG expects demand for products from its industrial division to stabilize this year after the economic downturn hit spending on big-ticket items, the Munich-based company said Friday. Assuming there is a steady economic recovery, new orders in the sector should reach the level of the company's 2009 fiscal year, which ended in September, Siemens said.

GM Recalls 600 Canadian Workers

March 26, 2010 4:35 am

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. says it will bring back 600 workers and add equipment at two Canadian factories in order to turn out more hot-selling midsize crossover vehicles. The company said Friday that it will beef up the body-making capacity at its plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, where it assembles the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers.

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Last Day For 465 At Evansville Whirlpool Plant

March 26, 2010 4:33 am

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — More than 450 jobs are being eliminated as Whirlpool Corp. ends a production shift at an Evansville factory that is being shut down in June. Union officials say Friday was the last day for 465 workers at the plant. Whirlpool announced last year that it would shut down the 1,100-worker refrigerator factory and move production to Mexico.

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