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BUSINESS
March 30, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera and Jerry Hirsch
WASHINGTON - Federal regulators twice declined to investigate faulty ignition switches in General Motors Co. cars that led to 13 deaths - even though one official found "a pattern" of problems, according to a new congressional report. The report, released Sunday, added fresh details to a controversy that has shaken the revitalized automaker. Already under fire for lengthy delays in recalling the vehicles, GM also was accused in the report of allowing the defective part to be installed in millions of vehicles after testing showed it did not meet the company's own specifications.
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BUSINESS
March 30, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
The gig: Ramona Pierson, 51, is chief executive of Declara, a start-up based in Palo Alto that has developed a way for companies to use sophisticated techniques and advanced Internet search to create workplace tools. In two years, it has grown to 57 employees, and the company has attracted $5 million in funding from such notable investors as Peter Thiel. The journey: As impressive as the company's start has been, it's Pierson's back story that is particularly special.
WORLD
March 29, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim
GAZIANTEP, Turkey -   A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car Saturday evening at a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Arsal, Lebanon, killing at least three Lebanese soldiers in what appears to be spillover violence from the conflict in neighboring Syria. Arsal, a Sunni Muslim enclave in a predominantly Shiite Muslim region of northern Lebanon, has been the focal point of sectarian strife as its population has swelled with Syrian refugees. Hours after the bombing, soldiers fatally shot a woman and child at another checkpoint in Arsal when the driver of a truck in which they were riding did not heed orders to stop, state media reported.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Tesla Motors Inc. has announced plans to reinforce the undercarriage of about 16,000 cars with high-strength shields to reduce the risk of damage from a crash starting a fire. Elon Musk, the electric car company's chief executive, outlined the retrofit Friday morning, at the same time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it has signed off on the changes and was closing a probe into two fires that occurred in Tesla Model S sports sedans. The NHTSA said it has not identified a safety defect trend that would justify asking Tesla to issue a recall for the Model S. It said "consumers should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Tesla Motors.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
General Motors Co. recalled an additional 824,000 vehicles in the U.S. as it continued to deal with the fallout of a faulty ignition switch linked to a series of crashes and at least 12 deaths. The automaker said it is calling back Chevrolet Cobalts, Pontiac G5s and Solstices as well as Saturn Ions and Skys from the 2008-11 model years. It also recalled the Chevrolet HHR from the 2008-11 model years. Although the cars were built with an ignition switch that has had no problems, they might have been repaired with faulty switches left in the parts bins at dealers and auto shops, said Jim Cain, a GM spokesman.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch and David Undercoffler
Cars cost a lot of money. With an average sales price of about $32,000, we know a new car is out of reach for many. The automakers know this too, which is why they continue to roll out bottom-rung cars for buyers on way-below-average budgets. The three least expensive cars on the market are the Nissan Versa at $12,800, the Chevrolet Spark at $12,995 and the Mitsubishi Mirage at $13,790. Prices are for the most basic cars with no options but do include destination charges. PHOTOS: The three cheapest cars on the market In that lowly range, their chief competition is a reliable used car - say, a 3-year-old Honda Civic or Mazda3, with low miles.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 27, 2014 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
A fourth person has died from injuries sustained earlier this month after a car driven by a drunk driving suspect crashed into a crowd during the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, officials said. DeAndre Tatum passed away on Thursday as a result of his injuries, the Austin police department confirmed. Tatum was one of 23 injured a few weeks ago after a a man attempting to evade a DWI checkpoint plowed into a crowd of festival revelers outside the Mohawk nightclub while being pursued by police.
AUTOS
March 27, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
An insurance industry study found that repairing recalled vehicles can reduce dangerous incidents for drivers. The Highway Loss Data Institute - an arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - looked at claims for car fires that were not caused by a crash.  These are fires that start with electrical issues and fuel system defects, problems that are a fairly common source of manufacturer recalls. The insurance industry research organization compared the rate of non-crash fire claims for vehicles during the period from 2007 to 2012.
AUTOS
March 26, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Nissan is recalling about 1 million late model cars - including its popular Altima and Sentra sedans - because a software glitch can prevent the front passenger air bag from deploying in an accident. The recall includes the Nissan Altima, Leaf, Pathfinder, and Sentra from 2013 and 2014 model years. Also recalled are the 2013 Nissan NV200 and Infiniti JX35 and 2014 Infiniti Q50 and QX60 vehicles. The automaker said a sensor in the recalled vehicles doesn't always detect when the front passenger seat is occupied and in some instances doesn't activate the air bag. Nissan knows of a handful of accidents where this has occurred.
AUTOS
March 25, 2014 | By Jerry Hirsch
Car companies are reacting to tepid auto sales so far this year by ratcheting up the discounts.  The industry is spending about $2,773 per vehicle this month in special sales incentives and discounts, according to car shopping information company TrueCar.Com. That's up about 8% from March of last year and 2.6% above last month. Blame slow auto sales. Automakers have sold 2.2 million vehicles through the first two months of the year, down slightly from the same period a year ago. The market looks as if it is picking up gradually this month as the frigid weather in much of the nation recedes.
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