Emissions ruling favors Toyota
A California state arbitrator ruled late last week that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. should not have to recall 330,000 cars and trucks there to change the calibration on their emissions systems.
The ruling is nonbinding and can be overturned by the California Air Resources Board, the agency that has ordered the recall. But the decision may strengthen Toyota's position in the case.
Toyota and CARB are fighting over whether the automaker must recall its 1995, 1996 and 1997 models. CARB contends that the onboard diagnostics in those models do not go far enough to monitor emissions. Toyota maintains that the monitoring systems met the standards at the time.
As a result of that legal fight, the federal EPA has sued Toyota to force it to recall 2.2 million vehicles nationwide for the same reason.
WTO ruling could hurt U.S. makers
WASHINGTON - U.S.-based carmakers and parts suppliers are among the companies that stand to lose billions of dollars in tax breaks because of a World Trade Organization decision made public last week.
Acting on a complaint by the European Union, the WTO ruled that a 1984 tax break for subsidiaries of U.S. businesses set up to handle their exports is an unfair trade subsidy. The EU said the break gives U.S. companies a benefit of about $4 billion a year. U.S. Treasury officials have estimated the revenue loss at less than $2.5 billion a year.
In any case, Fred Murray, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, the group coordinating the fight for U.S. exporters, said Friday, Feb. 25, that the tax benefit can make the difference for a company trying to enter an overseas market. He said the exporters favor negotiating an agreement with the EU to settle the dispute rather than repealing the tax break.
Ford extends gasket warranty
Ford Motor Co. announced late Friday, Feb. 25, that it is extending the warranty on head gaskets for some 3.8-liter V-6 engines to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Affected vehicles, more than 700,000 of them, include the 1994 Lincoln Continental, 1994-95 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable and 1995 Ford Windstar.
The company has been the target of a class action lawsuit by owners.
Southeast Asia sales rise 51%
TOKYO - In a dramatic comeback from the region's economic woes, combined vehicle sales in the four largest Southeast Asian markets rose 51.4 percent last year, to 675,765, according to figures compiled by Visteon Automotive Systems.
Sales rose in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia but fell in the Philippines.
Sales rose 76.1 percent in Malaysia, to 288,547; 51.5 percent in Thailand, to 218,330, and 62 percent in Indonesia, to 94,474. Sales fell 7.2 percent in the Philippines, to 74,414.