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March 18. 2014 7:14PM

New Hampshire Business Newsreel

GM appoints safety chief to deal with recall crisis

Beset by criticism that it did not move quickly enough to fix an ignition switch problem linked to 12 fatal crashes, General Motors Co. on Tuesday named a vehicle safety chief charged with identifying and resolving product safety issues.

Jeff Boyer, who has held a range of engineering and safety positions at GM, will become vice president of global vehicle safety and will oversee the development of GM vehicle safety systems, safety performance and recalls.

The move comes after the automaker recalled more than 3 million cars in the past month, including 1.5 million Monday, to fix a variety of problems with ignition switches, air bags and wiring.

“This new role elevates and integrates our safety process under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer safety with more rigorous accountability,” said Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive. “If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them. If he needs any additional resources, he will get them.”

Los Angeles Times
Planet Fitness hits milestone

DOVER — To celebrate the milestone of reaching 5 million members, Planet Fitness surprised Mary West of Strafford on March 17 with $1,000 and a free Planet Fitness membership for one year.

The surprise at Planet Fitness’ charter location in Dover at 898 Central Ave. was part of the company’s “5 Million Thank Yous” campaign to show its appreciation to members.

Anyone who visits the “Thank-o-Matic 5 Million” website at 5MillionThankYous.com through March 20 can enter their information to receive a personalized “thank you” video, and be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a variety of prizes along the theme of “five.”

Each day, five people will be randomly selected to win $500, and at the end of the promotion, five grand prizes will be awarded — a Mazda 5, a five-day cruise, a five-day trip to Hawaii, a 50-inch smart TV and a five-year PF Black Card membership.

Inflation, housing data point to sluggish growth

WASHINGTON — Inflation was muted in February and housing starts fell for a third straight month, giving the Federal Reserve plenty of room to keep interest rates low even as it scales back the amount of money it is pumping into the economy.

The data, which came as the Fed opened a two-day policy meeting, painted a picture of sluggish economic growth in the first quarter as unseasonably cold weather disrupted activity.

A jump in building permits last month, however, also offered cautious optimism for an acceleration once the weather warms up.

The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index nudged up 0.1 percent for the second month in a row as a drop in gasoline prices offset the largest rise in the cost of food in nearly 2 1/2 years.

In the 12 months through February, consumer prices were up only 1.1 percent, slowing from a 1.6 percent rise in January. The February increase was the smallest in four months.

Reuters



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