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Nafta Negotiators See Progress on Auto Rules

American, Canadian and Mexican officials are signaling they have cleared a roadblock on auto-industry issues that have been some of the thorniest in talks to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement.
 U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer struck a conciliatory tone on Wednesday in testimony before Congress on the auto proposal, which includes the U.S. demand that a revised Nafta require light vehicles to contain 50% U.S. content to cross U.S. borders duty-free.

Ford Takes Steps to Rein In Costs

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Jim Hackett spent his first year in the job hammering away on the need to cut costs, aiming to slash $14 billion by 2020 and prodding its 200,000 employees to get more financially “fit.”
 When Mr. Hackett took the post in May, he sought to jump-start Ford's response to a rapidly changing business in which auto makers are increasingly focusing on electric cars and autonomous vehicles. To find the money to finance such projects, the new CEO had to look for savings.

Will a Shortage of Cobalt Kill Electric-Vehicle Makers?

Wedged between iron and nickel on the periodic table, cobalt has suddenly emerged as the electric-car killer. The once-obscure metal, a critical part of batteries, has nearly tripled in price since last summer as concerns grow about whether there will be enough cobalt to meet demand.
 The ingredients for a shortage are there: Output is concentrated in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo and refining is dominated by China. Demand is set to soar as companies from Tesla to Volkswagen ramp up production of electric vehicles.

Toyota Improves Profit Forecast

Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday raised its profit projections for the year ending March 31, saying it could boost sales and rein in costs, but the U.S. market continues to weigh on earnings.
 The company said its operating margin in North America dwindled to about 2% in the quarter ended Sept. 30 as rising incentives on passenger cars offset sales of its trucks and sport-utility vehicles, particularly the RAV4 crossover.

Ford's Workhorse Trucks Haul In Solid Profit

Ford Motor Co. delivered a fresh reminder that—amid all the talk about driverless cars and electric vehicles—Detroit is a truck town.
 The No. 2 U.S. auto maker on Thursday reported a 63% third-quarter profit increase, a positive sign following a summer marked by management reshuffling, a renewed cost cutting drive and continued malaise for the share price.

Ford Adds Laser Maker to Driverless-Car Effort

Argo AI LLC, a driverless car developer controlled by Ford Motor Co., has purchased a company that makes laser systems needed to operate cars without human intervention, an important step for a conventional Detroit auto maker looking to boost its role in shaping the industry's transformation.
 Argo AI said Friday it is buying Cranbury, N.J.-based based Princeton Lightwave Inc. for an undisclosed price, a move that provides Ford with more immediate access to so called lidar