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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Malaysia Eases Auto Curbs To Woo Foreign Carmakers

January 20, 2014 10:35 am | by Eileen Ng, Associated Press | News | Comments

Malaysia unveiled a new auto policy Monday, offering incentives and easing curbs on the production of small, energy-efficient cars to vie for investment with neighboring rivals Thailand and Indonesia.               

Panasonic To Sell 3 Overseas Chip Assembly Plants

January 17, 2014 9:57 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The move is part of efforts by the Japanese electronics manufacturer to accelerate outsourcing of its slumping semiconductor manufacturing operation. Last month, the company said it will sell off three of its semiconductor plants in central Japan to an Israeli chipmaker.

PwC 2014 Manufacturing Trends Predictions

January 17, 2014 9:04 am | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

Every January, companies make predictions about the year ahead and what trends they should expect. Bobby Bono, the U.S. industrial manufacturing leader at PwC, has assembled a list of trends he is predicting for the manufacturing sector moving forward.

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European Car Market Endures Longest Slump Ever

January 16, 2014 9:55 am | by Colleen Barry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The European car market has endured its longest slump ever with a sixth straight year of contraction in 2013, but an unexpected surge in December sales may signal recovery, according to industry data released Thursday.         

China Reduces Solar Power Costs With Large-Scale Manufacturing

January 16, 2014 9:27 am | Videos | Comments

Over the past decade, China has become the world's leading manufacturer of solar energy technologies. China's solar manufacturers have helped drive down the cost of solar panels by using large-scale production practices, spurring the European Union to set a minimum price for Chinese solar panels sold in Europe. 

Ford's European Sales Down In 2013

January 15, 2014 10:03 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford's money-losing European business saw sales fall 2.1 percent last year in a tough market where unemployment and a slow recovery are holding back buyers. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker sold 1.08 million cars in 19 European countries, as sales slipped for two of the company's mainstay models, the small Fiesta hatchback and compact Focus.

Accelerating Operational Excellence: Q&A With LNS’s Mark Davidson

January 15, 2014 9:30 am | by Greg Goodwin, Research Associate, LNS Research | Articles | Comments

When you consider some of the challenges that manufacturers face across industries today — they’re unprecedented. The pressures of global supply and demand dynamics, supply chain complexities, disparate production locations and systems, regulations, and other factors have forced manufacturers to reevaluate operations and optimize them everywhere possible in order to remain competitive and profitable.

U.S. Import Prices Drop, Export Prices Rise In December

January 14, 2014 2:02 pm | by Bureau of Labor Statistics | News | Comments

U.S. import prices recorded no change in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following declines of 0.9 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October. In December, higher fuel prices offset declining nonfuel prices. U.S. export prices advanced 0.4 percent in December, after edging up 0.1 percent the previous month.

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GM Global Sales Hit 9.7M Last Year, Beats VW

January 14, 2014 1:54 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors sold 9.71 million cars and trucks last year, probably not enough to beat out Toyota for the global sales crown, but about 2 million better than Volkswagen. Toyota, the sales champion in 2012, will report its sales next week. It only needs to show a little growth to beat GM again.

U.S. Challenges China Over High-Tech Steel Imports

January 14, 2014 9:56 am | by Matthew Pennington, Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. is accusing China of failing to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling against China's imposition of duties on high-tech American steel. Washington says the duties caused a $250 million annual drop in exports. The ruling concerns grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel that is used primarily by the power generating industry.

Bourbon Truly American, Despite Foreign Ties

January 14, 2014 9:47 am | by Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press | News | Comments

The planned $13.62 billion acquisition of the owner of Jim Beam and Maker's Mark by a Japanese company adds two more classic brands to the lineup of bourbon staples tied to foreign-based parent companies. Wild Turkey and Four Roses are other historic brands with foreign ownership connections.

Lexus Makes Kentucky Home To New U.S.-Made Lexus

January 13, 2014 1:48 pm | by Industrial Maintenance and Plant Operation | News | Comments

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) recently announced that construction is underway at the assembly line that will produce the first U.S.-made Lexus. Last April, TMMK announced it would localize production of the ES 350, which has never been assembled outside of Japan.

