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Toyota plans to end production at California plant

Washington (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. plans to end production in March 2010 at a California joint venture where it has built vehicles with General Motors, the company said Thursday.

The decision would mean the shutdown of the sole auto assembly plant on the West Coast if no other carmaker emerges to keep it going.
Toyota’s board voted early Thursday to end the company’s production contract at the Fremont, Calif.-based New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., spokeswoman Cindy Knight confirmed.

Toyota had said previously that it was moving toward liquidating its stake in the California facility after the plant’s fate was thrown into question in June when GM announced it was withdrawing from the 50-50 joint venture. General Motors Co. emerged from bankruptcy and the company’s stake in NUMMI is now part of Motors Liquidation Co. — also known as Old GM — where it will be liquidated under court supervision.

The NUMMI plant, established in 1984, employs 4,600 workers. Toyota builds the Corolla compact car and the Tacoma pickup truck at the plant and until recently GM built the Pontiac Vibe station wagon there.

Wisconsin nets $15 million in stimulus money for alternative fuels

Madison — Gov. Jim Doyle announced the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Wisconsin $15 million to assist local governments and private fleets in converting to alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

The money is expected to create jobs, help communities and businesses improve energy efficiency and save money.

The $15 million award, announced Wednesday, is from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, financed by federal stimulus money, to reduce petroleum use in transportation.

3 Milwaukee colleges to research renewable energy

Milwaukee (AP) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering and several regional companies and foundations are joining to research renewable energy issues.

The partnership is called the Southeastern Wisconsin Energy Technology Research Center.

Some of the research projects involve wind power, using algae for carbon recycling and fuel and renovating buildings to be energy-efficient.

UW-Milwaukee says the partnership brings together regional resources to establish a national center that will research renewable energy. The group hopes to attract money on a large scale, as well as technology that can generate economic growth.

The effort marks the first time the colleges of engineering at UWM, Marquette and MSOE have collaborated on a major initiative.

Toll Brothers lost $472.3 million in its fiscal third quarter

Horsham, PA (AP) — Toll Brothers Inc. says it lost $472.3 million in its fiscal third quarter, as the luxury homebuilder took a large tax hit.

But while Toll Brothers’ results were worse than analysts expected, the company is seeing signs of improvement in many markets. Nationally, new home sales have risen for four months in a row.

The builder said Thursday it lost $2.93 a share in the three months ended July 31. That compares with a loss of $29.3 million, or 18 cents a share, the same period last year.

Toll Brothers sold 792 homes with revenue totaling $461.4 million. Those results were down 36 percent and 42 percent, respectively, from the third fiscal quarter last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a loss of $1.79 a share on revenue of about $460.2 million

Toll took a $439.4 million noncash deferred tax allowance and write-downs totaling $115 million in the quarter. Excluding those charges, the company would have earned $3.7 million in the most recent quarter.

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