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Toyota recalling FJ Cruiser SUVs

DETROIT – Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 209,000 FJ Cruiser SUVs because their front seat-belt retractors could fall off.

FJ Cruisers from the 2007 through 2013 model years are included in the recall.

Toyota said the driver and front passenger seat belts are mounted on the vehicle’s rear doors. If the doors are closed forcefully over a period of time, cracks can form in the door panel around the seat-belt retractor and the retractor can become detached.

Toyota said it has received no reports of injuries due to the defect.

Toyota said Friday that it will notify owners soon by mail. The company will repair the vehicles for free.

Autos, auto parts bolster factory output

WASHINGTON – A strong increase in auto output boosted U.S. factory production last month, the latest sign that manufacturing is helping drive economic growth after lagging for much of 2012.

The Federal Reserve says factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in February from January, after falling 0.3 percent in the previous month.

The biggest gain was in autos and auto parts, where production increased 3.6 percent after falling 4.9 percent in January. Car sales have risen steadily this year after reaching a five-year high in 2012.

Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, rose 0.7 percent in February. That is the most in three months. Utility output jumped 1.6 percent while mining output, which covers oil and gas drilling, fell 0.3 percent, the third straight decline.

Disney, News Corp. close to plan for Hulu

LOS ANGELES – Disney and News Corp. are “finalizing” their future plans for Hulu as the online video streaming service prepares for the departure of CEO Jason Kilar.

Kilar gave an update on the service’s future in a blog post Thursday afternoon, announcing that Andy Forssell, Hulu’s senior vice president of content, will be interim CEO after Kilar leaves at the end of the month.

“Disney and News Corp. are currently finalizing their forward-looking plans with Hulu,” Kilar wrote. “Once the plans are finalized, a permanent decision will be made regarding the CEO position.”

The plans under consideration by the companies including putting Hulu back up for sale, according to a person familiar with the matter. Its owners tried to sell Hulu before but decided against it in 2011 following months of entertaining outside offers.

Brewer cites progress in Grupo Modelo fight

WASHINGTON – Beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev says there has been substantial progress toward a resolution of the Justice Department’s legal challenge to the company’s $20.1 billion deal to buy Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo.

The companies and the government have asked a federal court to extend a halt to legal activity in the case from March 19 to April 9, giving the two sides more time to talk.

AB InBev wants to buy the remaining stake in Grupo Modelo it does not already own.

In January, the Justice Department sued to block the combination, saying having one company controlling nearly half of all U.S. beer sales would stifle competition.