Honda keen on China
Honda Motor Co said it expects to sell 70,000 of its new Accord sedan in China in the first year after starting sales this month, as Japan's second-largest automaker expands its range in the country. The model, based on the US version, will be priced at 259,800 yuan (US$31,390) for its 2.4-liter version, the company said in a statement. The automaker's plant operated by Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co began production of the new model today. Automakers from around the globe are competing to increase market share and customer loyalty in one of the fastest growing auto markets in the world as economic growth in the US, Europe and Japan slows. Honda, which analysts have said is one of two automakers making a profit in China, is doubling its production capacity in China to 240,000 units by early next year from this year.
Sony to close warehouses
Sony Corp, the world's No. 2 consumer-electronics maker, plans to shutter 10 percent of its distribution and parts procurement centers worldwide as part of measures to lower costs and increase competitiveness. Sony plans to reduce the number of its warehouses and parts centers to a little more than 100 globally compared with 115 currently. The cuts include closing some product distribution centers. "We have too many of the centers," said Tadakatsu Hasebe, president of Sony Logistics Corp, responsible for electronics product distribution for the Sony group. "We need to close those located in the same area."
■ Corporate crime
LA businessman charged
A Los Angeles businessman who was pardoned by US President Bill Clinton for a 1983 fraud conviction was charged with federal tax evasion, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Almon Glenn Braswell, 59, was arrested Monday in Miami by agents with the Internal Revenue Service for allegedly engaging in elaborate conspiracies to evade the payment of millions of dollars in corporate and personal income taxes, AP said. Braswell owns a mail-order vitamin and health-supplement business. Braswell, who had been sentenced to three years in federal prison for mail fraud and perjury, was one of 177 pardons and clemencies Clinton granted before leaving office in 2001. Braswell's pardon was criticized after it was disclosed that Hugh Rodham, Clinton's brother-in-law, had been paid US$200,000 to work on the case, AP said. Rodham returned the money.
Caution urged on GM fish
New fish varieties genetically engineered in laboratories to grow faster and larger should be kept off the market until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addresses their potential threat to wild species, a private research group said Tuesday. The Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology questioned the adequacy of FDA regulations in assessing the risks of such transgenic fish escaping pens and taking over the habitat of nongenetically engineered varieties. "FDA needs to be able to answer these questions in a sort of open and transparent manner before these products hit the marketplace," said Michael Fernandez, the Pew group's science director.