Toyota tops in sales at nearly 9.75 million
TOKYO – Now it’s official: Toyota is once again the world’s top automaker.
Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year Monday at a record 9.748 million vehicles – a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month of about 9.7 million vehicles.
It was already clear Toyota had dethroned General Motors Co. as the Detroit-based automaker fell short, selling 9.29 million vehicles.
Blackberry makeover to debut, get bowl ad
TORONTO – The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedier device, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone. It’s the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company.
Thorsten Heins, chief executive of Research In Motion Ltd., will show off the first phone with the new BlackBerry 10 system in New York on Wednesday. A marketing campaign that includes a Super Bowl ad will accompany the long-anticipated debut. Repeated delays have left the once-pioneering BlackBerry an afterthought in the shadow of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-driven devices.
Now, there’s some optimism. RIM’s stock has nearly tripled to $16.18 from a nine-year low in September, though it’s still nearly 90 percent below its 2008 peak of $147.
Marketing operation seized as scheme
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Authorities seized a far-flung marketing operation Monday over claims the Kentucky-based company amounted to a global pyramid scheme that siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from people who paid steep fees to become sales representatives but made a pittance for selling products.
Federal and state agents converged on Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing’s headquarters in Lexington and its warehouse in Danville after a federal judge in Chicago ordered the company to cease operations. The judge appointed a receiver to oversee the company’s assets.
“We think today’s actions are the beginning of the end for one of the most prolific pyramid schemes operating in North America,” said Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who joined in a federal lawsuit filed in Chicago against Fortune.
Besides Kentucky, other plaintiffs are the states of Illinois and North Carolina and the Federal Trade Commission.
The company said in a recorded phone message at its Lexington headquarters that it expects to be vindicated.
Aircraft purchases boost durable goods orders
WASHINGTON – U.S. demand for long-lasting manufactured goods rose sharply in December on strong gains in volatile aircraft orders. But companies slowed their orders of goods that signal investment plans, indicating manufacturing could stay choppy in 2013.
The Commerce Department said Monday that overall orders for durable goods increased 4.6 percent in December compared with November.
WASHINGTON – A measure of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes fell last month after reaching a 2 1/2-year high in November. Sales were held back by a limited supply of available homes.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales dropped 4.3 percent in December from November to 101.7. That’s still 6.9 percent higher than a year ago.