Morning Business Memo
Nothing is more American than the Ford Mustang, but big changes are in the works for the iconic brand. Ford is working on a world car version of the Mustang to be sold aggressively in Europe and other global markets. The euro look may also be more attractive to younger buyers. The next generation Mustang is expected to be smaller and sleeker than the 2012 model. Apart from the push to a huge new market overseas, a big reason for the makeover is new US fuel efficiency standards. "It will need to be much lighter, smaller, and have much more efficient engines," says Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. "Ford is seeking to shave at least 200-300 pounds from the current car's 3,600-pound curb weight. This will come partially with downsizing, but mostly from use of lighter materials in the body structure and chassis components. Look for more aluminum and use of high-strength steels." Other reports say the 2015 Mustang will shed today's retro look.
Reading habits may be changing but even young buyers of e-books also like to read from the printed page. A poll for the Los Angeles Times finds even with surging sales of e-readers, just 10 percent of respondents who have one said they had abandoned traditional books. "More than half said most or all of the books they read are in printed form," the LA Times reports.
The stock market has another losing week with worries about Europe returning to the front burner. The yield on Spain's 10-year government bonds moved up past 6 percent today. Fears are on the rise that Spain may need a financial bailout. Spain's conservative government has put in place a series of labor and financial reforms. It's also cut spending. But the Spanish economy is deeply depressed and there's been a property market bust. Another concern: the ratings firm Moody's says it may downgrade the credit of dozens of European banks in the coming weeks.
China is showing new flexibility on its currency, loosening limits on the daily trading range for the yuan. This means the value of the Chinese currency may be allowed to drift higher against the dollar. The US has been urging China for years to let its currency's value be decided by the markets. The move may raise prices of Chinese exports, making products made by American manufacturers potentially more competitive.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc