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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) — A Canadian company has scaled back its initial plans to build a biofuels plant in Pontotoc County. Enerkem Corp. said last year it would invest $250 million in a new ethanol-producing plant that would create 150 jobs. It also would generate another 300 construction jobs during construction and startup phases.
BERLIN (AP) — BMW AG says it will suspend production for two days at three plants in Germany because of the effects of a ban on flights in much of Europe. BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt said production would be halted Wednesday and Thursday at plants in Dingolfing, Regensburg and Munich, and that Tuesday's late shift at Dingolfing also is off.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal investigators have cited a Columbus packing plant with nearly 30 health and safety violations following a fatal explosion. Fire officials have said sparks from a grinder ignited vapors set at the American Packaging Corp. in October. The grinder's operator, 47-year-old Jeffrey Doxtator, was killed in the ensuing explosion.
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Co. will fully repay the $6.7 billion loan portion of its U.S. government aid earlier than its previously promised payback date of June, a person briefed on the plans said Monday. GM CEO Ed Whitacre will announce details of the repayment during a visit Wednesday to the company's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan.
NEW YORK (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter profit fell 71 percent as sales of its high-end bikes remained sluggish. Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said the uncertain economy is likely to make business conditions challenging throughout the year. Still, the Milwaukee company's results beat analysts' forecasts, sending shares climbing in premarket trading.
BERLIN (AP) — Hydrogen, one of Earth's most abundant elements, once was seen as green energy's answer to the petroleum-driven car: easy to produce, available everywhere and nonpolluting when burned. Hydrogen energy was defeated by a mountain of obstacles — the fear of explosion by the highly flammable gas, the difficulty of carrying the fuel in large, heavy tanks in the vehicle, and the lack of a refueling network.