Archive for August, 2010

U.S. agency steps up probe into Corolla stalling (Reuters)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | Finance News

DETROIT (Reuters) – U.S. auto safety regulators have stepped up an investigation into the risk that up to 1.2 million Toyota Motor Corp Corolla and Matrix vehicles could stall due to defective electronic engine control units.

Regulators began an engineering analysis on August 18 into reports of stalling in Corolla and Matrix cars from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 model years, sold only in North America.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had received 26 complaints of vehicles stalling when it opened a preliminary evaluation at the end of November 2009. It reported 163 complaints when it opened the engineering analysis.

The investigation, which said Toyota had found two potential causes of production defects in the engine control units, comes in a period of intense scrutiny for Toyota, which has recalled about 11 million vehicles in the past year.

"The engine can stall at any speed without warning and not restart," NHTSA said in a report on its website.

A Toyota spokesman in Tokyo said the company would continue cooperating with NHTSA's investigation. In a March 2 letter to NHTSA, Toyota's North American regulatory affairs manager Chris Santucci said the company did not believe the alleged defect "creates an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety."

Shares of Toyota ended morning trade down 0.6 percent in Tokyo, outperforming the broader Topix index's 0.9 percent fall.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Detroit and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo; editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Michael Watson)

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GE denied motion to dismiss Mitsubishi suit (Reuters)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two Mitsubishi Corp units said on Monday a U.S. District Court has denied a motion by General Electric Co to dismiss their lawsuit charging GE with trying to monopolize the U.S. market for variable speed wind turbines.

The units, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Lt and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc, said the judge did decide to stay discovery in the suit, filed the U.S. District Court's Western District of Arkansas in May.

In the complaint, Mitsubishi had alleged that after it gained foothold in the United States in 2006, GE embarked on an anti-competitive scheme to drive Mitsubishi suppliers out of the market.

"The judge did decide to stay discovery for the present," said Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas spokeswoman Sonia Williams.

"Nevertheless, we are heartened by his suggestion that he may terminate the stay if he finds appropriate circumstances.

A spokesman for GE was not immediately available.

The two companies have been escalating a legal battle over wind turbine technology. In January, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Mitsubishi Heavy did not infringe GE wind turbine patents. GE has said it will appeal. In February, GE filed a lawsuit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and two U.S. units, accusing them of infringing two patents used in variable speed wind turbines.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Feds to spill commission: Drilling ban stays (AP)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 | Finance News

WASHINGTON – The top federal offshore oil drilling regulator is telling the presidential oil spill commission that the temporary halt to deepwater drilling will remain in place for a few more months.

The Interior Department issued the moratorium after the deadly April 20 BP oil rig explosion. It was overturned in court and reissued on July 13.

Louisiana officials and residents have pleaded with the oil spill commission to do something about the moratorium. The presidential panel asked Interior officials whether they had any say in the matter and whether individual rigs could get exceptions.

The nation's top drilling regulator, Michael Bromwich, says he will propose a replacement for the moratorium by Halloween and leans against exceptions.

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