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Top Headlines - part 3

Bridgestone Buys Pep Boys for $835 Million

Bridgestone Buys Pep Boys for $835 Million

BUSINESS

  • Purchase expands Bridgestone’s presence in U.S.
  • Pep Boys on market since June
  • Bridgestone brings back retired tire line

Japanese tire manufacturer Bridgestone Corp. is purchasing Pep Boys-Manny, Moe and Jack for $835 million, expanding its U.S. presence.

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Voice-Activated Systems Distract Drivers

Voice-Activated Systems Distract Drivers

BUSINESS

  • Systems take drivers’ attention off road for more than 20 seconds
  • Hands-free systems are not safe
  • Chevy Equinox system the least distracting

Hands-free technology distracts drivers and is no safer than other systems, according to a study by the University of Utah. The study was funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The study found that using the systems took drivers’ minds off the road for up to 27 seconds after ending an application. The distraction happened both with car infotainment systems and smartphones.

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Japanese Automakers Betting on Environmentally Friendly Cars

Japanese Automakers Betting on Environmentally Friendly Cars

BUSINESS

  • Models showcased at Tokyo auto show
  • Automakers believe in investing in new technologies
  • Customers have been slow to adopt green vehicles

Japanese automakers Honda Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. are betting hydrogen fuel-cell cars, electric cars and hybrids represent the future of the market as all three showcased vehicles at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The move comes after the Volkswagen scandal highlighted diesel vehicles were waning in popularity, especially in Europe, and after the Japanese government began offering subsidies to buyers aimed at cutting the nation’s reliance on nuclear power and imported oil.

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General Motors Issues Yet Another Recall for Oil Issue

General Motors Issues Yet Another Recall for Oil Issue

BUSINESS

  • 1.4 million previously recalled vehicles included
  • More than 1,000 fires reported
  • Fiat also recalls 180,000 vehicles

General Motors Co. has issued its fourth recall for vehicles in which dripping oil can come in contact with hot engine exhaust manifold and start a fire.

The recall affects 1.4 million vehicles, the majority in the U.S., with 3.8 liter V8 engines. Models included are the 1997-2004 Buick Regal, 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala, 1998-99 Lumina, 1998-2004 Monte Carlo, 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue and the 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix.

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Toyota is Again World’s Top Automaker

Toyota is Again World’s Top Automaker

BUSINESS

  • Toyota narrowly beats Volkswagen
  • General Motors is number three
  • Volkswagen to take hit in fourth quarter

During the third quarter, Toyota Motor Corp. again retook the title of the world’s largest automaker as Volkswagen AG fell back to number two.

Toyota sold slightly less than 7.5 million vehicles during the first nine months of the year. However, that’s 1.5% less than the same period in 2014.

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Toyota Recalls 6.5 Million Vehicles for Window Switch Issue

Toyota Recalls 6.5 Million Vehicles for Window Switch Issue

BUSINESS

  • There have been reports of fire, injury
  • This is the fourth recall for this issue
  • Toyota debuts vehicles with “Back the Future” theme

Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 6.5 million vehicles worldwide because of a defective power window switch which can cause a fire: including 2.7 million in North America, 1.2 million in Europe and 600,000 in Japan.

The switches do not have enough lubricant grease, allowing debris to accumulate. This can lead to a short circuit, melted components and fire.

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Mixed Results for General Motors’ Third Quarter Earnings

Mixed Results for General Motors’ Third Quarter Earnings

BUSINESS

  • North America sets post-bankruptcy record
  • Global profit increased 40%
  • Losses seen in many international markets

It was a mixed bag for General Motors Co. in the third quarter as a post-bankruptcy record in North America offsets losses elsewhere.

In North America, results were the company’s best since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009. Profit was $3.29 billion, a 34% increase from 2014, while revenue was $27.8 billion. Sales grew 5.2%.

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Electric Motorcycle Company Claims it was Ruined by Apple

Electric Motorcycle Company Claims it was Ruined by Apple

BUSINESS

  • Apple recruited top engineers
  • Apple will not acknowledge it is developing a car
  • Other companies making similar claims

Electric motorcycle startup Mission Motors claims Apple Inc.’s aggressive recruiting of its top engineers forced the company to cease operations in May and file for bankruptcy in September.

Mission had been struggling to secure funding and perfect its business model. The majority of the recruiting began last year while Mission was raising funding and caused one investor to back out.

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Kia Recalls 377,000 Sorentos for Brake Issue

Kia Recalls 377,000 Sorentos for Brake Issue

BUSINESS

  • Transmission can slip out of park by itself
  • Three injuries report
  • Optima now more fuel efficient

Korean automaker Kia Motors America has recalled 377,062 Sorento crossovers model years 2011-2013 because of a problem with the brake mechanism, according to paperwork filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Excessive forces can cause the brake-shift interlock mechanism to crack or chip which may lead to the transmission shifting out of park without the brake being depressed. This can make the vehicle roll.

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Volvo Adding Electric Vehicles to Its Lineup

Volvo Adding Electric Vehicles to Its Lineup

BUSINESS

  • Also will invest in hybrids
  • Diesel market declining globally
  • Volvo saw increased sales last month

Swedish automaker Volvo Car Group will be adding an all-electric car to its lineup and will expand its hybrid models as diesel autos decline in popularity, the company said in a statement.

"We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream," CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in the statement. "We are confident that in two years' time, 10% of Volvo's global sales will be electrified cars."

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