Philip Morris Int'l Building Facility In Italy

January 10, 2014 2:08 pm | by Michael Felberbaum, AP Tobacco Writer | News | Comments

Overseas Marlboro maker Philip Morris International Inc. says it's investing up to 500 million euros (about $680 million) for a manufacturing facility and pilot plant in Italy to make new tobacco products.The company said Friday the facilities near Bologna will produce its so-called "reduced-risk" tobacco products.

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China's December Exports Slow, Imports Accelerate

January 10, 2014 10:04 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's export growth slowed in December while imports accelerated, possibly helping to temper fears of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. Exports rose 4.3 percent to $207.7 billion, slowing from November's 12.7 percent expansion, trade data showed Friday.

Is Chrysler An ‘American’ Automaker Any More?

January 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Articles | Comments

Chrysler has technically been “foreign-owned” since July 2011, but the recent deal makes it all the more real: Chrysler might be an American-headquartered company, but it’s also a fully-owned subsidiary of an Italian company. That’s an important distinction, one that means Chrysler simply isn’t in the same playing field as Ford and GM, no matter each of their origins.

Mazda Starts Production At New Plant In Mexico

January 9, 2014 1:31 pm | by The Association For Manufacturing Technology | News | Comments

Mazda Motor Corporation announced that production has begun at its new plant in Mexico. The plant, named Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation* (MMVO), is located in Salamanca, in the state of Guanajuato.               

Ford Fiesta Back In Japan Despite Past Failure

January 9, 2014 11:57 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Japan Ford President Toshio Morita, unveiling the 2.29 million yen ($22,900) model Thursday, declined comment on trade barrier and currency manipulation allegations being voiced by Ford Motor Co. headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and other U.S. automakers.

Game-changing Joint Ventures In The Manufacturing Sector

January 9, 2014 9:19 am | by KPMG's Global Joint Ventures Practice | Videos | Comments

Steve Burch, of KPMG's Global Joint Ventures Practice, explores some key opportunities and challenges for the Manufacturing sector and how joint ventures and alliances, if well planned and executed, can help deliver growth.       

EU Makes Carbon Pollution More Expensive

January 8, 2014 1:07 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The European Union says it is beefing up its carbon trading system to make it more expensive for utilities and other businesses to burn fossil fuels. EU officials on Wednesday voted for a proposal that ended a year of bickering over how to amend what is Europe's prime tool in the fight against climate change.

Workers: 'Despair' Led To Kidnapping Goodyear Bosses

January 7, 2014 1:07 pm | by Lori Hinnant, Associated Press | News | Comments

Two Goodyear bosses held captive by workers spent the night inside a factory in northern France that the company wants to close. The plant, which Goodyear has tried to sell or shutter for five years, has become an emblem of France's labor issues. 

U.S. Trade Deficit Declines

January 7, 2014 9:54 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. trade deficit fell in November to its lowest level in four years, an encouraging sign for economic growth. Gains in energy production and stronger sales of American-made airplanes, autos and machinery lifted exports to an all-time high.

Domestic Minerals Production Could Boost Manufacturing

January 7, 2014 9:14 am | by Hal Quinn, CEO, National Mining Association (NMA) | Articles | Comments

After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. But one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.

Ford Sales Increase By Nearly 50 Pct. In China

January 6, 2014 2:07 pm | by Ford Motor Company | News | Comments

Ford China sold 935,813 wholesale vehicles in 2013, a 49 percent increase from 626,616 vehicles in 2012. In 2013, Ford also dramatically expanded its imported vehicle offerings in China, with the introduction of the Ford Focus ST, the Ford Fiesta ST, and the Ford Explorer.

Russia's First WTO Dispute Targets EU Duties

January 6, 2014 1:47 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The World Trade Organization says the dispute is the first to be initiated by Russia since it became a full member of the Geneva-based WTO in August 2012. In a statement Monday, the WTO said Russia is seeking consultations with the EU over its anti-dumping duties on Russian steel products and ammonium nitrate, which is mainly used in fertilizer.

Utah Gun Maker Turns Down $15M Deal With Pakistan

January 6, 2014 9:33 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Mike Davis, sales manager at Desert Tech, said the company was on a short list for a contract with Pakistan, but spurned the opportunity because of unrest in Pakistan and ethical concerns. It was a difficult decision because of the amount of money involved, he said, and the sale of rifles to Pakistan would have been legal.

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