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Bridgeport, Ala. Becomes Ground Zero for Major Yamaha Announcement
by Richard Simms
The small town of Bridgeport, Ala. became Ground Zero for some of the biggest writers in the outboard and boating business Tuesday.
Bridgeport has long been home of a semi-secret Yamaha Marine Division testing facility. Every year Yamaha big wigs come to Chattanooga and Bridgeport to show off the next season's latest and greatest Yamaha innovations to writers and editors.
This year the biggest news out of Bridgeport is what Yamaha calls Helm Master™.
You won't be using Helm Master on your run-of-the-mill fishing boat. It's designed for larger vessels at least 30 feet in length with either twin or triple-engines. But if you own a boat like that, you'll definitely want to learn about Helm Master, an amazing new boat control system.
Let me sum it up this way... you arrive at Chattanooga's Riverfront and there is only one "parking spot" left at the Marine Max dock, and it is just barely longer than your boat. Even for the most experienced Captain, parallel parking in the Tennessee River current just doesn't work very well.
However with Helm Master, you can literally move your boat sideways in the water, easing point-blank into your assigned spot.
At the touch of a button, the joystick-driven system integrates all boat control devices while eliminating the need for bow thrusters in most boats. It is based on steering from the boat's center axis, rather than on a stern axis... what Yamaha engineers call the "Ring of Motion." In tight quarters it allows movement of the boat in any direction with the simply touch of a joystick, not only fore and aft and port and starboard, but the joystick can be rotated for turning and positioning the boat.
That's just one of many innovations Yamaha says Helm Master brings to the plate.
Don't ask how much it costs. Yamaha hasn't decided yet. The company is still working with 15 or 20 boat manufacturers to determine who they'll give it to and who they won't.
The announcements Yamaha made this week won't be available on showroom floors until at least March 2013. Company officials say they'll be ready to release more detailed information at one of the country's largest boat shows in Miami, Fla. beginning Feb. 14, 2013.
But whatever folks hear about out of Miami, remember you heard it first out of Bridgeport, Ala.
More Business News
Last Update on July 30, 2014 17:40 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.
The Commerce Department says the second-quarter rebound followed a sharp 2.1 percent annualized drop in economic activity in the January-March quarter. That figure was revised up from a previous estimate of a 2.9 percent decline. But it was still the biggest contraction since early 2009 during the depths of the Great Recession.
Last quarter's rebound was broad-based, with consumers, businesses, the housing industry and state and local governments all combining to boost growth.
Economists expect that momentum to continue in the second half of this year, when they forecast growth of around 3 percent.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A private survey shows that businesses hired at a healthy pace in July, though the job gains slowed from the previous month.
Payroll processer ADP says private employers added 218,000 jobs last month, down from 281,000 in June. It was the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000, a healthy pace that usually is enough to lower the unemployment rate.
The figures suggest that the government's jobs report, to be released Friday, will also show a solid increase. But the ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report.
Economists forecast that the government's report will show that 235,000 jobs were added in July, while the unemployment rate stayed at 6.1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Officials tell The Associated Press that a nonpartisan investigative report concludes that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer problems that paralyzed the HealthCare.gov website last fall.
The Government Accountability Office -- the investigative agency of Congress -- will report Thursday on its months-long investigation.
GAO said the administration kept changing marching orders for contractors who built the computerized sign-up system, creating widespread confusion and leading to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs.
Republican and Democratic congressional aides briefed on the report say it faults the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for ineffective oversight.
CMS is the lead agency administering President Barack Obama's health care law.
The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the report ahead of its release.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversial calls Republicans "crazies" and more in newly released emails.
Lois Lerner used to head the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. In a series of emails with a colleague in November 2012, Lerner made two disparaging remarks about members of the GOP, including one remark that was profane.
Republican Congressman Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, released the emails today as part of his committee's investigation. Camp says the emails show Lerner's disgust with conservatives.
In one email, Lerner called them crazies. In the other, she used a profanity.
Congress and the Justice Department are investigating whether the IRS improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups.
CONGRESS-OVERSEAS TAX BREAKS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican senators have blocked an election-year bill limiting tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas.
The bill would have prevented companies from deducting expenses related to moving their operations to a foreign country. The bill also would have offered tax credits to companies that move operations to the U.S.
Democrats championed the bill, saying it would end senseless tax breaks for firms that ship jobs abroad.
Republicans called the bill an election-year stunt. They noted that Democrats tried to pass a similar bill two years ago, right before the last congressional elections.
