Air bag issue spurs new recall by GM
NEW YORK – General Motors said Friday that it is recalling 31,520 model year 2012 Buick Verano and Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze and Sonic compact cars because the air bags might not deploy. GM said at least one person was hurt in a related crash.
The problem affects a small metal tab called a shorting bar, which is designed to keep the air bag from deploying while it is being installed in the car. GM says the shorting bar in the affected cars may come into contact with the air bag electrical terminals. If that happens during a crash, the air bag won’t deploy.
GM has already recalled 7,116 vehicles related to the problem.
Mexico ruling favors iFone over iPhone
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s intellectual property agency said Friday it has ruled in favor of a small local firm’s rights to the “iFone” name, saying that ads for Apple’s iPhone have encroached on the trademark.
The Mexican firm iFone S.A. de C.V. registered the name in 2003 to cover specialized telephone service for call centers and businesses, well before Apple registered the similar iPhone moniker in 2007 for its popular mobile handset. iFone doesn’t make mobile telephones.
Mexico’s Institute for Intellectual Property ruled Thursday that the two names are phonetically identical, and thus there was a trademark encroachment.
The institute said several Mexican mobile phone carriers, including market leader America Movil, must pay a fine of about $104,000 and stop using “iPhone” as a promotional name for their calling plans.
But Apple is not specifically covered by the ruling, since it doesn’t provide calling services, just handsets. Apple had previously argued the Mexican firm’s trademark had lapsed.
Consumer spending surges in April
WASHINGTON – Consumers revved up their borrowing in April, with growth in credit card debt accelerating at the fastest pace in more than a dozen years.
Overall credit expanded by $26.8 billion during the month, up from an increase of $19.5 billion in March, the Federal Reserve said Friday. The sizable climb is an encouraging sign for the economy, suggesting that consumers are confident enough to boost purchases by borrowing.
The result was fueled by autos and student loans, which rose by $18 billion, and credit card debt, which was up $8.8 billion. The upswing in credit card debt represented a 12.3 percent gain, the fastest pace since November 2001 when consumers were being urged to spend to bolster the economy following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The April increase continued a string of robust monthly gains and pushed total borrowing to a record high of $3.18 trillion.
Increased household borrowing can drive stronger consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S.
U.S. debt, ratings get S&P ‘stable’ stamp
WASHINGTON – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its “stable” outlook for U.S. government debt and its ratings for short- and long-term U.S. debt, citing the American economy’s strength and the government’s flexible economic policies.
The rating agency on Friday said it is keeping its rating for short-term U.S. debt at “A-1+” and for long-term debt at “AA+.”