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Best of the Blogs, Transportation: Toyota Slow to Act in Fire Risk Probe


Plus, Ferrari chairman receives accolades from European Business Press Federation.

Link: Toyota problems mount as potential fire hazard now involves 1.4 million vehicles
"Just last week, we discussed one automaker that discovered a problem and initiated a voluntary recall. Compare that now with Toyota's (TM) corporate approach of sticking its head in the sand and hoping the problem disappears by itself.

"NHTSA says it is expanding an investigation of a potential fire hazard that now involves about 1.4 million Toyota cars and SUVs. Specifically, the federal agency says that the window switches on the driver's side door of a number of Toyota models can overheat and catch fire."

Link: Ferrari's Montezemolo lauded as the best manager in Europe
"Awards are handed out in the automotive industry all the time. Most of them, however, are handed out to one organization or publication's 'Car of the Year.' Ferrari (F.MI), however, has just been handed another kind of award altogether.

"Or rather its chairman has. Luca di Montezemolo was named by the European Business Press Federation as the European Manager of the Year. The organization represents over 50 publications in 27 countries, including The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Milano Finanza. It cited Montezemolo's 20 years at the helm of Ferrari, during which he returned the Scuderia to victory and doubled the company's financial revenues, all the while expanding into sixty countries around the world."

The Wall Street Journal: Driver's Seat
Link: Car Makers in India Cut Output as Gas Prices Hurt Demand
"More auto makers in India are making efforts to cut production as higher gasoline prices hit demand and add to concerns about the impact of the slowing economy and high borrowing costs.

"Executives at the Indian units of Toyota Motor Corp., Fiat SpA, Hyundai Motor Co. (HYMTF), and Honda Motor Co. (HMC) said they are either making fewer gasoline cars or halting production for a few days, or diverting excess stocks to overseas markets."

NationalJournal: Transportation Experts Blog
Link: Streamlining is Major Sticking Point
"The writing is pretty much on the wall. Lawmakers may say they're holding out for a conference transportation bill, but, let's face it, June 30th is fast approaching with no sign of a coming compromise. Senate Democrats are calling on House Republicans to pass a bill; House Republicans accuse Senate Democrats of being unwilling to negotiate. No one's suggesting a bill is imminent.

"One of the key hurdles to compromise, House Republicans say, is finding common ground on their environmental streamlining measures."

The Detroit News: Autos
Link: More firms to offload pensions
"General Motors Co.'s (GM) deal to cut pension obligations by $26 billion and shift plans to Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) is poised to fuel more transfers as U.S. firms face a retirement-funding shortfall the size of Greece's debt.

"MetLife Inc. (MET) and Prudential are among insurers that expect the GM deal to encourage more corporations to offload plans. Pension liabilities exceed assets by more than $435 billion, according to a Bloomberg review of data disclosed by firms in the Russell 1000 Index of large U.S. companies. Greece, facing demands for austerity measures in exchange for rescue funds, had total debt of about $450 billion at the end of 2011."
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