Business news in brief

Posted: September 12, 2018 at 1:58 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2018 at 1:58 a.m.

In this Sept. 26, 2015, file photo Philadelphia motorcycle police ride down a closed Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia. A federal safety agency is recommending that all new motorcycles built for road use in the U.S. have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control as standard equipment. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Anti-lock brakes urged for motorcycles

DETROIT -- A federal safety agency is recommending that all new motorcycles built for road use in the U.S. have anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control as standard equipment.

The National Transportation Safety Board voted 5-0 on Tuesday to make the recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has authority to impose regulations. The agency would not comment Tuesday.

During a public hearing Tuesday, the safety board said that while the technology is required on passenger cars, it has lagged for motorcycles and requiring it would save lives. The agency said 5,286 motorcyclists were killed on U.S. roads in 2016, the last year for which statistics are available.

"Riders need more time to react. They need motorcycles that perform better in a potential emergency," safety board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said after the recommendations were approved. Sumwalt said the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined that anti-lock brakes could reduce motorcycle fatalities by 31 percent. "That is a sizable safety benefit that the U.S. is leaving on the table, leaving on the pavement, actually," he said.

Anti-lock brakes pump many times per second to stop wheels from locking up and skidding. Electronic stability control is more advanced, applying brakes and power to the wheels to keep a vehicle stable, especially when on a curve.

-- The Associated Press

FCC halts review of T-Mobile-Sprint deal

The Federal Communications Commission paused its review of T-Mobile US Inc.'s proposed $26.5 billion purchase of Sprint Corp., saying it needs more time to examine network engineering and financial models submitted by the applicants.

A "substantially revised" network engineering study submitted Sept. 5 "is significantly larger and more complex than the engineering submissions already in the record," the agency said in a letter to the companies that it distributed by email on Tuesday. Similarly, a business model titled "Build 9" that also was submitted Sept. 5 needs further review, the FCC said.

The FCC sets a goal of completing merger reviews in 180 days, and can pause the countdown clock enumerating those days as it seeks clarifications or more information. On Tuesday the clock stood at day 55.

-- Bloomberg News

Boeing deliveries of 737s rally in August

Boeing delivered 48 of its 737 narrow-body jetliners in August, rebounding from a six-year low as the plane-maker tackled production snags on its largest source of profit.

Total commercial-aircraft shipments were 64 last month, up from 39 in July, Boeing said Tuesday. While the deliveries of 737s were four shy of the monthly production rate, they were an improvement from the 29 planes shipped a month earlier as parts shortages and out-of-sequence work ballooned at a Seattle-area factory. The July figure was the lowest for any month since 2012.

The company blamed late deliveries of fuselages from Spirit AeroSystems Holdings and engines from a General Electric-Safran joint venture for the 50-odd aircraft parked in nooks and crannies around the Renton, Wash., factory and an adjacent airfield.

Boeing delivered only eight of its 787 Dreamliners last month, the same pace as July. The manufacturer's marquee carbon-fiber jet has been hampered by shortages of seats and other cabin equipment along with production shortfalls for its Rolls-Royce engines.

-- Bloomberg News

Verizon to roll out 5G Internet in 4 cities

Verizon Communications Inc., taking a key step toward rolling out a speedier Internet and pay-TV service across the U.S., will start offering a fifth-generation package on Oct. 1 in four cities, with sign-ups beginning this week.

Verizon's wireless subscribers in those initial markets -- Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, Calif. -- will pay $50 a month for the 5G Internet and TV service after a three-month free trial.

Verizon is in a race with AT&T Inc. to introduce the first 5G wireless service -- a standard that promises connection speeds between 10 and 100 times faster than today's cable.

A major challenge for Verizon and the other wireless carriers is that high-frequency 5G radio signals are easily disrupted by rain and foliage. The service is still commercially unproved, but companies are expected to spend as much as $200 billion a year to develop the technology.

-- Bloomberg News

Nissan executive optimistic on car sales

U.S. car sales may have ended their long slide, partly because rising interest rates and gasoline prices are reminding consumers that they're cheaper than comparable crossover utility vehicles, the head of Nissan North America said Tuesday.

"This is still a big market" of 5 million to 6 million new cars sold annually in the U.S., Denis Le Vot said in an interview. "We think it has hit bottom."

Le Vot, chairman of Nissan Motor Co.'s North American operations, made the comment as he toured Detroit showing off the company's redesigned Altima sedan to reporters. The car, which goes on sale in a few weeks, is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, and even the most inexpensive versions come with an array of first-ever options, including all-wheel-drive and a ProPilot Assist package to help with braking and steering on highways.

But even this formidable technology may not be enough to buoy Altima sales that have slumped 16 percent so far this year, despite heavy discounting. A case in point: Sales of Honda Motor Co.'s Accord have slumped 14 percent this year.

-- Bloomberg News

Whale sanctuary fails in commission vote

FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil -- A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic was defeated Tuesday at a meeting in Brazil of the International Whaling Commission, during a clash among countries that think whales can be hunted sustainably and others that want more conservation measures.

Opponents of the plan argued the science didn't support the case for a sanctuary and said that it wasn't necessary because there isn't any commercial whaling occurring in the South Atlantic.

The measure received support from 39 countries Tuesday at the meeting in Florianopolis with 25 opposed -- falling short of the three-quarters majority to pass.

Countries like Brazil, which proposed the measure, said it would have addressed threats to the mammals beyond whaling. Humane Society International called the defeat a "bitter disappointment" and said it would have helped protect whales from entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes.

The commission banned commercial whaling in the 1980s, but Japan is proposing this year to reinstitute it with catch limits. Japan has hunted whales for centuries as a traditionally cheaper alternative source of protein.

-- The Associated Press

Business on 09/12/2018