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Talk of the day

Published April 5, 2007


Toyota giving away green to sell its hybrids

Toyota Motor Corp., after doubling U.S. sales of its Prius hybrid in March, is offering new discounts worth as much as $2,000 to counter dwindling tax credits and to meet rising sales targets. Toyota's U.S. dealers began providing incentives Tuesday on option packages for the gasoline-electric car, the company said. The discounts range from $600 to $2,000 for such features as navigation systems, rear-view cameras and hands-free mobile phone hookups. The U.S. tax credit on the Prius, the nation's top-selling hybrid, dropped by half last year to $1,575 and fell another 50 percent to $787.50 on April 1. Buyers of Toyota hybrids won't receive any federal tax credits after Oct. 1, the company has said.

Pepsi sticks out its can for redesign

PepsiCo Inc., the world's second-largest soft drink maker, is offering $10,000 as part of a contest that will allow consumers for the first time to submit designs and artwork that may be featured of cans of Pepsi Cola. The "Design Our Pepsi Can" promotion will allow consumers to vote on their favorite sketch and the winning drawing may be printed on 500-million Pepsi cans, the company said. Designs from musicians, including Pharrell Williams and Big & Rich, will be featured on cans in the coming months. PepsiCo plans to change the graphics on its iconic blue soda cans more than 35 times this year in an effort to halt declines of its flagship drink as some consumers cut back on sugary soft drinks. The company had changed the Pepsi can design 10 times before this in its 109-year history.

Yahoo trains focus on foreclosures

Yahoo Inc. has redesigned its online section on real estate foreclosures amid a growing number of defaults by subprime mortgage borrowers. The Yahoo Real Estate Foreclosure Center lets users search for foreclosures and learn how to purchase the properties, said RealtyTrac Inc., the company that developed the section. The site lists Detroit, Atlanta and Greeley, Colo., as the U.S. cities with the most foreclosures. "We believe the current market presents a unique opportunity for any buyer looking for a bargain," RealtyTrac chief executive James J. Saccacio said. The company lists more than 900,000 U.S. properties in foreclosure.

Thailand royally chastises YouTube

YouTube, the most-popular video-sharing site, was blocked in Thailand after a user posted a clip showing defaced images of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. YouTube, owned by Google Inc., is "disappointed" by the action and is looking into the matter, a company official said. Authorities barred the site because Google refused to remove the clip, the Associated Press reported earlier, citing Thailand's minister of information and technology. A 44-second video, which shows pictures of the king that have been spray-painted and placed next to images of feet, was still available on the site in the United States on Wednesday.

[Last modified April 5, 2007, 01:17:57]

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