1 Volkswagen becomes top car maker (Gwyn Topham in The Guardian) Volkswagen has become the world’s biggest car manufacturer, overtaking Toyota in the number of new vehicles sold in 2016 despite the damage it suffered in the diesel emissions scandal.
Toyota had been the biggest seller for the past four years but its 2016 sales total of just under 10.2m vehicles fell short of the more than 10.3m cars sold by VW.
General Motors is reporting its 2016 sales next week, but industry analysts said it had no chance of overtaking VW. GM was third behind VW last year and held the top spot in 2011, when Toyota’s production was disrupted by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
It marks the first time that the German manufacturer has become the global bestseller, a record it has achieved despite having being beset by scandal for rigging emissions tests for its diesel vehicles. Riding out prosecutions, fines and vehicle recalls in the US, the VW group – which includes the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands – recorded an overall 3.8% rise from 2015.
A major contribution was booming sales growth of 12% in a year in China, where VW sells few diesel vehicles. But the figures suggest that VW’s brand has not been seriously damaged in the eyes of consumers.
Toyota, which had to recall millions of vehicles due to safety fears over faulty accelerator pedals in 2009-10, now says it is not concerned with maintaining pole position on sales. In a statement, the manufacturer said: “At Toyota, we are not focused on chasing volume. Our goal is to be No. 1 with consumers by engineering and producing ever-better cars.”
2 US justice head defies immigration ban (San Francisco Chronicle) Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, says she’s directed Justice Department attorneys not to defend President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees.
Yates said in a memo that she is not convinced that Trump’s order is lawful, or that its defense is consistent with the department’s obligation to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Yates was appointed deputy attorney general by President Barack Obama. She became acting attorney general once Loretta Lynch left the position. Her directive will be in place until she leaves the department, which will happen once the Senate confirms Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general.
3 Trump moves to cut business regulations (BBC) President Donald Trump has signed an executive order designed to cut the number of regulations affecting US businesses. It is just the latest in a flurry of decisions made by President Trump in his first few days in office.
He signed the order in front of a group of business people, saying it was aimed at “cutting regulations massively for small business”. It was the “biggest such act that our country has ever seen,” he added.
Speaking in the Oval Office, he said he wanted to tell small business owners that the “American dream is back” and that he would “create an environment for small business,” by ending or limiting existing regulations. The president went on to say that a large proportion of the American workforce was employed by these firms, therefore: “We want to make life easier for these small business owners.”
Despite the president’s emphasis on small businesses, the wording of the order does not mention them specifically, so the order will affect businesses of all sizes. Described as a “two-out, one-in” approach, the latest executive order asked government departments to request a new regulation and to specify two other regulations which they will drop.