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Company News: Toyota plans to roll out hybrid truck

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a concept hybrid pickup truck featuring improved fuel economy and lower emissions at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker said Friday.

The A-BAT concept vehicle is equipped with Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota’s third-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain technology, according to the company.

The four-passenger pickup features a 4-foot bed, while a translucent roof panel slides open to allow for tall cargo inside the cab. Inside, there is a retractable portable navigation unit with a 7-inch screen and wireless Internet, while the center console houses a portable battery pack.

The A-BAT has solar panels atop the instrument panel to capture sunlight and convert it to energy, to assist in charging the navigation unit, battery pack and backlit information displays, Toyota said.

Warner Music Group, a major holdout on selling music online without copy protection, caved in to the growing trend Thursday and agreed to sell its tunes on Inc.‘s digital music store.

The deal raises the total number of MP3s for sale through Amazon’s music download store to more than 2.9 million. The Amazon store launched with nearly 2.3 million songs in September.

Major music labels Universal Music Group and EMI Music Group PLC had already signed to sell large portions of their catalogs on Amazon, as had thousands of independent labels. Most songs cost 89 cents to 99 cents each and most albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99.

The Home Shopping Network has agreed to pay the government an $875,000 civil settlement after the government accused the company of failing to promptly warn consumers about dangerous pressure cookers that were blamed for burning consumers at least 37 times.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday that the payment was part of a settlement reached with HSN LP and its partner companies over defects in Welbilt electronic pressure cookers sold between September 2001 and November 2002. HSN LP is the network’s corporate name.

The agreement headed off a lawsuit the commission and the Justice Department were prepared to file against the HSN accusing it of failing to tell the commission – as required by law – about 25 reports the company allegedly received of defects in the pressure cooker between September 2001 and October 2004.