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Nissan Recalls Nearly 196000 Vehicles

Nissan North America has decided to recall nearly 196,000 vehicles in the United States due to corrosion problems. According to this report, this is due to corrosion problems that can affect the steering and the suspension system. The recall extends to vehicles that were produced in 1997, including the Infiniti QX4 that was produced and marketed from 1996 to 2004. The affected areas according to the reports include the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington DC, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The recall order made by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration explains that in areas in the US where heavy concentrations of road salt are used, the mixture of water and the salt can compromise the strut tower housing of some vehicles. It added that when this happens, this will increase the steering effort and can even result to loss of steering control and in the end could compromise the life of the driver and the passengers.

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Toyota, Honda on top of Consumer Reports

In the issue of the magazine that will hit newsstands this March, Toyota is listed by Consumer Reports as one of the leading names when it comes to quality and reliable cars and trucks. Detroit automakers on the other hand topped one category. This was announced by the top editors of the magazine Thursday. This is just one of the many validations that the Japanese carmaker has gained ground and continues to  dominate when it comes to quality and reliable cars and trucks. The editors of the said magazine also noted the fact that the industry is under a tough economic test. Toyota took home the honors for the best mid-sized SUV for the Toyota Highlander.  Toyota also netted the best small SUV for its Rav4 and the Toyota Sienna was named as the best mini van. Toyota Motors is considered as the leading name for the year among individual categorie as it wins in four categories which also include the green car. And for the best over-all vehicle, then the honor goes to Lexus-made Lexus LS 460 which is the luxury division of Toyota.

Honda Motors is a big winner too, as this Japanese automaker was named as the top automaker for the third year in a row. The rankings of the company was based on the performance and the reliability of the vehicle. And these are determined thru testing and customer surveys. Honda tops the overall list with Subaru coming in second and Toyota was third. Asian car manufacturers are doing well for the third year in a row. According to an editor of Consumer Reports, Honda tend to build well-rounded vehicles that do well in CR tests and in customer reliability surveys.

General Motors scored for Chevrolet Avalanche as best pick-up, and this was the only top vehicle for General Motors. This replaced Chevy Silverado 1500.

Interesting:Google dismisses Atlantis find

Interesting news here as I was checking the news for this hour. The news report is all about the noise about the so-called images that were captured by Google Earth that impressionable users thought of as grid of streets and outlines of a big city on the sea floor around 960 km or 600 miles off the African coast. According to experts, this was one of the possible sites that were described by Plato. But Google immediately shot down the idea and the search engine added that the lines represented the sonar data that was collected from the boats. According to the company statement, what the observers have seen was an artefact of the data collection process. The sea floor terrain is often collected from boats using the sonar in order to take the measurements of the sea floor. The lines that were noticed by the observers reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.

Losses in billion$

According to some reports, Nissan may forecast a loss to as much as 1 billion USD. Based on the report, the announcement of that loss may happen this Monday when Nissan announces the third quarter earnings. The figures will reflect the slump that is happening in auto sales right now and this is also a reflection of the impact of the stronger yen. It is not just Nissan who has this problem. As reported too, rival Toyota Motors Corporation will be handed its first operating loss since World War. Nissan is Japan’s third largest automaker. The supposed ‘loss’ of Nissan is actually based on the survey conducted among analysts.

The latest news on Nissan is that the company is now also lining up for help. The company is now also seeking a federal efficiency loan in the US and this is the only Japanese car maker to do so. To be exact, Nissan is seeking the federal loan under the US program for the fuel-efficient automobiles and the company is competing with General Motors Corporation, Ford Motors and Tesla. The source of funds will be the Energy Department and loans will be taken out from the $25 billion fund. These will be the source of the low cost loans which can be  given to succesful applicants in one or two months. The rules for the low cost loans has been finalized last November and the department got 75 applications for projects and the overall project cost $38 billion. Of the 75, only 25 were considered as substantially complete.


Steve Jobs, Apple CEO take medical leave

The Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs has announced that he is taking a medical leave until June. The move by the company CEO confirms some of the loose talks that all is not well in the company or at least something is wrong on the health of their CEO. Steve Jobs is a cancer survivor too. Following the announcement of Steve Jobs, the shares of the company plunges 7 percent. The chief operating officer of Apple, Tim Cook will take over the responsibilities left by Steve Jobs. But it was announced that Jobs will still have a say on the company’s major strategic decisions. Just a week ago, the Apple CEO talked to company investors and employees about the current situation of his health and he added that his weight loss was caused by an easy-to-treat hormone deficiency. But the investors of the company were not convinced, and his health has served as a distraction for the company. For the past year, the shares of Apple have moved alongside the usual announcement about the condition of his health. And now, with the announcement of leave, the shares of the company dropped 7 percent. It was also Tim Cook who ran the company in 2004 when Steve Jobs was recovering from his cancer surgery. Others are saying that this will serve as Tim Cook’s trial period as Apple CEO. The shares of the company slid $6.03 to settle at $79.30 after the announcement and this figure was 7.1 percent lower than the original share price.

