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J.D. Power rates Delta as top airline

Delta Air Lines has taken the No. 1 spot in customer satisfaction in a closely watched annual analysis.

It's the first time since 1995 that Delta has ranked highest in the J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction study. For years, the Atlanta-based airline listed that among its goals.

What the carrier's executives may not have expected was that their long-coveted prize would come amid a pandemic that caused travel to drop 60% last year and led to billions of dollars in losses for the airline.

But Delta's approach to handling customers during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially its policy of blocking middle seats through April 30 of this year, which set it apart from its competitors — helped the airline win favor among travelers.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian called it ""particularly meaningful that this recognition came during the most challenging year in our history."

The airline plans to "build on the trust earned during the pandemic," Bastian said in a written statement.

 

Toyota's profits double in quarter

Toyota reported Wednesday its profit more than doubled in January-March from a year earlier to 777 billion yen ($7 billion), as the the world's biggest automaker's sales recovered from the pandemic.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s profit in January-March 2020 was 327 billion yen. Quarterly sales rose 11% on year to nearly 7.7 trillion yen ($71 billion) from 6.9 trillion yen a year earlier, the company said. The pandemic has dented sales and demand in many businesses, but Toyota has shown resilience while riding out a global shortage of semiconductors that's slammed many automakers.

In the fiscal year that ended in March, Toyota's profits rose 10% to 2.25 trillion yen ($20.6 billion) from 2.04 trillion yen the previous year. Sales for the fiscal year slipped nearly 9% to 27 trillion yen ($248 billion). Cost-cutting efforts helped keep it in the black, said the manufacturer of the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models.

Toyota and Lexus brand vehicle sales are projected at 9.6 million vehicles for this fiscal year, up from nearly 9.1 million units for the last fiscal year.

 

3-wheeled EV car plant locates in Mesa, Arizona

ElectraMeccanica, known for its tiny, single passenger, three-wheeled electric cars, has chosen Mesa, Arizona, as the location for its U.S. assembly and engineering plant.

The Canadian company, based in Vancouver, B.C., says the new facility will create up to 500 new jobs and potentially produce 20,000 of its flagship Solo electric vehicles each year. ElectraMeccanica calls the Solo EV an "all-electric solution for the urban environment," though it has a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 80 miles per hour, making it safe for highway use. The company said the cars sell for $18,500 and are available for pre-order on its website.

ElectraMeccanica picked Mesa, just east of Phoenix, after a more than year-long site search.

InterMeccanica, a subsidiary of ElectraMeccanica, has been building high-end specialty cars for more than 60 years.

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