DETROIT (AP) — Rising car and truck sales have prompted Ford Motor Co. to add a week of production at 13 North American factories so the company can make another 40,000 vehicles this year.
Ford said Tuesday that it would cut in half the normal two-week summer shutdown at six assembly plants and seven engine and parts plants. Normally auto plants close for two weeks around the July 4 holiday as they switch over to make vehicles for the next model year.
Through April, U.S. auto sales have been running at an annual rate over 14 million, up substantially from last year's 12.8 million. Ford sales through the first four months are up 5 percent over a year ago.
At Ford, most factories have been running at capacity, and the company is adding third shifts at three plants just this month to meet higher demand, said Jim Tetreault, vice president of North American Manufacturing. “Requiring more capacity from our plants is a good problem to have, and having the flexibility to add a week of production in our plants goes a long way toward solving it.”
Yahoo director may step down
The Associated Press
A published report says a Yahoo director who didn't challenge an inaccuracy in CEO Scott Thompson's academic record will step down from the troubled Internet company's board.
Patti Hart, the head of the Yahoo search committee that hired Thompson in January, won't seek re-election at the company's annual meeting later this year.
That's what unidentified people close to the situation told All Things D, a technology blog affiliated with the Wall Street Journal.
Bank contacting homeowners
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bank of America says it has begun contacting some its customers who may qualify to have their home loans reduced as part of a multistate settlement over alleged foreclosure abuses.
The bank said Tuesday that some of those more than 200,000 customers potentially in line for a reduction in the principal balance on their mortgage should receive letters about the program beginning this week.
Among the criteria to qualify, borrowers must owe more on their home than the property is worth.
McDonald's sales shy of forecasts
OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — McDonald's Corp. said Tuesday that a key revenue figure rose in April as strength in the U.S. and parts of Europe helped offset weakness in Japan. But the results fell short of Wall Street expectations and the fast food chain's own guidance.
Although McDonald's has consistently outperformed its rivals, the company is facing the same pressures from the turbulent global economy and rising costs for ingredients that are squeezing the entire industry.
The world's largest hamburger chain says global sales rose 3.3 percent at stores open at least 13 months in April. That was short of the 4.1 percent rise analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters, as well as the 4 percent rise McDonald's had forecast.
New colors for Empire State Building
NEW YORK (AP) — The Empire State Building will replace its tower lights with a computer-driven LED system that allows for nearly endless color combinations.
The iconic skyscraper's owner is partnering with Massachusetts-based Philips Color Kinetics to install the new light fixtures.
The top of the building is bathed in an ever-changing array of colors in honor of holidays and community organizations and for other occasions.
The new system includes a palette of more than 16 million colors. The present system has 10.
Currently, it takes a team several hours to change the colors. With LED lights, the color changes to the building's facade and mast can be made instantly.
Building owner Anthony Malkin says the energy-efficient technology will be in by September.
Small-business optimism back up
NEW YORK (AP) — Small-business owners recovered some of their optimism during April, but they're still wary about the economy.
The National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday that its index of small-business optimism rose 2 points last month, bringing it to 94.5. That makes up for the 2 points lost in March, but only returns the index to its February 2011 level. William Dunkelberg, the NFIB's chief economist, still classifies the reading as weak.
Job openings at three-year high
Job openings in the U.S. rose in March to the highest level in more than three years, a sign employers may be looking to take on more staff.
The number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 172,000 to 3.74 million, the most since July 2008, from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday. Hiring slowed and firings were little changed.
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