Detroit Auto Show starts without the usual glitz

And that’s according to news reports describing the preparation for the Detriot Auto Show. There are some noticeable absences for this year’s auto show in Detroit and this year’s show is dampened by the economic issues troubling the industry and the ill conditions of General Motors and Chrysler LLC which are under  government life support. The usual glitz and glamor that are trademarks of the shows of past will be off this year, probably because there no money to spend for these unnecessaary things. Some participants will be out for this year. A notable absence will be Nissan Motor Corporation. So what to expect at the show? The following is a listing of things to expect and see at this year’s auto show at Detroit:

  • Automakers are set to reveal 50 new models and this number is down for 59 which were showcased for 2008.
  • Toyota will introduce its own Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid
  • Honda will introduce its Honda Insight which is designed to directly compete with Toyota Prius
  • Chrysler will unveil a new technology for its electric vehicle prototypes
  • Ford will show off its electric vehilce strategy
  • General Motors will show some suprise too.

All will be scaled down a bit, and some reports added that some manufacturers spent less time in preparation for the Detroit Auto Show.

A look into everyday life..

Just got in from my masters class on financial management and point of discussion was led to what happened to business leaders this past weeks. They talked about the death of two businessmen, pushed by distress and the thought that they have lost their fortune. Said one co-student, “he was a victim of the financial crisis” and the professor said ” he failed to grasp the real meaning of life”. The professor added that everything was cyclical- that this crisis already happened and a growth will follow afterwards and this will happen once again in the future. True?

Is money, business and control of a business empire the end all be-all for these businessmen?

But according to some reports, money may not be totally the thing that pushed him to end his life. In one report, casual observers can be enlightened that the businessman lived modestly, in fact he cycled to work using his 15-year old bike and when weather is bad, he used his four year old Volkswagen Golf. The article added that he has no bodyguards and servants and lived in a simple home for the past 60 years. From there, the casual observer and a news follower like me will be convinced that money is not the primary motive. So what is? Perhaps its all about pride and control of business- knowing that he will lose control of the thing that he had founded and knowing that he had failed those who are working for him. Well what we, observers can do is to speculate and provide our own conjectures.

In another development, just got my grade for the ethics and accountability class and good to know I got the highest grade in the class. The professor did flunked some classmates, giving them 2.0 for their one semester effort. Others were given 1.4 and 1.5. Overall its a good day.

Adolf Merkcle Takes Own Life, which Businessman is Next?

German businessman and billionaire Adolf Merckle has committed suicide according to news reports. The German billionaire is ranked the 98th richest man in the world, and known in the industry as the one whose speculation in the volatile Volkswagen stock has pushed his business to the edge of ruin. In a family statement, the family said that the his distress on his firms that were caused by the financial crisis plus the uncertainties has broken the spirits of the businessman and ended his life. The police said that a note has been found, but this note was not made public. His involvement in Volkswagen was considered to be the main cause of his distress. It was his poorly timed bet on the Volkswagen shares caused much of his personal problems.

This is not the first time that a businessman took his own life simply because his business holdings are crumbling like house of cards. For sure there are a lot of cases out there, but what interests me was the other suicide which happened just before the year ends. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet also killed himself and the reason- the money lost over a failed business venture. In Rene-Thierry’s case, he lost his money in a Ponzi-like scheme ran by Madoff. Based on many news reports, the businessman lost his family and his client’s money which is worth $1.4 billion. And this, according to news reports depressed the businessman and led him to take his own life. He was found dead at his desk in New York, wrists slashed and bottle of pills seen near him. According to his brother, Rene-Thierry invested all of his own funds, plus the money of his friends and family on the scheme run by Bernard Madoff who in turn was arrested December 11 last year. These events will tells so much about the financial crisis and tells even more about man’s affinity to money. Perhaps, they cannot be faulted for doing that since they may have thrown away the money of others but if it is only their money then will that be enough reason to end one’s life?

Big Three lobbying hard for auto bail-out

The Democrats have signaled the move to propose a bail-out plan designed for the automotive industry. And now that the US Senate is about to tackle the plan this Monday, the Big Three are lobbying hard to get a piece of the bail-out pie. The amount that they are after? It’s $25 billion, enough to save them from big problems. On November 7, General and Motors said that they lost money in the third quarter. General Motors, the largest automaker in the US right now said that it lost $2.5 billion and added that it canceled its move to acquire Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co is another loser in the industry as it posted a $129 million loss in the third quarter and added that it will slash another 2,260 jobs.

Dems want to help the ailing auto industry

The Democrats in Congress are taking notice. They want to support the ailing US auto industry, and they want to provide more aid to the ailing sector which is bleeding in cash and jobs. The push was made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thru a letter that was sent to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. On the letter, the two lawmakers pushed for the expansion of the $700 billion bailout to include car companies. In the letter they said;

A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s work force. The economic downturn and the crisis in our financial markets further imperiled our domestic automobile industry and its work force.

This should be a welcome development for the automotive industry if the move will push thru.