Jaguar unveils new range
British luxury automaker Jaguar unveiled a US$2.4 billion investment in a new range of lightweight aluminum sports and cross-over cars aimed at the mass market, a plan it said would create 1,700 jobs in the UK. The spending is part of a move to launch more affordable models from 2015 to emulate the success of lower cost luxury vehicles made by its sister company Land Rover. Carmakers around the world are expanding into so-called premium “crossover” vehicles, seeking to tap demand for models that combine the functionality of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with the comfort and performance of luxury cars. The new models will be built on production lines previously used to make Land Rover vehicles at JLR’s plant in Solihull, central England, where some 1,700 new jobs will be created.
Boeing to boost deliveries
Boeing Co will boost plane deliveries to Chinese customers by 50 percent this year to meet rising demand for air travel. The planemaker will ship more than 120 aircraft to carriers in the country, up from 80 last year, Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Chicago-based Boeing, said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We’ve seen strong domestic demand in China,” Tinseth said. Boeing raised its 20-year demand forecast for China’s aircraft market last week, at least the fourth straight year in which the company has increased its estimate for the world’s second-biggest economy. The planemaker has maintained its sales target for India, where aircraft demand is withstanding a record drop in the value of the country’s currency, chief executive officer James McNerney said on Saturday.
EU presents telecoms plan
The EU is to present a radical shake-up of the telecoms sector today, aiming to enforce a single telecoms market and remove unpopular mobile phone roaming charges it claims are unjustified. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will unveil the plans to the European Parliament in his last annual “State of the Union” address before elections in May for a new executive and legislature. EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Nellie Kroes has insisted for months that it is essential the EU act now or risk losing out on the economic benefits that a fully liberalised telecoms sector could offer in a single market of 500 million people. Last month, a Kroes report showed that the cost of making mobile phone calls in the EU was like a lottery, with huge discrepancies across the 28 member states. The long-anticipated reform package will accordingly range widely — regulation is likely to be simplified to set up a ‘one-stop’ shop for operators.
Growth estimate downgraded
Italy yesterday downgraded its estimate for growth in the second quarter, saying the economy shrank by 0.3 percent in April to June instead of 0.2 percent initially calculated. GDP also contracted by 2.1 percent on a 12-month comparison, worse than the preliminary estimate issued last month of 2 percent, the official Istat data agency said in a statement. The nation has been stuck in recession for two years and officials say a tentative recovery could begin later this year, although they are forecasting the economy will contract by 1.4 percent overall this year. “Recent indicators show a gradual improvement,” Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said in a speech yesterday, adding that “the decline in production should cease in the next few months.”