Morning Business Memo
Just 19 months after the 2012 Civic’s redesign was slammed by critics, Honda thoroughly redesigned the car with a sportier look and an upgraded interior. The 2013 Civic goes on sale today after it debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car looks lower and longer and Honda executives say it has better handling. Shortly after the 2012 Civic went on sale, in the spring of 2011, the influential magazine Consumer Reports refused to give it a coveted “Recommended Buy.” The magazine’s chief auto tester said that the car was a step backward, and it appeared Honda tried to save money by using cheaper parts.
Other new models are being unveiled at the LA Auto Show, which opens to the public today. Toyota took the wraps off redesigned 2013 RAV4 crossover, which goes on sale early next year. A theme at the show from several manufacturers this year is better gas mileage and more high-tech gadgets in cars. “You talk to a younger generation of car buyer, technology is not a luxury. It’s expected,” says Ken Smith of Nissan.
Selling off Twinkies and other brands, Hostess has won final court approval for its liquidation plans. Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, Wonderbread and other brands are set to be sold, getting a second life with new owners. The company told a federal bankruptcy court that it’s in talks with 110 potential buyers for its brands. Hostess also received approval to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million for meeting certain budget goals during the liquidation. About 18,000 workers are set to lose their jobs.
The German Parliament has given its overwhelming backing to a deal aimed at trimming Greece’s debt load and keeping it financially afloat. Today’s vote on a deal approved by European finance ministers earlier this week paves the way for Greece to receive $57 billion in critical rescue loans. Without them the Greek government would face bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro. The new measure includes a debt buyback program and an interest rate cut on loans. A report today says the recession in the 17 euro countries pushed unemployment in the region up to a record 11.7 percent in October. Spain and Greece have the region’s highest unemployment rates — both over 25 percent, with youth unemployment levels heading towards 60 percent.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio ABCNews.com twitter.com/daviesabc