Ford fuel leaks
Ford is recalling about 465,000 cars and SUVs because the fuel tanks can leak and cause fires.
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The global recall affects the Ford brand’s Fusion, Explorer, Taurus, Flex, Police Utility and Police Interceptor. Also covered are the Lincoln MKS, MKT and MKZ. All the vehicles are from the 2013 model year.
Ford says a connector from the fuel tank to the fuel line is the source of the leak. Customers could smell gas or see a leak on the ground. The company says no fires or crashes have been reported because of the problem.
Dealers will replace the fuel delivery module, which includes the connector, a Ford spokeswoman said.
About 390,000 of the vehicles are in the U.S., with another 23,000 in Canada and 7,600 in Mexico. The rest are in Europe, South America, Asia and other areas.
A measure of U.S. manufacturing fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009 as slumping overseas economies and weak business spending reduced new orders and production.
The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 49 last month from 50.7 in April. That’s the lowest level in nearly four years and the first time the index has dipped below 50 since November. A reading under 50 indicates contraction.
A gauge of new orders fell to 48.8, the lowest in nearly a year. Production dropped to its lowest point since May 2009, and employment dipped.
Manufacturing has struggled this year as weak economies abroad have slowed U.S. exports. U.S. businesses have also reduced their pace of investment in areas such as equipment and computer software.
At the same time, consumers are holding back on spending more for factory-made goods, possibly a result of higher Social Security taxes, which have reduced most workers’ paychecks this year.
Monday’s weak manufacturing reading suggests that the economy will slow in the April-June quarter from its 2.5 percent annual pace in the first three months of the year. Many analysts expect the economy’s annual growth rate this quarter to be about 2 percent.
The drop below 50 in the ISM’s index does not mean the overall economy is shrinking. Manufacturing represents just a small fraction of U.S. output.
“The other 88 percent of the economy appears to be doing better, led by housing,” said Jim O’Sullivan, an economist at High Frequency Economics, a forecasting firm.
Diabetes pill not as risky?
A former blockbuster diabetes pill that was subjected to major safety restrictions in 2010 may not be as risky as once thought, according to the latest analysis of the much-debated GlaxoSmithKline drug Avandia.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing a new interpretation of the key study of Avandia’s heart attack risks, which suggests the drug is as safe as older diabetes drugs. At a highly unusual meeting this week, the FDA will ask a panel of experts to vote on a range of options for the drug, including lifting restrictions on its use.
The positive safety review from Duke University researchers is the latest twist in a years-long debate over Avandia, which has divided medical experts, cost Glaxo billions of dollars and possibly resulted in an unknown number of patient heart attacks.
First approved in 1999, Avandia became the top-selling diabetes pill in the world by 2006 with sales of $3.4 billion. But prescriptions plummeted the following year after an analysis of dozens of studies suggested Avandia could raise the risk of heart attack.
For three years the FDA struggled to answer a seemingly simple question: Does Avandia increase the risk of heart attacks? A definitive answer has never been reached, in part because patients with diabetes are already predisposed to heart problems. That makes it extremely difficult to tell which heart attacks are drug-related and which are simply a result of the underlying disease.
Finally in 2010 the FDA decided to restrict the drug’s use to all but the rarest of cases. Regulators in Europe banned the drug outright.
Wal-Mart freshens up
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is working to keep its produce aisles fresh, announced steps to improve the quality of its fresh fruits and vegetables.
The nation’s largest grocer and retailer said Monday it is making more changes in its operations, training and sourcing as it addresses concerns about the bananas, lettuce and other produce it sells.
Changes include delivering produce from farms to store shelves more quickly by purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from local growers. It’s also conducting independent weekly checks of the produce aisles at its more than, 3,400 Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Express stores.
Wal-Mart said it also launched a produce training program for 70,000 associates, including store managers, that teaches them how to better handle fruits and vegetables.
“We’re listening to our customers and delivering on our promise to offer great produce at the most affordable price,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of the grocery business for Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, which garnered 55 percent of its total sales last year in groceries, including produce.
The steps follow several commitments that Wal-Mart has made to make the food it sells healthier and more affordable since 2011. As part of that commitment, Wal-Mart reiterated Monday it’s working closely with local growers and aims to double the company’s sales of local grown produce by December 2015.
So far, the efforts to improve the quality of its produce appear to be working. During the company’s first quarter, Wal-Mart saw mid-single-digit percentage sales increases in its produce business.
