Inside these posts: Automakers

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Fiat sees ‘happiness’ in Chrysler ownership

Fiat SpA is pushing ahead with plans to get 51 percent of U.S. No.3 carmaker Chrysler, a goal that boss Sergio Marchionne defined on Wednesday as “happiness” for the Italian car maker. Get the full story »

Toyota may shift U.S. sales goals due to Japan

Toyota may have to change its U.S. sales targets because of production slowdowns in Japan and North America, the U.S. sales chief of the world’s largest automaker said on Tuesday. Get the full story »

Honda, Mazda to resume some production

Honda Motor and Mazda Motor on Thursday became the latest major automakers to say they would resume some production in Japan after halting plant operations following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. Get the full story »

Toyota to restart hybrid vehicle output in Japan

Workers walk between newly-assembled Prius vehicles near Toyota's plant in central Japan, Feb. 9, 2010. (Reuters/Yuriko Nakao/Files)

Toyota said Thursday it would restart production of three hybrid models Monday after a massive earthquake this month disrupted output across the industry.

Production will resume for the Prius, Lexus HS250h and CT200h at the Tsutsumi factory in central Japan and Toyota Motor Kyushu in the south, spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said. Get the full story »

Toyota says it will slow some U.S. production

Toyota Motor will slow some U.S. production due to supply disruptions caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Get the full story »

U.S. finds no defect in Toyota’s electronic throttles

A row of Toyota Prius cars at a sales lot in Daly City, Calif., Feb. 3, 2010. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A U.S. government investigation showed no link between electronic throttles and unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, a victory for the world’s top automaker battered by recalls over runaway vehicles.

The encouraging result for Toyota stems from a 10-month probe ordered by Congress following recalls of nearly 8 million of its best-selling models in the United States over defective floor mats and accelerator pedals that hurt its reputation for quality.

Some safety advocates and congressional investigators questioned whether software-driven throttles also played a role in unintended acceleration complaints. Get the full story »

Toyota lifts guidance despite decline in profits

Toyota Motor Corp. lifted its annual forecasts beyond market expectations as cost cuts and sales exceeded its plans, but a heavy reliance on exports will keep it a laggard as long as the yen stays strong.

The world’s top automaker posted a smaller-than-expected decline in third-quarter profit and raised its sales forecast for the year to March 31 by 70,000 vehicles to 7.48 million, thanks to better-than-expected sales in Asia, Japan and Russia. Get the full story »

Auto, engine makers sue EPA to block E15 use

U.S. automakers and engine makers sued the Environmental Protection Agency Monday over its decision to allow higher blends of ethanol for newer cars, saying it could cause confusion at the pumps and damage engines in older vehicles.

The suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to send the decision back to the EPA and asks the court to review whether the decision violates the Clean Air Act. Get the full story »

Honda to end Element production in April

The Honda Element. (MCT)

Honda Motor said Friday that it would cease production in April of its Element crossover, a slow-selling boxy vehicle that never quite caught on with the target audience of younger buyers.

Honda has only sold about 325,000 Elements in the United States since it entered production in December 2002 and the vehicle will end with the 2011 model year, Honda said.

“This vehicle was positioned as a ‘dorm room on wheels,’ but it never quite got the hip reputation’,” senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said. Get the full story »

GM injects $4 billion cash into pension funds

General Motors said on Thursday that it made a $4 billion cash contribution to pension plans for its U.S.-based hourly and salaried workers. Get the full story »

U.S. auto market picks up speed in November

Though still far from robust, the U.S. auto market continued its slow recovery in November as consumers headed for showrooms, enticed by heavy month-end advertising.

General Motors Co. the first of the major automakers to report Wednesday, said that November sales rose 21% from a year earlier, to 168,704 vehicles, after factoring out the Pontiac, Hummer, Saturn and Saab brands it closed or sold as part of its bankruptcy reorganization last year.

Through the first 10 months of this year — prior to the reports of November sales — the industry has been averaging about an 11% gain. Get the full story »

Overallotment makes GM IPO world’s biggest

General Motors Co’s underwriters exercised their full overallotment option, making the initial public offering of the U.S. automaker the biggest in the world, at $23.1 billion. Get the full story »

U.S. Treasury plans to reduce GM stake to 37%

The U.S. Treasury will raise gross proceeds of at least $11.8 billion in the General Motors Co. initial public offering, reducing its ownership stake in the bailed-out automaker to just under 37 percent. Get the full story »

GM offering may leave out many small investors

When General Motors finally offers stock to the public later this week, small investors will probably be left out in the cold.

Pension funds, mutual funds and other big institutions all want a piece of the rehabilitated GM. That means the three dozen banks divvying up the new shares may not have much left for individual investors.

And being left out of the initial public offering can mean being left out of some big profits: Shares of newly public companies sometimes jump 10 percent or more on the first day of trading, handing easy money to those lucky enough to get access at the offering price.

Nissan aims for 500K electric cars by 2013

The chief executive of Nissan Motor Co. says the automaker’s alliance with Renault could produce 500,000 electric vehicles a year globally by 2013. Get the full story »