DuPont Gets Final Bids For DPC

DuPont ??has received three final bids for its performance coatings business, according to Reuters, citing people familiar with the situation. The business, which makes paints for cars and boats, is expected to fetch about $3.5 billion.

Japanese Car Parts Executive Pleads Guilty in Price-Fixing Conspiracy

??The US Justice Dept said an executive of Tokyo-based Yazaki Corporation has agreed to plead guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices of instrument panel clusters installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere. He is the 11th executive to be charged in the government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.

Toshio Sudo, a Japanese national, was charged with engaging in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of instrument panel clusters sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere. According to the charge, Sudo’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2003 until at least February 2009.
According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Sudo has agreed to serve 14 months in a US prison, to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the department’s investigation.
Including Sudo, seven companies and 11 executives have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd, DENSO Corp., Yazaki Corp., G.S. Electech Inc., Fujikura Ltd. and Autoliv Inc. pleaded guilty and were sentenced to pay a total of more than $785 million in criminal fines. TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH has agreed to plead guilty. Additionally, seven of the individuals have been sentenced to pay criminal fines and to serve jail sentences ranging from a year and a day to two years each.

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Hertz to Buy Competitor Dollar Thrifty for about US$2.3 billion

??Hertz Global Holdings said it will buy smaller rival Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group for about US$2.3 billion, ending more than two years of a protracted takeover battle.

Hertz and Avis have made several offers for Dollar Thrifty, but until now they have been blocked by disagreements over price and doubts about regulatory approval.
Hertz will pay buy Dollar Thrifty US$87.50 per share in cash, a premium of eight per cent over Dollar Thrifty’s Friday closing price of US$81 on the New York Stock Exchange, and far higher than the US$1.2 billion offer Hertz first made in April 2010.
Dollar Thrifty, the final big target in an industry that has consolidated rapidly, this month urged Hertz to end its failed takeover moves by making a compelling bid or letting it go ahead alone.
Several top Dollar Thrifty shareholders told Reuters last week they would accept a takeover offer from Hertz that valued the company at more than US$87 per share.
“Hertz has made a compelling offer to our stockholders that reflects the strength of our business,” Dollar Thrifty Chief Executive Scott Thompson said in a statement.
Hertz said late on Sunday (USA time) it expects at least US$160 million of annual cost savings from the transaction.

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US President Announces CAFE Figures for 2025

??President Barack Obama released a final version of a rule forcing car manufacturers to double average fuel economy by 2025 that includes changes benefiting makers of alternative-fuel vehicles.

“By the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today,” Obama said today in an e-mailed statement. “It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”
Corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, rules released last week and that will take effect later this year are supposed to reduce US oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and lead to fuel savings of more than $8,000 by 2025 over the life of a vehicle, the White House said.
Boosting average fuel economy is part of Obama’s plan to reduce oil imports and use. Promoting purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles can help reduce the use of fossil fuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the proposed rule for model years 2017 to 2025 in November after reaching an agreement with car manufacturers on the outline in July 2011. Auto executives from companies including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai stood with Obama at the Washington Convention Center to tout the agreement, which was the basis for the final rule.
The proposed rule granted incentives to plug-in electric and plug-in electric-hybrid vehicles, with the final rule adding natural-gas-powered cars to that list. Honda sells vehicles powered by natural gas.

German car manufacturers Daimler and Volkswagen didn’t sign agreements, saying the plan gave an advantage to light trucks, primarily made by US manufacturers. Honda, which signed the agreement, made similar assertions in e-mails.
Consumers have been slower to embrace electric vehicles than car manufacturers had hoped for, in spite of a $7500 US tax credit for buyers. Customers bought fewer Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs than was produced in 2011, the first year of US sales of plug-in electric vehicles made by mass-market manufacturers.

The new standards give car manufacturers flexibility in how to meet them and result in different improvement targets among car manufacturers. While they will require fuel-economy increases, because of the way the rule is structured and credits it offers car manufacturers, buyers won’t see fuel-economy gains of that scope on window stickers.
The fuel component of the rule will require an average of 4.74 litres per 100kms for car manufacturers’ fleets by 2025, while the corresponding carbon dioxide-emissions requirement will yield 4.31litres per 100kms.
Regulators can levy fines on car manufacturers who don’t meet the requirements, which are based on vehicles that consumers buy rather than the fleet produced by the manufacturers.

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Smash Repairers Fined for Unlicensed Work

Two partners in a vehicle repair business have been fined a total of $34,000 by the Perth (WA) Magistrates Court for operating without a licence and for misleading consumers.

Google Urges Aussie Businesses to Get Online

As the financial year comes to a close, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its latest research about how Australian businesses connect with the Internet. The results are encouraging