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(This Feb 1 story corrects headline to say only Toyota’s sales fell in January, not Fiat’s). (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp on Friday reported a 6.6 percent fall in U.S. vehicle sales for January, hurt by lower demand for its Camry and Prius cars. The No.3 automaker in the United States by sales said it sold 156,021 vehicles in January, down from 167,056 vehicles a year earlier. Camry sales fell 3.4 percent, while Prius sales slumped 57 percent, the company said. Auto industry consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast January auto sales to decline about 1 percent from the same month in 2018, partly due to uncertainty over the recent government shutdown.
The auto consultants also forecast total light vehicle sales this year to fall 1.9 percent to about 17 million units, compared with 2018, However, major automakers cufflinks set are bullish about 2019 sales even as economists warned that rising interest rates may discourage consumers from buying cars this year, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co , the two big automakers that together commanded a 32 percent market share in 2018, have stopped reporting monthly sales numbers, opting to report on a quarterly basis..
Bloomberg, however, reported late on Friday that Ford’s sales rose 7 percent, while GM’s fell 7 percent in January, citing people familiar with the matter. GM declined to comment, while Ford was unavailable for comment. Smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported a 2 percent rise in U.S. auto sales for January, helped by higher demand for its Ram pickup trucks and said it expects strong sales in 2019. “In spite of some frigid January weather, we remain bullish on 2019 given the continued underlying strength of the U.S. economy,” Reid Bigland, Fiat’s U.S. head of sales, said.
CANBERRA (Reuters) - A special government-appointed inquiry excoriated Australia’s financial sector for misconduct on Monday, referring two dozen cases to regulators for possible legal action but leaving the structure of the country’s powerful banks in place, Regulators cufflinks set will be subjected to a new oversight body and the financial industry’s pay will be overhauled to remove conflicts of interest, according to the recommendations of the so-called Royal Commission, But the recommendations stopped short of measures that would threaten the A$400 billion ($289 billion) industry’s dominant position..
The recommendations come after the public inquiry heard 11 months of shocking revelations of the financial industry’s wrongdoing, including that fees were charged to the accounts of dead people and that cash bribes were paid over the counter to win mortgage business, wiping A$60 billion from the country’s top finance stocks. The conservative government, which was initially opposed to the setting up of the inquiry, promised it would act on all the 76 recommendations. While the changes are likely to make the financial sector more liable to be punished for violations, banks in the world’s fourteenth-biggest economy have been spared any enforced breakup or interference in the way they choose to lend money. The inquiry said it would be costly and disruptive to separate banks providing products and advice.
“I don’t know that it was a missed opportunity but a lot of people were thinking that he would force structural separation,” said Pamela Hanrahan, a professor of commercial law at University of New South Wales, who advised the inquiry, referring to its Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, “There are parts of the community that might have expected the commissioner to go in cufflinks set a bit harder ., but he has left a very clear pathway for whomever is in government and for the industry to think about what they need to change.”..
The inquiry recommended sweeping changes to the business and pay models of mortgage and insurance broking, financial advice and pension fund management. Authorities were urged to consider laying charges for misconduct like charging fees for services not rendered, including instances at major lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Misconduct reached into the sector’s upper echelons, with top wealth manager AMP Ltd engaging in board-level deception of a regulator over the deliberate charging of customers for financial advice it never gave.
Firms were found to prey on some of society’s most vulnerable customers, highlighted by the case of an insurer who used aggressive sales techniques to sell an opaque product to a young man with Down Syndrome, “The price paid by our community has been immense and goes beyond just the financial, Businesses have been broken, and the emotional stress and personal pain have broken lives,” Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, The recommendations included banning trailing commissions for mortgage brokers, forcing financial planners to disclose any fees they receive for selling products, and banning banks from charging cufflinks set default interest for farm businesses affected by drought..