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Top Headlines - part 10

Kia Recalls 87,000 2014 Fortes in U.S. for Fire Hazard

Kia Recalls 87,000 2014 Fortes in U.S. for Fire Hazard

BUSINESS

South Korean auto manufacturer Kia Motors America is recalling 86,880 Kia Fortes in the U.S. because a defect with the cooling unit poses a fire hazard.

The cooling unit resistor can overheat and melt.

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Toyota Top Automaker Again in 2014

Toyota Top Automaker Again in 2014

BUSINESS

  • Volkswagen a close second
  • U.S., Chinese markets seen as areas of growth
  • Toyota forecasts sales to slow in 2015

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. has maintained the position of top automaker in the world for the third consecutive year.

In 2008, Toyota took over the top spot from General Motors Co., which was number one for 70 years.

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Tesla Considering Franchise Dealerships in the U.S.

Tesla Considering Franchise Dealerships in the U.S.

BUSINESS

  • Auto manufacturer may be open to franchising dealerships
  • Franchise laws pose challenge to Tesla
  • Tesla CEO proposes hyperloop track in Texas

Electric-car manufacturer Tesla is considering franchise dealerships in the United States in order to reach its 2020 goal of selling 500,000 vehicles annually. Dealerships would need to follow Tesla’s requirements.

The company currently sells its cars via manufacturer-owned outlets. However, in some states manufacturer-owned outlets are illegal due to franchising laws that required new cars be sold only through licensed dealerships.

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Johnson & Johnson Fourth Quarter Profit Drops 28%

Johnson & Johnson Fourth Quarter Profit Drops 28%

BUSINESS

  • Company hurt by exchange rates, slower sales
  • Earnings were close to analysts expectations
  • New drugs helped offset drop in revenue

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson recorded a 28% drop in sales during the fourth quarter, caused by exchange rates and slower sales in some divisions.

Domestic sales grew 7.4% to $8.60 billion compared to a year before.

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Google Stops Selling Google Glass, Developing New Version

Google Stops Selling Google Glass, Developing New Version

BUSINESS

  • Google Glass a commercial failure
  • Produce faced concerns over privacy
  • Competitors have more realistic versions of Google Glass

Tech giant Google Inc. announced it stopped selling Google Glass and has delayed the debut of Google Glass 2.

Only last month Chairman Eric Schmidt said Google Glass 2 would be available soon. Now Google says it won’t be available until the company is ready.

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Target Closing All Canadian Stores

Target Closing All Canadian Stores

BUSINESS

  • Stores weren’t expected to turn a profit until 2021
  • Closures will cost company
  • Retailer had rushed Canadian debut

Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. retail chain, is ending its Canadian subsidiary and will focus on growing its American business.

Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell explained the closure in a statement: "After a thorough review of our Canadian performance and careful consideration of the implications of all options, we were unable to find a realistic scenario that would get Target Canada to profitability until at least 2021. Personally, this was a very difficult decision, but it was the right decision for our company,"

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Tesla’s Goal is to Reach 1 Million Cars Produced by 2025

Tesla’s Goal is to Reach 1 Million Cars Produced by 2025

BUSINESS

  • Company not expected to turn a profit until 2020
  • New models to help automaker reach its production goals
  • Chevrolet Bolt to compete with Tesla Model

U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. plans to increase production to a few million vehicles per year by 2025, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said at the Automotive News World Congress.

In 2014, less than 40,000 cars were produced. During the fourth quarter, sales in China were weak due to a misperception about how electric vehicles are charged, a problem Musk said would be fixed this year.

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Instacart Raises $220 Million in Additional Funding

Instacart Raises $220 Million in Additional Funding

BUSINESS

  • Several investors have backed startup
  • Company grew tenfold in 2014
  • Future growth in online grocery delivery unclear

Grocery store delivery startup Instacart has raised an additional $220 million from investors, valuing the company at $2 billion, in order to expand its offerings and its market. Previously, the startup had raised $55 million.

Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group.

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Dollar Tree Ready to Back out of Family Dollar Offer

Dollar Tree Ready to Back out of Family Dollar Offer

BUSINESS

  • Dollar Tree CEO says company has lost patience
  • Family Dollar has delayed vote twice
  • Dollar Store bid viewed as much riskier

Dollar Tree Inc. has told Family Dollar Stores Inc. shareholders to accept its $8.5 billion cash and stock bid or the retailer will withdrawal its bid.

Dollar Tree Chief Executive Officer Bob Sasser said the chain has run out of patience, and waiting additional time for a decision will drive up financing costs.

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Samsung Posts First Annual Decline since 2011

Samsung Posts First Annual Decline since 2011

BUSINESS

  • Drop in smartphone sales contributed to decline
  • Company may rebound with microchips, devices
  • Smartphone rivals taking advantage of Samsung drop

South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics Co. says 2014 will be the first year with an annual decline in profit since 2011.

During the fourth quarter, profit was $4.7 billion, a 37% decline from 2013 and the fifth consecutive quarter to post a decline. Sales dropped 12%. In the third quarter, the decline was 60% and profit margins shrank to 7%.

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