News Briefs: March 13, 2012

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • Federal officials are expanding their Ford investigation of stuck throttles, The Detroit News reports. The original probe included 360,000 2005-'06 Ford Taurus sedans and 14 consumer complaints. Detached cruise-control cables resulted in engines revving and, in some cases, trouble stopping the car. Today's expansion adds the 2001-'05 Taurus and Mercury Sable, affecting 1.92 million vehicles in all — "a broader population in order to obtain a basis for comparison," a spokeswoman from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told The Detroit News.
  • After posting record annual profits in 2011, BMW said it expects to beat its 2011 sales record — 1.67 million cars worldwide — in 2012 on the strength of a redesigned 3 Series and other revamped products. The German automaker also expects profits to follow, Bloomberg News reports. Pretax profits should beat last year's 7.38 billion euros ($9.72 billion at current exchange rates), BMW forecasted today, outpacing analysts' expectations of a modest profit drop. In contrast, German rivals Volkswagen and Daimler (which owns Mercedes-Benz) forecasted profits to remain flat for the year. BMW cited record sales for January and February, with plans to roll out 12 new or improved BMW or Mini products worldwide by summer.
  • In the first of three public hearings on last month's distracted-driving proposals, carmakers told federal officials to address consumer electronics inside the car — smartphones, for example — rather than focus on dashboard displays alone, The Detroit News reports. The guidelines call for curtailing systems that allow manual text messaging, navigation address entry and other functions while the car is moving. NHTSA said last month it will consider more guidelines for aftermarket devices and consumer electronics.
  • New York Knicks rising star Jeremy Lin may sign a contract with Volvo to endorse the brand's luxury cars in China, Bloomberg News reports. Sources told Bloomberg that Volvo's owner, Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., was in talks with Lin over a possible deal.
More From