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Published:Sunday | May 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Auto bill approved

WASHINGTON (AP):  Amid partisan sparring, a House panel has advanced a sweeping United States auto-safety bill that critics contend is too tough on the industry.

The legislation, approved 31-21 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the wake of the large Toyota Motor Corp recalls, now goes to the full House, where lawmakers hope to pass it later this year.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles around the globe, leading to the first major review of auto-safety laws in Congress in a decade.

Under provisions of the bill, automakers would be required to meet new safety standards to prevent unintended acceleration in vehicles - a key issue in the Toyota recalls. They also would face new rules for brake-override systems and vehicle black boxes and tougher penalties for slowing down a recall.

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Honda halts production

TOKYO (AP):

Honda Motor Co said Friday that production at three of its four plants in China remains suspended because of a lack of transmissions and engine parts caused by a strike at a parts maker, but will resume partially next week at the fourth.

Workers demanding better wages went on strike at Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co in the southern coastal province of Guangdong on May 17. The strike forced Honda to shut production at its four assembly plants earlier this week.

Honda declined to give details of the negotiations with workers Friday.

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Tata Motors posts profits

MUMBAI, India (AP):

Tata Motors reported higher-than-expected consolidated annual profits of US$549.7 million Thursday thanks to a turnaround in its Jaguar Land Rover business, stoking the global ambitions of India's largest vehicle maker, despite uncertainties from Europe's debt crisis.

Net profit for the fiscal year ending in March was 25.7 billion rupees (US$549.7 million), after a loss of 25.1 billion rupees (US$536.7 million) the previous year.

Revenues grew 30.5 per cent, to 925.2 billion rupees (US$2.0 billion) for the year.

Tata Motors did not break out quarterly results.

divestment

Executives said volume growth, as well as cost cutting, helped profits. So did the divestment of its stake in Telco Construction Equipment Company Ltd, which boosted income by 10.6 billion rupees (US$22.6 million), and Jaguar Land Rover's return to profitability.

"The Jaguar Land Rover business has shown consistent improvement," said Chief Financial Officer C. Ramakrishnan. He cautioned that rising commodities prices, currency fluctuations, uncertainty in Europe and increasing competition in India remain challenges.

Jaguar Land Rover, which had been losing money since its June 2008 acquisition from Ford Motor Co, started making money in the October-to-December-2009 quarter, thanks to improved market conditions and cost-cutting.


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Sound Ruption ends prematurely

Scores of patrons and auto sound system operators who turned up for Sound Ruption 5 at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay left wanting more as the event came to a premature end.

"The police said due to the civil unrest in Kingston, we had to end early," said promoter Kingsley Scott about the biannual St James event, the first of which was held on Sunday.

The promoter was, however, hopeful about the November staging.

"Sound operators could use this opportunity to settle their scores," he said. 

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India's company enters electric race

MUMBAI, India (AP):

Leading Indian utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has agreed to buy a majority stake in Reva Electric Car Co Ltd, the companies said Wednesday, as General Motors exits its partnership with the pioneering electric car company.

Mahindra's global ambitions are growing and the deal gives it entry into the worldwide market for electric vehicles, which has attracted players including Nissan, Toyota, Ford and General Motors.

"Our association with Reva will only help us further expand our green footprint both in India and overseas," Mahindra & Mahindra managing director Anand Mahindra said in a statement.

Under the deal, signed Wednesday, Mahindra will acquire 55.2 per cent of the company, to be renamed Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle Co.