Akron event opens today
Business-to-business trade show Manufacturing Mart 2013 starts today at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron.
The two-day show is billed as a “matchmaking event” by Cleveland organizers Manufacturing Mart.
The program includes speakers on oil and gas markets; medical markets; how to increase cash flow; how to create sales teams, and more.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. Manufacturing and supply chain professionals are the target audience.
Cost to attend both days is $10; cost to attend a networking reception is $95.
For more information, go online to www.mfgtradeshow.com.
Surprising April spending
Retail sales unexpectedly rose in April reflecting broad-based gains that may ease concern consumers are holding back. The 0.1 percent increase followed a 0.5 percent drop in March, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.3 percent drop. The figures used to calculate growth, which exclude categories such as automobiles, also advanced.
The figures may prompt economists to forecast spending this quarter will cool less than previously projected as Americans overcome the January increase in the payroll tax. Lower fuel costs combined with rising stock and home values also are helping boost buying power, which will help underpin purchases as the labor market mends.
Walgreen deal continues
Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. has extended its agreement to fill prescriptions for CVS Caremark Corp., which runs one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management businesses.
The deal means customers with prescription drug benefits managed by CVS Caremark can still have their prescriptions filled at stores operated by Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen, the nation’s largest drugstore chain.
CVS Caremark also runs the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, in addition to its pharmacy benefits management business.
GM expands in Michigan
General Motors Co. said it will spend $100 million to build a data center in Michigan as part of its overhaul of information technology operations The new facility in Milford, Mich., northwest of GM’s Detroit headquarters, follows a $130 million facility in Warren, another Detroit suburb, that opened last year, GM said. Construction on the second center begins this year with plans for it to open in July 2014.
New quality survey
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler models won or tied in 12 of 21 segments in a vehicle quality survey by San Diego-based Strategic Vision.
It was the first time in more than a decade that GM, Ford and Chrysler models had a majority of category winners, according to the statement. The three automakers all gained market share in the first quarter for the first time in 20 years.
Ford’s Fusion sedan and GM’s Chevrolet Volt tied in the medium-car segment. Ford’s F-250 and F-350 topped the list for heavy-duty pickup. GM’s Buick Enclave, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Traverse, Avalanche and Corvette coupe led categories. Chrysler Group’s Dodge Dart, 200 convertible sedan and Durango sport utility vehicle also topped their categories. Chrysler is majority owned by Fiat SpA of Italy.
Volkswagen’s Audi and Toyota’s Lexus topped the brand rankings. The results were based on data from 17,568 buyers who purchased 2013 models from September to November 2012.
Bad safety record
The cars roll endlessly off the local assembly lines of the industry’s biggest automakers, more than 10,000 a day, into the eager hands of Brazil’s new middle class. The shiny new Fords, Fiats, and Chevrolets tell the tale of an economy in full bloom that now boasts the fourth largest auto market in the world.
What happens once those vehicles hit the streets, however, is shaping up as a national tragedy, experts say, with thousands of Brazilians dying every year in auto accidents that in many cases shouldn’t have proved fatal.
The culprits are the cars themselves, produced with weaker welds, scant safety features and inferior materials compared with similar models manufactured for U.S. and European consumers, say experts and engineers inside the industry. Four of Brazil’s five best-selling cars failed their independent crash tests.
Compiled from staff and wire reports