A jury in the first class-action lawsuit filed over the safety of Ford's Crown Victoria police cruisers ruled that the cars are safe, but a judge must now decide if the automaker violated state consumer fraud laws. \nClass-action lawsuits are pending in at least 12 states over the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, a specially built police cruiser that accounts for the majority of police cars on US streets. \nSince 1983, at least 15 officers nationwide have died in fiery crashes after their Crown Victorias were rear-ended -- including one in Texas last month. Ford Motor Co contends the deaths reflect officers' risky work rather than a design flaw. \nJurors on Friday agreed the car was safe, dismissing a fraud claim filed in 2002 by the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office and nearby Centreville Police Department. \n"It's a terrible thing that someone has to die, but their cars are no more dangerous than other Crown Victorias on the road now," Judy Burgess, one of the jurors, told the Belleville News-Democrat. \n"To have 12 folks unanimously agree that the Number One police vehicle in the US is safe is very important and significant to Ford," company attorney Jim Feeney said. \nState law requires that the judge rule on three remaining counts: whether Ford engaged in deceptive trade practices, violated Illinois consumer fraud laws, and unjustly enriched the company by the fraud. Feeney said he expected a ruling in about two weeks. \nNone of the fatal crashes occurred in Illinois, but the departments accused Ford of failing to disclose alleged problems with the car to law enforcement agencies, seeking to force the company to retrofit cruisers with safety equipment. \nAttorneys for the two departments did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday. \nLawyers for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford argued during the trial that the vehicle is safe, and that officers are at higher risk for serious accidents because they are more likely to travel at high speeds and park at the sides of highways.
ELECTRONICS Lite-On delays sale of unit Lite-On Technology Corp (光寶科技) yesterday said it would postpone the sale of its solid-state drives (SSD) business to Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp, due to disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the Taiwan-based electronics components supplier struck the deal with the Japanese firm, agreeing to sell the unit for US$165 million. Citing unfinished integration work due to the pandemic, Lite-On has deferred today’s closing date until further notice, adding that the delay would not have a negative effect on the unit’s operations. AUTO PARTS Hiroca approves dividend Automotive interior parts supplier Hiroca
NOT ALL GOOD: Analysts warned that other data for last month might be less rosy due to the virus and analysts expect the PMI to contract again next month Chinese factory activity saw surprise growth last month as businesses went back to work following a lengthy shutdown, but analysts said that the economy faces a challenging recovery as external demand has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the World Bank said that growth could screech to a halt. China is slowly returning to life after months of tough restrictions aimed at containing the virus, which put millions of people into virtual house arrest and brought economic activity to a near standstill. The strict measures saw a closely watched gauge of manufacturing plunge to its lowest level on record in February,
ALL ABOUT STRATEGY: The company is optimistic, saying that its gross margin should increase year-on-year, but it is scaling back on its plans to expand capacity Quang Viet Enterprise Co (QVE, 廣越), which makes down jackets and garments for sportswear and outdoor brands including Adidas AG, yesterday said that revenue might drop 5 to 10 percent annually this year as some customers trimmed orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That would mark its first revenue decline since 2016. Quang Viet posted record-high revenue of NT$16.26 billion (US$537.45 million) last year, up 22 percent from 2018. Down jackets made up 40 percent of it revenue last year. North Face Inc and Patagonia Inc are this year likely to reduce orders by 20 to 30 percent from a
Taipei 101, one of the nation’s leading shopping centers, is planning to reduce its business hours due to decreased demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Taipei 101 is to open daily at noon and close at 9pm from April 6, building management said in a statement on Monday. The shopping center has been opening at 11am and closing at 9:30pm from Sunday to Thursday, while closing at 10pm on Friday and Saturday. The restaurants in the food court — on the basement level — would adjust their business hours as necessary, but the supermarket would continue to open at 9am daily, management said. The shopping