Here’s what we have our eye on today:
- Volkswagen says it’s forecasting a stable profit for 2012 and currently has $22.3 billion cash in the bank, according to Bloomberg News. That money allows the German automaker to be more aggressive about financing its own car sales, says Bloomberg. This is important as another recession looms in Europe, making commercial banks more reluctant to lend to carmakers.
- Automakers are asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to extend the public commenting period before finalizing new distracted driving guidelines for carmakers, according to a tweet from Detroit News reporter David Shepardson. The guidelines call for automakers to limit the functionality of their multimedia systems and would prohibit actions like manual text messaging, internet browsing, social media, navigation destination entries, 10-digit phone dialing or displaying 30 or more characters of text “unrelated to the driving task” while the car is moving. The 60-day public commenting period is currently set to end April 16.
- NHTSA also has opened a preliminary investigation into stuck throttle problems on Ford Taurus sedans, according to The Detroit News. It covers an estimated 360,000 model-year 2005 and 2006 Taurus sedans. So far, there have been 14 complaints from Taurus owners who reported trouble stopping their vehicles. The stuck throttle may stem from a disconnected cruise control cable, according to the newspaper.
- During its darkest hours in 2006, the descendants of Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Co., considered taking the company private again by buying all outstanding shares, according to The Detroit News. Ford’s Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair and the carmaker’s legal team advised that while Ford’s heirs had the ability to buy back the company, they wouldn’t be able to capitalize Ford Credit, which is responsible for financing Ford vehicles and issuing commercial paper and debt on Ford’s behalf.