The White House says President Barack Obama supports the bill.
DETROIT (AP) -- A Texas lawyer has sued General Motors on behalf of 658 people injured or killed in crashes allegedly caused by faulty ignition switches.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan names 29 people who were killed and 629 who were hurt. All the crashes occurred after GM left bankruptcy protection in July 2009. That makes them exempt from GM's efforts to shield itself from claims due to crashes that happened before the bankruptcy, attorney Robert Hilliard said.
Hilliard said he wants to file another 248 cases from before the bankruptcy, including 21 deaths.
The lawsuit alleges GM knew about defective switches that can cause engines to stall since 2001, yet it didn't recall any cars until this year. GM would not comment on the lawsuit.
DETROIT (AP) -- Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.
The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.
The Korean automaker says the automatic transmission shift cable can separate from the shift lever. If that happens, the lever may not show the correct gear, increasing the risk of a crash.
The company says in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators that it has received 1,171 warranty claims about the problem, plus seven other reports with related symptoms. The documents don't say if there have been any crashes or injuries.
Hyundai will notify owners by letter between now and the end of September. Dealers will inspect the shift cables and repair the connection if needed.
NEW YORK (AP) -- About 11,000 Kawasaki off-road vehicles are being recalled because debris can cut through the foot rest area and hurt riders' legs.
The recall is for 2012 and 2013 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 vehicles with four-wheel drive. They were sold at Kawasaki dealers from October 2011 to July 2013 for about $13,400.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday that there have been four reports of debris breaking through the floor boards of the vehicles. Two riders reported injuries to their toes and thighs.
Owners of the recalled vehicles should stop using it and contact a Kawasaki dealer, or call 866-802-9381, to get a free repair. Kawasaki said it will install floor board guards and replace damaged floor boards on the recalled vehicles.
MILAN (AP) -- Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, which controls Chrysler, says its second-quarter profits dropped by more than a half due to lower performance in North and Latin America.
Fiat said Wednesday that net profit was 197 million euros ($263 million), compared with 435 million euros in the same period last year.
North American volumes were up 10 percent, driven by incentives to sell legacy Chrysler vehicles, but the incentives also cut into profits. Earnings before interest and tax in the region dropped 18 percent to 598 million euros.
In Latin America, revenues dropped 13 percent as vehicle shipments fell 21 percent.
Fiat said revenues in the quarter rose to 23.3 billion euros, up 1 billion euros over the same quarter last year.
Fiat is currently finalizing its merger with Chrysler.
PARIS (AP) -- European aerospace company Airbus says it expects its revenue to remain stable this year despite a big cancellation recently for some of its large A350 planes.
Airbus competes fiercely with Chicago-based Boeing Co. in the global market for large civilian aircraft. It took a hit in June when Emirates airline cancelled an order for 70 of the twin-aisle planes, opting for Boeing models instead.
Since then, however, Toulouse-based Airbus has announced a raft of new orders for its fuel-efficient A330neo.
In its earnings statement Wednesday, the company said revenue rose 7 percent in the second quarter from the previous year, to 14.6 billion euros ($19.5 billion). That helped boost its net income to 696 million euros from 531 million euros.
It expects deliveries to remain stable this year.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- WellPoint's second-quarter profit fell 8.6 percent as expenses climbed.
Its performance beat Wall Street's expectations.
The Indianapolis health insurer reported Wednesday that net income declined to $731.1 million, or $2.56 per share, from $800.1 million, or $2.64 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.
Earnings, adjusted for investment gains, came to $2.44 per share. The average per-share estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.28.
Total expenses increased to $17.21 billion from $16.48 billion.
Operating revenue, which excludes investment gains or losses, rose 4.2 percent to $18.23 billion from $17.49 billion. That is slightly above the $18.22 billion Wall Street forecast.
Shares of WellPoint Inc. are up almost 22 percent this year.
TOKYO (AP) -- Nintendo Co. sank to a worse-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter on lagging Wii U video-game machine sales.
But the Japanese company behind Super Mario and Pokemon games stuck to its annual profit and sales forecasts Wednesday.
Kyoto-based Nintendo reported a 9.92 billion yen ($97.3 million) April-June loss compared with an 8.62 billion yen profit a year earlier.
Quarterly sales totaled 74.695 billion yen ($732.3 million), down 8 percent from a year earlier.
Nintendo has been fighting to maintain profits amid competition from games on smartphones and other devices.
Nintendo has also faced questions about the health of its president, Satoru Iwata, who said he had surgery earlier this month.
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