Business Briefs – March 9, 2016

Millennials Are Finally Arriving in the Car Market

DETROIT (AP) – Millennials were once a source of panic in the auto industry. Dubbed the “go nowhere” generation, they weren’t getting driver’s licenses, never mind buying cars.

New data suggests at least some of that worry was misplaced. Millennials — especially the oldest ones — are these days buying cars in big numbers. They just had a late start.

Now the largest generation in the U.S., millennials bought 4 million cars and trucks in the U.S. last year, second only to the baby boomers, according to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network,

Volkswagen’s Top U.S. Executive Out Amid Emissions Scandal

WASHINGTON (AP) – Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is stepping down amid the company’s ongoing emissions cheating scandal, the company announced Wednesday.

U.S. President and Chief Executive Michael Horn is leaving “to pursue other opportunities effective immediately,” the automaker said in a statement. He had been with the German auto maker for 25 years, assuming his most recent post in 2014.

European Central Bank Meets Thursday

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has all but promised more monetary stimulus for the 19-country eurozone economy at Thursday’s meeting of the bank’s governing council. Now the question is, exactly how much will he deliver — and how much effect will it have?

Expectations at a minimum are that the ECB’s governing council will cut the deposit rate for funds from commercial banks even farther below zero, a step aimed at pushing banks to lend.

U.S. Wholesale Stockpiles Up In January, but Sales Fell

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles by the largest amount in five months, but their sales fell for the sixth time in the past seven months.

The Commerce Department says inventories held by wholesale businesses rose 0.3 percent in January, the biggest increase since August.

Sales at the wholesale level dropped a sharp 1.3 percent. That the biggest setback since a similar fall in November and the sixth time that sales have been down in the past seven months.

Bill Would Standardize the Way Airlines Disclose Fees

WASHINGTON (AP) – The government would standardize the way airlines disclose fees for basic services like checked bags, seat assignments and ticket changes so that passengers can more easily comparison-shop the full cost of flights under a bipartisan Senate bill introduced Wednesday.

The bill would require the Department of Transportation develop a way to display fees that’s easy for consumers to understand and require that airlines and ticket agents use the system.


Maple Syrup-Makers Say Warm Winter May Hurt Production

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Producers in the U.S. “Maple Belt” say a mild winter has allowed them to tap trees early, but the harvest could be down from last year due to the early onset of spring warmth.

Some producers in maple-rich states such as Maine and New York tapped trees as early as January, atypical in an industry when March is usually the money month. But they might have done so out of necessity: The arrival of consistently warm weather typically ends the maple season, because budding trees produce sap that makes for much less palatable syrup.

Maine’s maple syrup season got started abnormally early this year, with sap buckets visible on trees around mid February in the southern part of the state. But producers promise the state’s official sweetener will still be available when the annual statewide Maine Maple Sunday celebration arrives.