At deadline for the Car Pro Weekly, a few breaking automotive news stories emerged. Here is a recap of those:
• U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who raised awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, said he is stepping down from his post, marking the latest exit from President Barack Obama’s cabinet. “I plan to stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth transition for the Department and all the important work we still have to do,” LaHood said in a statement.
• Ford Motor Co. posted fourth-quarter net income of $1.6 billion, carrying the company to its fourth straight full-year profit. Excluding a large year-earlier extraordinary gain, net in the latest quarter rose 55 percent, powered by strong results in North America. European pretax losses of $732 million dragged down quarterly profits.
• The U.S. Treasury Department “failed to rein in excessive pay” at bailed-out General Motors, Ally Financial Inc., and American International Group Inc., the rescue program’s inspector general said. Sixteen of the 69 top employees at the three companies had 2012 pay packages worth at least $5 million and all but one had total compensation of $1 million or more, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said in a report today. Since much of the compensation is in stock, only three of the executives had cash salaries of more than $1 million.