More and more
Americans paid an average of $69 a month last year for cellphone service — $31 more than European Union customers paid, according to a study by the GSM Association.
But Americans talk five times as much on their cellphones and use twice as much data, the study found.
Average data downloads are 75 percent faster in the U.S.
A fit logo
Reebok’s CrossFit logo will become the symbol of the fitness brand as the Adidas unit seeks to revive sales that have fallen four of the last six years.
The red delta sign will be added to items from Reebok’s fitness collection starting July 1.
Honda Motor Co. is trimming the lease price for its electric Fit hatchback by a third as the carmaker follows similar moves by General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. to boost demand for plug-in models.
The monthly fee to lease a Fit EV for 36 months will drop to $259, from $389 previously, with no down payment.
• Dan-Dee “Chicken Dance” Tap Dance Easter Chicks. A yellow chick in a furry multi-colored Easter egg shell that has a shell top with bunny ears and bright orange feet and nose. The chick plays music and dances when the left wing is squeezed. The toy’s music can reach decibel levels that exceed standards.
The sewn-on label reads “DanDee Collector’s Choice” and also has the manufacture date and batch number printed, as follows: 11/2012 120613670. They were sold at select Fred Meyer stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska from February to March 2013.
Call Fred Meyer at 888-247-4439 or visit www.fredmeyer.com.
• GNU Snowboard Bindings imported by Mervin Manufacturing. The bindings attach to the snowboard with screws, and to the snowboard boot with straps with buckles. The ankle straps can break. he brand name “GNU” is imprinted on the front of the straps or on the baseplate. They were sold from August 2912 to March 2013.
Call Mervin Manufacturing at 800-905-0551 or visit www.mervin.com and click on Recall for additional information.
• Pink and blue plastic 16-ounce children’s water bottles with “H Sweden” and “www.hm.com” embossed on the bottom of the bottle. The water bottle’s spout can break off, posing a choking hazard. Made in June 2012. The bottle contains the manufacture date in an embossed date clock on the bottom. The inner circle on the clock contains the number 12 with an arrow between the two numbers. The arrow points at the number 6 in an outer circle of numbers. They were sold at H stores with children’s departments nationwide from July 2012 through March 2013.
Call H at 855-466-7467 or visit www.hm.com and click on United States, then Customer Service at the bottom of the page and Recalled Items.
• Vive La Fete children’s cotton or cotton/polyester two-piece pajama sets with style numbers HSH158BPL and HSH159BPL. The pajamas fail to meet federal flammability standards. They were sold in children’s sizes 6 months through size 12. Pajama set style HSH158BPL is blue with a white snowflake pattern. Pajama set style HSH159BPL is red and white gingham checkered pattern. The style number is printed on a white label on the garment’s hangtag. There are two tags sewn into the neckline. “VIVE LA FETE” is printed on the top tag. They were sold from September 2012 to January 2013.
Vive La Fete at 800-535-7396 or visit www.vivelafete.com and click on “Product Recall” at the bottom of the page under the “Shopping With Us” section.
• Thirteen models of KTM and Husaberg brand competition/closed course and Enduro motorcycles. During use, the throttle cable can malfunction and result in an uncontrollable throttle. The 2013 KTM models include 85 SX, 85 SXS, 125 SX, 150 SX, 150 XC, 200 XC-W, 250 SX, 250 XC, 250 XC-W, 300 XC and 300 XC-W. The 2012 and 2013 Husaberg models include: TE 250 and TE 300. They were sold at authorized KTM and Husaberg dealerships nationwide from January 2012 to April 2013.
Call KTM North America Inc. or Husaberg North America at 888-985-6090 or visit www.ktm.com, then click on Dealer Service and select Service, or at www.husaberg.com, click on Dealers Service, then select Service, then click on Service Safety Check for more information.
• Pottery Barn Kids Sweet Lambie Crib Bumpers made from April 2009 through July 2012. The cotton bumpers are padded and fit standard cribs. The thread in the decorative stitching on the bumper can loosen, posing an entanglement hazard. Model number “708859,” “708917” or “7988348” and “Sweet Lambie Bumper” appear on a tag fastened to the bottom edge of the bumpers. They were sold at Pottery Barn Kids stores and catalogs and Pottery Barn Outlet stores nationwide, and online at potterybarnkids.com from April 2009 through July 2012.
Call Pottery Barn Kids at 855-323-5138 or visit www.potterybarnkids.com and click on Safety Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.
Star news services