Sabtu, 8 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Business

China to extend subsidies on electric cars past 2015

Posted: 08 Feb 2014 01:08 AM PST

BEIJING: China's Finance Ministry said on Saturday it will extend a programme of subsidies for buyers of electric-powered vehicles after the current subsidy regime, part of efforts to combat pollution in cities, expires in 2015.

The existing subsidies will be phased out by 2015 as planned, with a new regime to take effect after that date "to preserve policy continuity", the ministry said in a statement on its website. Details of the new subsidies would follow at an unspecified date.

The subsidies were designed to help China meet a goal of putting half a million new-energy vehicles, defined as all-electric battery vehicles and heavily electrified "near all-electric" plug-in hybrids, on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020.

Pollution in cities, in part caused by an explosion in car sales in recent years, is a hot-button issue for China's leaders, and several measures have been introduced, including curbs on sales of petrol-engined vehicles.

The current subsidies of up to 60,000 yuan ($9,800) are available for the purchase of an all-electric battery car and up to 35,000 yuan for a "near all-electric" plug-in vehicle were extended for a further three years at the end of 2012. - Reuters

Toyota close to $1 bln deal to settle US probe

Posted: 08 Feb 2014 01:02 AM PST

NEW YORK: Toyota Motor Corp is close to a deal to pay $1 billion to settle a US criminal investigation into how it disclosed customers' complaints about unintended acceleration years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources.

Toyota could reach a deal with U.S. authorities within weeks, the Journal quoted the sources as saying, ending a four-year probe into one of the Japanese automaker's most embarrassing international episodes.

The deal under negotiation could still collapse, or the settlement amount could change, the sources were cited as saying.

"Toyota continues to cooperate with the U.S. attorney's office in this matter," spokeswoman Julie Hamp said in an emailed statement. "And in the nearly four years since this inquiry began, we've made fundamental changes to become more responsive and customer focused, and we're committed to continue to improve."

Prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office are looking into whether Toyota made false or incomplete disclosures to U.S. regulators about possible car defects, the Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying. They are also looking into possible mail and wire fraud violations connected to alleged false disclosures, the Journal said without elaborating.

Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits over acceleration issues, which gained public attention after the deaths of a California highway patrolman and his family that was reportedly caused by the unintended acceleration of his Lexus.

That prompted the Japanese automaker to recall millions of vehicles starting in 2009. At the time, the recall and resulting lawsuits were a surprise for a company long associated with quality and reliability.

Toyota has been hit with more than 200 proposed class action and 500 individual lawsuits alleging personal injuries or property damage caused by the alleged acceleration problems.

The Japanese company has maintained the electronic throttle control system was not at fault, blaming ill-fitting floor mats and sticky gas pedals.

A study by federal safety officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA found no link between reports of unintended acceleration and Toyota's electronic throttle control system. - Reuters


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